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Ready to make your own encaustic wax? You’re going to need some beeswax as well as damar resin, which adds translucency and helps to harden your formula so you can properly blend in your pigments. Your beeswax can either be natural or refined to remove all impurities; both are suitable for encaustic painting, but note that raw beeswax can add unexpected colors and finishes. When shopping, you’ll see that the substance comes in different forms: You can buy wax as pellets or blocks. Whatever your choice, your beeswax should melt easily into a consistent mixture. Ready to paint like it’s 400 C.E.? Browse our top beeswax picks below.
R&F White Beeswax
A go-to beeswax for encaustic painters of all levels, R&F’s product comes in small pellets that melt quickly and smoothly. The white pieces have undergone a mechanical filtration to decolorize them—a process that is gentler on the wax than chemical bleaching and helps to refine without weakening. You can trust R&F to deliver consistently sized pellets that are easy to pour and measure out and help you stick to your recipes. Finally, we like this wax because it comes in bags of three varied sizes: one, five, and 10 pounds.
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Enkaustikos U.S. Pharmaceutical Grade Beeswax
Enkaustikos, a premier encaustics manufacturer, is a great upgrade pick for artists willing to spend a couple more dollars on their materials. Like our top choice, this brand of beeswax has been purified without any harsh chemicals. We find it a touch richer than R&F’s beeswax, imparting a slightly glossy look to paints. The pellets are very thin, which means they melt and blend beautifully. This is a good option for artists looking for smaller quantities, as the beeswax is available in an eight-ounce resealable bag.
A GOOD ALTERNATIVE
Gamblin Cold Wax Medium
If you don’t want to fuss with heat and melting, consider using cold wax, which is a soft paste you can use straight from the jar. Gamblin’s, which is made of natural beeswax, mineral spirits, and alkyd resin, delivers the luminosity of traditional encaustic wax. It has a creamy, soft texture that is easy to mix with paint—you can even spread it with a palette knife—and is odorless to boot! This 16-ounce tin will last you a long time—a little goes a long way.
Encaustic Art Wax Blocks
If you’re new to encaustic wax, you might want to consider getting precolored blocks before diving into making your own custom colors. The quality of these innovative, German-made sticks, about the size of a standard eraser, is superb for the price and they are made with pigments with good lightfastness. This variety pack comes with 16 colors tucked in a cool box, and you can easily mix colors to create even more shades!
Williamsburg Pure Beeswax
If you need to make a large amount of encaustic medium, consider buying beeswax in blocks. It takes longer to melt, but you can just toss a block or more into your pot rather than handle pellets, which can be messier. Blocks are also easy to store! This bleached beeswax comes in a soft off-white color and is debris-free. You’ll notice that it results in a muted, low-luster sheen when used as a painting medium.