There are different methods of working with encaustic wax to create art:
- In traditional Encaustic painting, encaustic medium is melted in small tins on a griddle. Using a brush the medium is painted on an absorbent substrate such as a wood panel. Each layer is fused with a hot tool such as a blow torch, heat gun, iron or stylus.
- Encaustic Monotype printmaking – is painting with solid pigmented encaustic blocks or sticks on a heated plate or palette. Paper is then placed over the hot wax and pressed down with a barren. The artist will then pull a print from the plate.
- Three-dimensional encaustic sculptures – To create a 3-D encaustic sculpture the artist will create a skeletal structure using materials such as wire, wire mesh, plaster gauze and modeling paste. Paper, fabric or natural fibers are dipped into molten encaustic medium and applied to the skeletal form and fused.
- Iron Wax Painting has recently become popular. It involves melting pigmented blocks of wax directly on an encaustic iron. The iron instead of brushes is used as a tool to paint on cards or cardstock. An encaustic stylus with different nibs may also be used. Additional fusing is not required.
Cold wax painting is not encaustic as it does not use heat.