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[BKARTS] questions/van vliet/waxing paper

Your query referred to several techniques. I will address using wax to
created a translucency to the paper. First of all it is helpful to use
strong thinner papers. Japanese papers such as kawara, mulberry, kitikawa
and goyu are possibilities. I suggest doing your painting/drawing/collage
first and then apply wax as indicated below. Always do samples first to
determine if the wax will interfere with the media used to create your
images. I have tried beeswax only and cannot guarantee effects of other

Applying a thin coat of acrylic medium is also a possibility, but it gives a
plastic feel to the paper. The advantage is that collage elements can be
added using the medium and you can paint using acrylic paints/inks.

Types of Waxes
1. Unadulterated, natural beeswax. Available from health food stores.
2. Bleached, white beeswax (Encaustic painting wax, Daniel Smith carries
3. Microcrystalline wax, is a petroleum and beeswax-based wax. It is pH
neutral, inert, chemically stable, and does not discolor. Search the
archives of this listserve for more info. Because this is a petroleum based
wax, painting or collaging over it may be difficult.
4. ³Modern encaustic wax² is a hard, almost plastic wax . It comes in clear
and translucent, metallic, pearlized, and opaque color bars. Requires
special card paper. Several brands of wax are available. (See encaustic.com
web site.)
5. Ski waxing preparations are a specialized synthetic wax that melt at a
much higher heat temperature and bond to the ski base. They were not
researched for appropriateness of use on paper.

1. Has a higher melting point than paraffin. Beeswax melts at 143.6-149.0
degrees F. (62-63 degrees C.)
2. Maintains high plasticity at low temperatures, down to about freezing.
3.Is insoluble in water.
4. Is resistant to most acids.
5. Is inert and contains over 250 compounds. However, it has a natural
acidity of 3.3 - 4.2 pH.
7. Color is dependent upon the bees¹ diet.

NB: I do not recommend using wax crayons, paraffin candles, or paraffin wax.
These become brittle and may flake off at lower temperatures. They also have
a lower melting point (122-130 degrees F.) and can scorch easily.

You will need a small, flat surfaced iron, e.g., a travel iron. Cost is
about $30. Do not use a steam iron. Wax gets in the holes and can burn on
the heating elements. Do not use teflon coated irons. See encausticart.com
web site.

Techniques: (always test wax first!)
1. Heat a flat surfaced, small iron to about 160-200 degrees F (low). Test
the beeswax for melting point on your iron.
2. Melt a small mount of the wax  in a metal cup on a hot plate at about
160-200 degrees F. Brush thinly onto the paper . Use heated iron to even out
the wax application.
3. Alternately apply the wax to an iron heated to 160-200 degrees F.  Drip
the melted wax onto the paper, then iron as if you are ironing a piece of
cloth. Keep the iron moving to prevent it from getting too hot and burning
the paper. The temperature of the iron can vary as it moves to cooler areas
of the paper. If the iron feels tacky, slow down a bit. Practice on a sample
piece of paper first.

Modern encaustic waxes:
 If you use modern encaustic waxes, read the manufacturer¹s recommendations
for wax melting temperature and application procedures. Demonstrations are
also available online.

Microcystalline wax:
Apply a thin layer of wax using a soft cloth. When dry, buff with a clean
soft cloth. Read manufacturer's directions for use.

Carmela Rizzuto

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