Wax Paste

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SKU
540-53

A soft paste formulated to make oil colors thicker and more matte. It can be used as a final varnish over a painting or mixed with varnish to reduce gloss. Learn more.

Rublev Colours Wax Paste is made with beeswax and odorless mineral spirits. It is a soft paste formulated to make oil colors thicker and more matte. It can also be used as a final varnish over a dry painting or mixed with varnish to reduce gloss.

Wax Paste and Oil Painting

Rublev Colours Wax Paste cuts the glossy appearance of oil paints, giving them a more satin finish while extending the drying time of paints, making them thicker and more workable for longer periods of time. When making your own oil colors you may add wax paste to oil when grinding pigments. The wax helps to give the paint a buttery consistency and guards against oil separating from pigment. We do not recommend adding more than 20% to oil paint as wax retards drying, and makes oil paint susceptible to solvents.

Protective Coating

Rublev Colours Wax Paste can be used as a protective coating (varnish) over a painting, as a paint binder, and as a stabilizer in oil colors. It melts between 62–65° C. (144–149° F.) and dissolves when heated in turpentine, mineral spirits or oil. It does not darken or change color with age, and it resists the action of atmospheric impurities more than do resins or oils.

Wax Paste can be used as a coating on top of a picture varnish to reduce the gloss of the surface overall or to protect the varnish from dirt. The wax may be removed and replaced if necessary without disturbing the underlying varnish. The low luster appearance of the wax would eliminate the highlights on the elevations of paint texture. Local application may be made with a finger or cloth to matte down overly glossy areas of a varnished painting. Wax Paste can also be used as an additive to the final coats of many natural and synthetic varnishes to mat them down or create a more even surface gloss.

Wax Paste can be used as a protective coating over tempera paint. We recommend first applying a coat of diluted egg yolk (1 part egg yolk to 2 parts water) over the entire painting once it has fully cured, usually two to three months after completion. Once this coating has completely dried, apply the wax by gently rubbing the paste onto the paint film with a soft, lint-free cloth. 

Aging Characteristics

Wax is perhaps the only surface coating that has passed the test of time.

“Wax is very resistant to acids. With lye it forms an emulsion. It does not oxidize, as do fatty oils, and it does not turn yellow and loose in body. It has been found unchanged in very ancient remnants of paintings” (Doerner 1949, 141). Of all surface coatings, it is the least permeable to water, water vapor, and gases (Rosen 1934).

Wax coatings scratch and mar easily. Because of relative softness or plasticity that may occur at high ambient temperatures they may retain dirt.

Waxes of all types are very stable materials that remain soluble in their original diluents. Removal from the surface of another varnish film should not be problematical, provided that the varnish was not or no longer is soluble in petroleum distillates.

Wax has an indefinite theoretical lifetime. Shrinkage and brittleness of artifacts composed of beeswax has been reported (Clydesdale 1994) but such problems have not been reported for wax varnishes.

References

Clydesdale, A. 1994. Beeswax: A survey of the literature on its properties and behavior. SSCR Journal 5(2): 9–12.

Doerner, M. 1949 [originally published in German, 1922, first American translation, 1934]. The Materials of the artist and their use in painting with notes on the techniques of the old masters. Revised ed. E. Neuhaus, translator. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.

Rosen, D. 1934. A Wax formula. Technical studies in the Field of Fine Arts 3:114–5.

Cold Wax and Encaustic Painting

Rublev Colours Wax Paste can be used in a painting technique called "cold wax" with encaustic painting. To make an cold wax medium, soften Wax Paste by gently heating the paste and add oil paint. You can also soften Wax Paste with mineral spirits or turpentine and add dry powder pigment to make a paste. Add wax medium to the pigment paste until desired consistency is reached. As the solvent evaporates out of the medium, the soft wax hardens to the density of a beeswax candle.

More Information
SKU540-53
BrandRublev Colours
VendorRublev Colours
Processing TimeUsually ships the next business day.

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