Encaustic Week Day 3 – How to Make an Encaustic Collage

I have loved the look of encaustic collage art for many years, but it wasn't until I watched Amy Stoner demonstrate how to create one that I was moved to make one of my own. She made it look so easy!

encaustic collage amy stoner
Encaustic collage by Amy Stoner.

Today I'm going to give you the basic outline of Amy's step-by-step instructions, based on her Cloth Paper Scissors WorkshopTM video Encaustic Collage: Layers with Beeswax.

Note: For information on basic tools and materials for this project, see Encaustic Week Day 1 – Encaustic Supplies & Giveaways.

How to Make an Encaustic Collage

You will need:

  • Encaustic wax medium, a metal container, a heating element such as a hot plate, and a thermometer
  • A substrate
  • Natural-bristle brushes (wide and small)
  • A heat gun
  • Lightweight papers and fabric, trims, fibers, small found objects, and other collage materials
  • Optional: Glue, oil paint, tools for incising and scraping

1. Prepare your work surface and be sure to take safety precautions including working in a well-ventilated area and keeping a fire extinguisher nearby.

2. Select your substrate, making sure it is clean, porous, and smooth.

3. You can apply a layer of encaustic wax medium first or you can lay down a layer of collage before you apply wax, gluing it to the substrate. In her demonstration, Amy glued different papers to the substrate first, then stamped a bird and the word "FLY" on them.

applying encaustic wax
Applying the encaustic wax.

4. Using a wide, natural-bristle brush, apply the melted medium. Amy recommends brushing slowly across the shortest dimension of the substrate. This helps to apply the wax smoothly and evenly. As you brush, try not to overlap the brush strokes to avoid building up streaks of wax. One coat of wax is fine, but you might want to apply a second one.

5. Fuse your layers. Fusing melds the layers of wax so they become one and won't become brittle and break off. To fuse, use a tool such as a heat gun. Apply the heat to the wax layer about an inch or two from the surface and heat just until the wax looks slick or shiny (a few seconds). Move the heat over the wax layer until you have covered the surface. Don't keep the heat in one place too long, or the wax will melt and become runny the components will shift.

6. Apply your next collage element such as: a piece of lace, fiber (threads, for example), paper cutouts, fabric, etc. You don't need glue at this stage; the wax is slightly tacky and you can just press the collage element onto the surface.

7. Apply one or two coats of wax on top of the collage element you added and fuse. Repeat until you are happy with your collage.

fusing the encaustic collage
Fusing the wax layer.

Note: To apply a found object such as a button to your encaustic art, use a small brush to apply a bit of wax to the back and stick it in place. Brush additional wax around the edges of the object to make sure it's adhered. Then brush wax over the top. Once the wax is cool to the touch, you can use a small scraping tool to remove some of the excess wax that has pooled around the object. Fuse lightly to smooth it out.

As you apply each layer of wax, you'll notice that it makes the collage layers translucent so you get a lot of depth. Experiment to discover which effects you like.

There are so many different techniques you can add to create a mixed-media encaustic collage. Tomorrow I'll introduce you to encaustic transfers, with the help of encaustic artist Michelle Belto.

Don't forget to leave a comment or question below to have a chance to win one of our amazing prize packages with products from Interweave's Cloth Paper Scissors Shop, North Light Shop, Jacquard Products, and Ranger Ink.

And, we'll be giving away an additional five Interweave/North Light Shop/Jacquard Products packages on Pinterest. To be eligible, create your own "I'm Hot for Encaustic" board and include a minimum of two encaustic-related pins from our CPS community or store. Then, email your Pinterest link to socialmedia@interweave.com with the subject: I'm Hot for Encaustic.

Blog and Pinterest winners will be announced October 22, 2012.


Blog, Collage, Encaustic, Mixed-Media Techniques


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