Friday, February 24, 2012


In my last post I mentioned that I had showed a portrait done in cold wax medium and oils.

A little over a two years ago, I read about cold wax, and was eager to try it.  I've had experience with batiking, and lately I've been working with encaustic, so it was only natural that I would be I intrigued with the cold wax medium.  As I began calling supplies stores in my area, I soon realized that this product was beyond my budget, especially if I were to experiment with it.  Luckily I found a recipe for cold wax medium on line that just calls for beeswax and turpentine, I  realized that I already had both on hand.  I followed the recipe as best as I understood it, there were no pictures with the article.  After combining my mixtures, nothing happened, and I thought that I had wasted my products.  I left the room, disappointed, and returned an hour later to confront my failure.  Surprise, the liquid had turned into cold wax!

I'd like to share my process with you.

When you're about to mix any chemical, make sure  your room is well ventilated.
I always leave both doors of my studio opened for cross ventilation

I melt broken pieces of beeswax in an old frying pan, that is reserved for cold wax and encaustic purposes only.
This picture of broken beeswax will make about 2 1/2 cup of melted wax.

After the beeswax is melted, I unplug the element from the wall and the pan.

Now, I ladle the hot wax in a little inexpensive aluminum pan,  which is also part of my encaustic/ cold wax equipment

and make sure that I measure the level of the hot wax in the pan.

Next, I return the melted wax back into the unplugged frying pan.

Now , I pour turpentine to the same level as the wax was, into the little pan.

Finally, I pour the turpentine into the melted wax.
Keep the pan unplugged. Do not reheat the mixture

It looks like I just wasted turpentine and beeswax because nothing seem to happen.

I Just leave the room with both doors still opened

15 minutes later, the wax and turpentine is solidifying.
If I had doubled the recipe, it would have overflowed from the pan. 

After 45 minutes of cooling, it's ready to be placed in a container with a tight lid.

Here's an old 37 1/2 oz plastic container refilled with new cold max medium.
I've kept the old medium for months.

Word of caution
Don't be tempted fusing cold wax with encaustic medium. When fusing both mediums with high heat, the turpentine gives off toxic gasses. 

If you found this post useful, or want to share your favorite recipe for cold wax medium, I'd love to hear from you.  I'm open to any suggestions.