Wax and resin are all you need to make your own encaustic paint. The encaustic paint is based on a wax binder to which resins are added to modify its characteristics.

Common waxes and resins

The wax most used in encaustic painting is beeswax. It is produced all over the world with slight differences depending on the type of bee. The price of beeswax has risen dramatically in recent years. Nowadays in too many cases it is marketed as pure beeswax industrial waxes that are mixtures of beeswax with other cheaper waxes. The problem of using non-specific blends for encaustic paint is that they can yellow over time or become too brittle.

Beeswax, however, can soften at room temperature is not sufficiently resistant to scratches. For this reason is added between 10 and 20% of damar resin. The damar resin is a vegetable exudate that is presented in crystals and possesses optimum optical qualities to show the colors, which is why it is used as the first component of the varnishes.

Other waxes used

Some artists mix with beeswax between 30 and 50% of microcrystalline wax. In this way they obtain a more flexible blend that behaves better on non-rigid substrates such as canvas. In order for the finish to be harder and brighter, amounts of 3 to 10% of candelilla wax or carnauba wax are added.

Buy beeswax

To buy beeswax we suggest you do it in specialized stores. It is very difficult to distinguish adulterated waxes with the naked eye and some generalist shops sell the adulterated beeswax adulterated without being aware of it.

Buy damar resin

To buy resin is much easier than buying wax. You must look for damar resin in big crystals and not powder. Large crystals have a less yellowish color because they have had less contact with the air. You should not worry about impurities since you will remove them by filtration.