Project Description

At last I fulfill my promise of showing how I learnt to make my own encaustic colors! let me please apologize as I can only claim that, given the special sensitivity about health I notice, I found it  absolutely necessary to explain first how pigments work, how to approach safety issues and how to select the pigments.

Make your own encaustic colors

First thing to say is that I am always specially careful manipulating powder pigments no matter their toxicity. I try to buy them always in plastic jars, but if for any reason you have it in a paper or plastic bag I explain below how to do it correctly.

make your own.001

I am also very conscious about waste disposal, I do not throw anything in the regular waste bin, not pigments but also no pigmented wax. To reuse it is the better solution for the disposal. Since I clean my brushes with kitchen oil, I just let the pigments settle and put them in an oil canister for special disposal, the clean oil I use it again an again. If by any chance you spill some powder pigment, clean it with a wet paper towel and store it in a closed tin until you deliver it to the local special waste service. Do not use the vacuum cleaner and do not throw anything in the sewage.

Prepare all the utensils you may need beforehand, I wear standard latex gloves. Correct would be to use a half mask with adequate filters, specially if you are not so strict as I am selecting which pigments to work with.

To avoid generating pigment dust I always pour the powder in a relatively high tin as explained in the figure, and pour immediately melted medium over it.

The technic I use depends on how much encaustic colors I need, for more than 100 ml, I make it in a tin on the heated palette and I use a cordless drink mixer to help me dispersing the pigment’s agglomerate, see image below. I normally use double quantity in volume of wax than pigment to get a highly pigmented wax. To make the cakes I always use silicone moulds.

make your own.003


If I want less encaustic colors I make it directly on the warm skillet, disperse the pigments with the help of a silicone spatula and let it cool. To form the cake I melt the pigmented wax chips in a single silicon mould. The process is explained in the following image, I hope it can be understood, if not please do not hesitate asking for any details.

make your own.002

Every pigment behaves differently so pay attention an write some notes for the next time.

Label the cakes correctly, name, pigment, opacity etc…

If you have a better way of doing it please  let me know… there is always so much to learn!

This post is also available in: Spanish