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'm an artist from Toronto working in Encaustic. My day-job is as a WordPress web designer, developer and instructor. I started All Things Encaustic to document what I learn and to explore encaustic art.

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Here are 6 ways I've tried or seen other artists use to sign their encaustic paintings. Incise into the wax. Sign the back of the panel. Stamp into the wax. Tissue Paper under a layer of wax. A wax signature with the Stylus. Sign on the surface of the wax.

2 thoughts on “How to sign an encaustic painting


  1. 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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