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How to reuse was scrapings

How to reuse encaustic scrapings

Scraping is part of the encaustic painting process but this can feel wasteful. What do you do with encaustic scrapings? Believe me I know that you don’t want to throw away all the beautiful encaustic paint that you’ve applied and then scrapped off a panel. Here’s how to ensure that that precious encaustic medium doesn’t go to waste.

3 ways to reuse wax scrapings

1. Create a harmonizing colour:

When you’re working on a painting if you throw scrapings into a pot you can create a powerful neutral colour, a harmonizing colour that can help all of the other colours in your painting relate to each other.

Melt together scrapings of each of the colours on your pallet to create a neutral. I did this myself today, creating a lovely blue-grey that was just what my painting needed. You can add clear medium to make more of a glaze. At first, this may seem like a muddy colour, but this new colour relates to every colour in your painting, it has some of each of the other colours in it. Nicolas Wilton illustrates this in his colour harmony video. Try this yourself to create colour harmony.

2. Separate scrapings by colour:

Separate your scrapings by colour groups then melt the scrapings down and you’ll have a new colour to use. You can always add additional oil paint or pigment to modify the colour.

pucks of encaustic medium

Melt all scrapings together:

If you have scrapings that aren’t separated by colour, just melt them down together. This will make neutral greys that can be used for base layers in new works.

Filter out debris:

When you’ve melted down the scrapings, pour the molten medium into silicone muffin cups. Allow the medium to cool and then pop it out of the cup. You can store these pucks for future use.

Pesky brush hairs and debris that found its way into the wax medium can be filtered out through clean lint-free cloth as you pour into the muffin cup molds.

Also, check the bottom of cooled pucks. Debris sinks to the bottom, you can scrape off any debris that wasn’t filtered out.

If you’ve applied non-encaustic media such as pan pastels or ink to the surface of the wax, discard these scrapings.

3. Creative scrapings

Some artists like to work scrapings back into the painting. Put the scraping on top of the painting and using a torch, melt it down. This can create some cool marbled effects.

If you have a large section of a painting that you want to scrape off, you can get creative. Try to create Encaustic Ribbons that you can fuse into other paintings.

How do you use encaustic wax scrapings?

I would love to hear from you. If you have something to add please comment below.

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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10 thoughts on “How to reuse encaustic scrapings”

  1. I too create neutrals from scrapings. I don’t usually divide by color but I do have separate pans for whites, mid-range darks and darks. The trick is not to create “mud.”

  2. I freeze them and then smash them into tiny bits. Then when I sprinkle them onto my encaustic paintings in strategic places and fuse them. It adds the element of surprise. I do separate colours as I do the scraping And put them in small zip lock bags so I have a “pallet” of different pulverized colours.

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