Encaustic Printmaking without a Hotbox

Disclosure: Enkaustikos sent me free samples of Hot Sticks to review for this post.

Enkaustikos Hot Sticks for encaustic printmaking

Enkaustikos hot sticksIntroducing Hot Sticks the newest product from Enkaustikos. Hot Sticks are ready-to-use professional encaustic paints, the same formula as Enkaustikos Hot Cakes, in a stick format. Hot Sticks are made from Pharmaceutical Grade (USP) beeswax, damar resin, and artist quality pigments.

Enkaustikos Hot Sticks are available in 86 artist grade colours some are opaque, some semi-transparent and some transparent for a variety of effects. This new stick shape opens the door to different encaustic application techniques.

Encaustic Printmaking with Hot Sticks

Enkaustikos kindly sent me a sampling of Hot Sticks to try out and review, the problem was I didn’t really know how to use them without a hotbox. Yes, I knew that I could melt the sticks in a tin on the griddle and use them as I would the Enkaustikos Hot Cakes but I wanted to use them as they were fully intended to be used in the stick format.

What is an Encaustic Hotbox?

The Roland Encaustic HOTbox was designed by Artist Paula Roland for encaustic monotype printmaking.  Four 100 watt incandescent light bulbs heat an anodized aluminum printing plate on top of the box. A light dimmer regulates the light adjusting the plate surface temperature.

Using an Anodized Aluminum plate

Without a HOTbox, I knew that if I tried to pull a print from a Teflon-coated griddle, the paint would slide around and bubble up, I could get some interesting effects but I wouldn’t have good control. I have now purchased an anodized aluminum plate made by Enkaustikos and voila my pancake griddle is ready for monotype printmaking. When selecting an anodized aluminum plate, be sure to measure your griddle first!

Using Enkaustikos Hot Sticks for Monotype prints

You will instantly see how Enkaustikos Hot Sticks are the perfect format for this form of encaustic printmaking. You can use Hot Sticks to draw directly to the surface of your painting by keeping your paper warm on the plate. You can also paint on the plate and then pull a monotype print from it. No need to fuse… the heat of the plate fuses the encaustic medium to the paper.

Tools used for Encaustic printmaking

Here is my work table.Anodized-aluminum-plate

  • Pancake Griddle
  • Anodized aluminum plate (from Enkaustikos) – place a paper towel under the plate on the griddle to keep it from sliding around
  • A tin of Enkaustikos Slick Wax for cleaning your plate, brushes and griddle
  • I have a grill thermometer that helps me monitor the temperature of my griddle surface [between 150°F and 160°F]- I use a tiny metal clip so I can pick it up without burning my fingers
  • A supply of paper towels
  • Paper for printing
  • Enkaustikos Hot Sticks
  • You can also use Enkaustikos Hot Cakes or melt the Hot Sticks to apply with a brush
  • brushes
  • Q-tips and other tools to make designs – make sure you don’t use metal tools as these will scratch the surface of the plate

Once the griddle is up to temperature and the plate is warm enough to melt the Hot Sticks you can begin to paint.

Encaustic Monotype Starter Set with Paula Roland’s DVD

Encaustic-Monotype-Starter-Set-with-DVD

See the Enkaustikos Hot Sticks in action

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of Enkaustikos Hot Sticks. How have you used them?

About Ruth Maude

I enjoy experimenting with a variety of encaustic materials, techniques and tools. Everything I learn pushes my creative journey in new directions. I share what I've learned with other artists through my blog All Things Encaustic.

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2 thoughts on “Encaustic Printmaking without a Hotbox


  1. Please could you tell me what is the paper that use for the mono type printing on the griddle,
    I am very interested in doing some of the encaustics this way.
    Thank you
    Eunice Wake

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