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6 ways to sign an encaustic painting

How to sign an encaustic painting

When you’ve finished a work of art you will want to sign it. The question of how to sign encaustic art comes up on forums and in Facebook groups often. Here I’ve pulled together some ways I’ve tried or seen other artists use on their encaustic paintings.

6 ways to sign encaustic art

1. Incise into the wax

You can etch your initials or signature into the wax with a sharp tool. Then you can fill the wax with oil paint and wipe off the excess. This is what I did when I first started painting with encaustic. But now when I look at an early work I feel that my initials interfere with the piece and I always want to remove them.

2. Sign the back of the panel

Now I sign the back of the painting. This simple solution seems to be the most common method adopted by artists working in encaustic. You may wish to include the title of the work with your signature.

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3. Stamp into the wax

In the past seals were stamped into sealing wax to keep a scroll or envelope closed and secure from prying eyes. Today you can purchase inexpensive wax seal stamps on amazon. You could use one of these as your signature on a painting.

You can invest in a custom stamp made of your signature, your initials, or your logo. Then you can press the stamp into the wax and either leave just the impression or add oil paint or medium for contrast. You can purchase a custom stamp or a custom seal.

metal letter punch stamping kit can also be used.

4. Tissue Paper under a layer of wax

The beauty of using tissue paper with encaustic is that when wax is added, the transparent tissue paper disappears. Sign on the tissue, place it on the painting and add a layer of encaustic medium, then fuse. Your signature will show just below the surface of the wax.

5. A wax signature with the Stylus

It takes some practice but if you get good at controlling the stylus, you can sign your encaustic paintings with an encaustic stylus.

6. Sign on the surface of the wax

  • Sign with ink on top of the surface of the wax using a bamboo skewer dipped in the ink or with a Pitt pen.  Allow the ink to dry, you can lightly fuse to help the wax and ink bond but be careful not to distort your signature.
  • I have just been introduced to Stabilo All Pencils. Use them to write directly on the wax!
  • Foil transfer paper is ideal for drawing or writing on wax. It is available in a variety of colours. Lay the transfer paper on the wax, shiny side up, and sign on the paper. Lift off the paper and gently fuse your signature into the wax.

I recommend testing different methods to find the one that works best for you.

I would love to hear what you have to say. Is there a method I haven’t included here that you use?

6 ways to sign encaustic art

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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9 thoughts on “How to sign an encaustic painting”

  1. As a college art student who is moving into encaustic I really appreciate this blog. Something as simple as signing an encaustic work provides lots of room for thought and exploration. I hadn’t thought of many of these before reading the article.

    There is no detailed class or instruction on encaustic in school. It’s just a few pointers in a Painting II class and “complete the project by next Tuesday for critique.” Thanks. This is very helpful.

      1. a question: I make a paint with acrylics, then I put a layer of oil paint on top, can I use encaustic on top of that oil layer?
        acrylic, then oil and finish with an encaustic layer

        1. No, you can’t. Dried oil paint is not absorbent enough to hold the wax well. You could potentially try using clear gesso or chalk paint over the oil paint to create a toothy ground that would accept the wax but you would want do the freezer test to see if it is archivally sound.

          1. I have just started to experiment with encaustic painting and am not sure what the freezer test is. I use a lot of pigment sticks and oil pastels and I do find they are hard to fuse so they don’t rub off. I’m concerned that I might be doing something wrong.

          2. In connection with this question of Frances Pico, is it possible to use a medium to paint for the oil on the old painting and wait for it to be slightly dry, then apply the encaustic? …so it would make a toothy ground for the encaustic? or use another kind of glue in between?…also, if the chalk paint is used does it exist in translucide? Thanks

  2. I have tried most of the above. I have also used a transfer. Scanned a signature, copied multiple times to one sheet, flipped in reverse and printed with laser printer. Might go back to this. Been stamping.

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