Encaustic paint, also known as hot wax paint, is a painting technique that involves heated wax to which color pigments have been added. Wax colors are heated with a painting iron and applied to the painting surface. Wax colors are heated in cups or dishes and applied to the painting surface with a brush. The wax cools and hardens almost immediately, so further manipulation is done with a hot iron.
Cold Wax | Ceracolors Paints
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Ceracolors—Solvent-Free Cold Wax Paint
What is Ceracolors?
Ceracolors is water-soluble wax paint made from a blend of natural and naturally-derived waxes that can be used for encaustic and cold wax painting techniques. They are fast-drying colors suitable for all supports used for encaustic painting, yet they do not require special tools or heated instruments. Use any brush suitable for water-based paint. Once dry, Ceracolors can be further sculpted and manipulated in any cold wax and encaustic painting techniques.
The ingredients in Ceracolors are found in food and cosmetics, so there are no acute or known chronic hazards with its anticipated use.
Ceracolors paint is available in 50 ml tubes, and Ceracolors mediums are available in 8, 16, and 32 fluid-ounce bottles and jars.
Ceracolors Mediums, Gels, and Pastes offer artists unlimited control of Ceracolors paint. Use Ceracolors mediums to control transparency, viscosity, and consistency. Ceracolors Mediums can be considered colorless wax paints, as they are composed of the same waxes as Ceracolors paints. They are the “glue” or binder that dry to form paint films.
Ceracolors are made by Natural Pigments. Please read our description of Ceracolors for more information. For information about the permanence and composition of Ceracolors, visit Ceracolors Composition and Permanence.
Visit our Swatch and Pigment guide for details on Ceracolors hand-painted color swatches and where to find pigment information.
At left is an encaustic painting on wood of the Portrait of the Boy Eutyches, also known as Portrait of Boy, which is a portrait by an anonymous artist from Roman Egypt of about 100 to 150 AD.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is encaustic paint?
What are the disadvantages of encaustic and cold-wax paint?
The main disadvantage of encaustic or hot wax paint is that it must be kept in a molten state to apply to the painting surface. Modern tools, such as electric hot plates and heating irons, have made this much easier, although not trivial. The primary disadvantage of cold-wax paint is the solvents used to dissolve solid wax. Solvents, such as turpentine and mineral spirit, used to dissolve beeswax and other natural and synthetic wax, pose a significant health hazard. Ceracolors eliminate both these disadvantages because it is wax made soluble in water so that it can be used with brushes for water-based paints and does not need heated tools to apply it. However, Ceracolors can still be manipulated with hot tools once it dries.
Is encaustic permanent or long-lasting?
Encaustic is one of the world's most ancient and long-lasting painting mediums that contemporary artists have rediscovered. Encaustic paintings are durable—the beeswax is impervious to moisture, making them resistant to changes in relative humidity. Beeswax does not yellow or darken with age.
What are the best surfaces to apply encaustic and cold-wax paint?
Encaustic and cold-wax paint are best applied on a rigid, absorbent, and heat-resistant substrate. Wood is the traditional surface for encaustic painting and makes excellent, stable supports. Stretched canvas is not recommended. Encaustic and wax paint is not flexible and may crack as the canvas expands and contracts with temperature and relative humidity changes.
What kind of wax do you use for encaustic painting?
Beeswax is the traditional wax used in encaustic painting. Commercial encaustic mediums are made with filtered, bleached beeswax and dammar resin. However, dammar was not used in historic encaustic paintings of Egypt. Natural waxes such as carnauba and candelilla wax can be added to increase hardness and provide other properties to beeswax encaustic mediums. Synthetic waxes such as paraffin and microcrystalline wax can also be used, but beeswax is the type most commonly used in contemporary encaustic painting.