Compatible Media and Tools

As a general rule, all dry pigment sources, porous collage material, hard substrates, and metal/silicone tools work well with encaustic. However, feel free to play!

Pigment Sources

Dry Pigment: It does not matter if this is intended for oil paint, calligraphy ink, etc. The particle size will vary, but as long as it is dry (not suspended in a liquid), it is usable. 

Oil Pastels: The higher quality, the higher the pigment load. 

Oil Sticks: The higher quality, the higher the pigment load. 

Oil paint: The higher quality, the higher the pigment load. 

High-Quality Crayons: Caran d'Ache and Prismacolor crayons work best. Crayola crayons contain too much paraffin to work with encaustic. 

Make-up: Packed or loose dry eyeshadow, blush, etc. 

Collage Material

Paper: Tissue paper, porous fine art papers, rice paper, handmade papers 

Fabric: Organic fibers work best, the more porous the better. 

Thread and other fiber: Organic thread, yarn, cotton, waxed thread. 

Using Images and Photos

Image transferring can be done with black & white photocopies, xerox, and some inkjet prints. Laser prints are rarely successful. The older the printer and ink, the better. Black and white images transfer much easier than color images. 

Multiple copies of an image are recommended.

For drawing transfers, tracing paper, printer paper and graphite or charcoal work consistently well. Pastel, india ink, color-transfer tape, press type, book-embossing tape and any images printed directly onto wax paper will generally transfer onto a smooth encaustic surface


Metal ceramic, printmaking, etc. tools are useful for mark-making. 

Silicone tools, including silicone stencils, cups/molds, and brushes work great on a heated palette. 

Sculpture Material and Substrates

Ceramic: Non-glazed, fired, ceramic pieces or tiles are most compatible

Wood: unfinished wood pieces or wood panels. 

Plexiglass: Great as a transparent substrate. 

Masonite or Hardboard: Needs to be gessoed to be used as a substrate

Paper Mache