I had an interesting chat with a group of encaustic painters last month about reusing boards. Being stuck at home and having to rely on delivery for our art supplies, we are getting better at reusing what we already have in our studios rather than always buying new.
If you’re like me, you have a stack of boards in your studio—some are old paintings, others were experiments or demo boards in a workshop. You can rework an encaustic painting—adding new layers on top—but sometimes you just want to start over from scratch.
If you have a wood panel (or several) that you want to take back to the bare wood, follow these steps:
How to reuse a wax-covered wood panel
- Use your torch to heat up the panel and start to melt the wax
- Use a paint scraper to scrape off the molten wax
When you scrape off the board you will likely just throw the wax away but you may be able to reuse the encaustic scrapings if you filter out any debris.
If the scrapings come off in clean ribbons, you can reuse them in other works.
- Repeat 1 & 2 until you have removed as much of the wax as you can
Pay attention as you melt and scrape, you may not need to go all the way back to the bare wood. Some of those old layers may form a great starting point for your new painting.
- Sand the surface of the board
This is an optional step but it really helps if your goal is to get back to bare wood. A power sander is great for this.
- Paint a layer of encaustic gesso on the board.
Encaustic gesso will improve the adhesion of the new wax layers.
As Mum always said, “waste not, want not”.
Have you reused, reclaimed, repurposed an old encaustic painting? Leave a comment below.
You can also join the All Things Encaustic Facebook Group and post photos of your paintings.
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- Artist Conversation with Andrea Bird - May 23, 2021
- An Easier Encaustic Photo Transfer: The Parchment Paper Method - April 5, 2021
- How to Reclaim Wax-covered Boards - March 9, 2021
- Bee Colony Collaboration | Artist Conversation with Ava Roth - March 2, 2021
- Make Two—At least | Work on Multiple Paintings at a Time - February 23, 2021
- When it’s Hard to Make Art | Finding Momentum - February 8, 2021
- Yes, You Can Paint with Encaustic on Plexiglass - December 13, 2020
- How to Make and Pigment Encaustic Gesso - June 8, 2020
- The power of differences to make your art stronger - February 24, 2020