Last week I had the privilege of attending an encaustic monotype and silkscreen workshop co-taught by Paula Roland and Jeff Hirst. It was so luxurious to have an entire week to experiment with encaustic monotypes and to watch and learn from Paula and Jeff. Thanks also to Paula for encouraging me to share these tips and tools on this blog.
10 Tools for Encaustic Monotype Printmaking
1. The Roland HOTbox
The Roland HOTbox is the best tool for encaustic monotype printmaking. To use the Roland HOTbox pigmented wax is melted on the anodized aluminum plate. Using tools, the artist manipulates the wax and the molten image is transferred to paper resulting in a single monotype print.
The Roland HOTbox that Paula redesigned and once produced and fabricated is now available exclusively through Vent-A-Fume. Multiple boxes may be used together to accommodate a larger plate.
When looking for tools for mark-making and moving wax around on the Roland HOTbox, make sure that you select tools won’t scratch the anodized aluminum plate. Soft, flexible silicone tools work well. It is very easy to clean dried wax off of Silicone tools.
This list covers the essential and nice-to-have mark-making tools for encaustic monotype printmaking. For your convenience you can shop for these through the links. Amazon links are affiliate links that support this website.
2. Japanese Bamboo Baren from Yasutomo
The Japanese bamboo baren from Yasutomo is use to press the back of the paper to make contact with the wax on the plate.
Paula covers bamboo barens in aluminium tin foil. This keeps the baren clean and the foil can create some interesting marks on your print.
For example, you can lay a string (or any heat-tolerant slightly raised object) on the surface of the HOTbox beneath the paper and, when you press the baren over the print, the aluminium foil will leave a silver mark outlining the string.
3. Automotive Flexible Silicone squeegee
At last week’s workshop I used Paula Roland’s automotive squeegee blade. I had a lot of fun with this tool! If you buy one of these, make sure it is really flexible.
You can find a number here on Amazon.
4. Silicone Colour Shapers
Silicone colour shapers are available in a variety of pencil shaped tips and flat widths. They are perfect for drawing into the wax you’ve laid down on the HOTbox .
5. Messermeister Silicone Bowl Scraper
The Messermeister Silicone Bowl Scraper works really well for clearing away large areas of wax and making marks.
I’m placing an order for one of these today!
It is available from the Messermeister website and from Amazon. Similar tools in varied sizes are available from Squeegee Press
6. Soft Rubber Brayer
Rubber brayers are available in different widths. Paula suggests making a puddle of melted wax in a corner of the HOTbox and rolling the rubber brayer through the wax. You can now roll the wax onto the top or back side of your print with the brayer. It may take multiple applications for solid coverage.
7. Encaustic Monotype Tools by Elizabeth Schowachert Art
Elizabeth Schowarchert specializes in crafting handmade silicone mark making tools for the Roland HOTbox. Her tools and brushes are beautiful. Shop for them here.
8. Catalyst Tools: Wedges, Brushes & Blades
Catalyst tools are crafted from flexible silicone. They are ergonomically designed to fit in your hand. I had asked for one for Christmas, Santa filled my stocking with an exciting variety of them.
You can find them at any art supply store or from Amazon.
9. Stabilo All Pencils
Artist Jane Cousens introduced me to the beauty of using All Pencils on top of encaustic monotypes. The warmth of the hotbox will melt the pencil marks into the paper as you draw. They are available in a few different colours. You’ll also need a pencil sharpener. They are expensive but they work really well with encaustic. You can buy them at an art supply store or here from Amazon.
10. Infrared Temperature Gauge Thermometer
Last, but certainly not least, it is important to not overheat your HOTbox. A thermometer will help you keep an eye on that. A small hand held infrared temperature gauge is an essential tool for working with a HOTbox.
What’s your must-have monotype tool?
Do you have another must-have monotype mark-making tool that I haven’t mentioned? Please share it in the comments section below.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read about Paula Roland’s Encaustic Monotype Instructional DVD
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