Getting Started with Beeswax Collage

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This article is written by Debbie Davis from In Art Therapy.

Debbie has previously shared her Christmas beeswax collages with us. Now she is back to step us through the process of getting started with this interesting medium.

claybord beeswax mixed media collage

Introduction

Beeswax is a wonderful medium to use in art. It can be used as a decoupage medium for adhering papers and objects to a number of surfaces. It can be stamped into to add texture to your art and rubbed with an oil pastel to add color.

There are many options available when choosing a substrate upon which to create your collage. Here are a few:

  • Wood
  • Masonite
  • Paper
  • Canvas (small gallery wrapped or canvas panel)
  • Encaustic board
  • Clayboard
  • Metal

I have read that you should not apply beeswax over acrylic paint because it will eventually fall off. I do use small canvases that have been primed with acrylic gesso and have never had a problem with it coming off. I wouldn’t use a wrapped canvas any bigger than 5×5 inch because there isn’t as much support. I find the 4×4 inch to be the perfect size. You could also use a canvas panel which would be much sturdier.

Choosing your wax

Beeswax is sold in one or two pound blocks. It is also available in bags or jars that contain small pellets. It can be yellow (natural) or white (filtered) in color.You can find beeswax online or at a number of craft and hobby stores. Prices will vary but I usually pay around $11.00 for a 1lb block.

Heating tools options

  • Crock pot
  • Griddle
  • Melt Pot (made by Ranger)
  • Heat Gun
  • Mini iron (I love using my Clover mini iron)
  • Travelers iron (without holes)

If using a block of wax, you will need to break off pieces for melting. Put the wax in a plastic bag and hit it a few times with a hammer. Melting the wax can take a while, depending on how much you put in your pot. I like to use a small crock pot I bought at a yard sale. You should be very careful not to overheat the wax. Put it on the medium to low setting.

You could also use an electric griddle and put a pan on top with the wax in it. Just remember that whatever you put the wax in, you will not be able to use it for anything else.   Keep the temperature setting around 200 degrees. If the wax starts to smoke, the temperature is too high.

I love to use a mini iron to smooth the wax out after adding elements to the collage.  A heat gun can be used to fuse layers of wax together. You can also easily fix mistakes by melting the wax and removing any elements you are not happy with. All of these tools can be found on-line or at your local craft stores.

When painting the wax onto your substrate, use a natural bristle brush because synthetic brushes will melt. I just buy the cheap chip brushes. Also know that once you use the brush in the wax, you will not be able to use it for anything else. The wax will harden quickly on the brush but will melt again once placed back in the hot wax.

Items to use in your collage

  • Any type of paper (Scrapbook, dictionary pages, vintage book pages, magazine clippings)
  • Old photos or printed images
  • Buttons
  • Keys
  • Dried flowers
  • Found objects
  • Material
  • Lace
  • Ribbon
  • Paper napkins
  • Gift wrap tissue
  • Pattern tissue

This is where you can really have fun because if you don’t like where you put something, you can melt the wax, move the object and start over again. No need to worry about ruining your substrate.

Here are some examples of collages I have created on various substrates:

canvas beeswax collage

Collage on Canvas using an image of my sweet cousins, flowers and a poem stamped onto white tissue paper along with a paper butterfly and a button.

wood substrate beeswax collage

Beeswax on Wood – Ink and watercolor painting coated in Beeswax

claybord beeswax collage

Beeswax on Clayboard – I used tissue paper, scrapbook papers, a page torn from a vintage children’s book and an image printed from my inkjet printer.

I hope you have fun experimenting with this new medium – it’s perfect for a range of mixed media projects!

 

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My name is Debbie and I live in Morton, Illinois, USA. I’m happily married and have a wonderful family that includes a daughter, son, son-in-law and 2 of the sweetest grandchildren ever!

What I love most about mixed media art is that you don’t have to be an expert at anything to create beautiful art. It is a great way to recycle found objects. Art is such a wonderful stress reliever. I just wish I had more time to play!

I have a shop on Etsy called Artful Explorations where I place some of the art I have created for sale. Having been inspired by others who are willing to share their techniques and ideas, I decided to start a blog called In Art Therapy and hope you will visit me there.

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Journaling on the Quick

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This article is written by Debbie Davis

I like to keep a number of painted backgrounds at the ready in my journal books for when I don’t have a lot of time but am feeling the need to journal.  One of my favorite journals is a vintage ledger binder that I picked up from an antique store.  The ledger pages had never been used.  I sometimes keep a few of the pages handy when I’m working on other projects and use any leftover paint on them to create a background.

I had just returned from a beach vacation and was starting to think about all that needed to be done at home and work, but what I really wanted to do was journal.  I didn’t do any art or journaling on the trip and was really missing it.  Since I didn’t have much time, I used a previously created background.

Journaling Image

This background was made by randomly scraping pink, yellow and blue/green paints that had been loosely mixed with some white fluid acrylic paint onto the ledger journal page using an old store card.  The colors were so calming and reminded me of the beach.  I then remembered a vintage photo that I had been wanting to use in my journal for a long time.

Journaling Image

I copied and pasted the photo into a Word document and resized it so that it would fit on the journal page.  I printed, cut out and collaged the photo, along with two little beach cabanas that I had cut out of scrapbook paper, onto the page.  I outlined the photo and cabanas with a Stabilo pencil and lightly went over the pencil with a wet brush.

Journaling Image

Next I wrote some words onto the page with the Stabilo pencil.  The black penciled words were standing out more than I wanted so I took a white gel pen and scribbled over the words to tone them down a bit and give them a washed out look.  This page was so quick and easy, yet I still felt that sense of contentment that I usually feel after getting in some artful playtime.

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Debbie Davis is a mixed media artist living in Morton, Illinois.   She finds creating art to be a wonderful stress reliever and plays in the paint and other mixed media mediums every chance she gets.

You can find more of Debbie’s art and techniques by visiting her In Art Therapy blog at inarttherapy.wordpress.com

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Beeswax Collages for Christmas

This article is written by Debbie Davis from In Art Therapy

Debbie davis beeswax collage

I love creating collages using beeswax as the decoupage medium.  For these collages I used 4 x 4 inch canvases, some paper napkins with Christmas designs, vintage images along with some buttons and ribbon for added texture.

Debbie davis ephemera beeswax collage

Here’s how to create a beeswax collage:

  1. Gather the items you would like to you use in your collage such as papers, napkins, buttons, ribbons, etc.  If using decorative napkins, remove any layers of white paper from the back of the napkins by lightly tearing a corner and rubbing until you are able to peel back and remove the layers.  I like to save the white layers to use for cleaning up in other projects.
  2. Melt beeswax in a small crockpot.  You will not be able to use the crock pot for anything else after you have melted the wax in it.
  3. Using a cheap, natural bristle brush, paint a layer of wax onto the canvas top and sides.
  4. Next add a napkin to the top of the canvas and paint over it with beeswax.  You can wrap the napkin around the sides of the canvas or use pieces of napkins or other papers torn or cut to fit the sides.  Once you have coated the napkins in wax, use a hot mini iron to smooth out the wax and remove any air bubbles.   This also fuses the wax layers together.
  5. I wanted the design/words from the napkins to show through my Christmas images so I printed the images onto tissue paper (see instructions below).  The thinner the paper, the better the images/papers underneath each layer will show through.  Place the printed image on the canvas and paint on more wax.
  6. You can now continue adding whatever embellishments you would like to add to the collage.  For the buttons, I added a puddle of wax and pressed them into it.  Be careful not to burn your fingers on the hot wax.

beeswax collage with images and mixed media ephemera

Printing on Tissue Paper using an Ink Jet Printer

Using a heavier printer paper, such as card stock, rub a glue stick around the edges.  Next lay a piece of tissue paper onto the cardstock and smooth down into the glued edges.  Trim off any excess tissue paper.   Once the glue has dried, place the paper in your printer and print your image onto the tissue paper.  This may take some practice.  I jammed a few papers when I first started printing on tissue!  Remove the image by cutting or tearing around the edges.

printing images on tissue papers

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My name is Debbie and I live in Morton, Illinois, USA. I’m happily married and have a wonderful family that includes a daughter, son, son-in-law and 2 of the sweetest grandchildren ever!

What I love most about mixed media art is that you don’t have to be an expert at anything to create beautiful art. It is a great way to recycle found objects. Art is such a wonderful stress reliever. I just wish I had more time to play!

I have a shop on Etsy called Artful Explorations where I place some of the art I have created for sale. Having been inspired by others who are willing to share their techniques and ideas, I decided to start a blog called In Art Therapy and hope you will visit me there.

 

 

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Create Your Own Rub-ons

This article is written by Debbie Davis

I’ve been reading Marney Makridakis’ new book called Creating Time. I was intrigued by the name of this book because I always find myself saying things like, time goes by so fast, I don’t have enough time, etc.  I am hoping it will help me to at least feel like I have more time.  I am working on the first “Artsignment” in the book, which is creating a time box.

I wanted to add some quotes on time to the box and needed a quick, simple way to do it.  I had recently made my own text rub-ons for another project and thought that would be a great way to add text and dates to the box.

Creating text rub-ons

I found the quotes on-line by googling “time quotes” and then copied and pasted them into a word document.  I changed the font to a size and style that would fit on my project.  Using overhead transparency film, I placed the film into my inkjet printer so that the text would print onto the smooth side.

When creating rub-ons this way, you need to make sure to print text in a mirror image, otherwise it will be backwards when you rub it on your project.  Also, be careful not to touch the ink after printing or it will smear.  Lay the film, smooth side down, onto your project and, using your fingernail or a wooden craft stick, rub over the text/image you want transferred.  You can rub as light or as heavy as you want, depending on how clear you want the text/image to be.  I like to print off a string of symbols such as ########## and just randomly rub them on.

How to rub a text or image

After rubbing the quotes, etc, onto my time box, I decided to see if I could re-use any ink that might be left on the film.  I was so surprised to find that I could get another print out of most of what was on the transparency.  It was very light, but that just added to the look I was going for.

I added some additional text using the rub-ons so that it was darker in some areas.

Adding texts on the rub-ons    Rub the quotes on the time box

Please note that the rub-ons will not be permanent and will smear if you brush over them with anything wet such as paint or glue.  To set the ink, I took my project outside and lightly sprayed it with a little matt coating before doing any additional “wet” work on it.

Think of the possibilities with creating your own rub-ons!  Here’s an image that I printed onto the film and then rubbed on some scrapbook paper.  I found that you don’t need to set the ink when transferring the image to paper, unless the paper has been previously painted on or coated with any type of acrylic medium.

rubbing on a scrapbook paper

This is a fast and fun way to add text, numbers and even images to your art.

 

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My name is Debbie and I live in Morton, Illinois (USA). I’m happily married and have a wonderful family that includes a daughter, son, son-in-law and 2 of the sweetest grandchildren ever!

What I love most about mixed media art is that you don’t have to be an expert at anything to create beautiful art. It is a great way to recycle found objects. Art is such a wonderful stress reliever. I just wish I had more time to play!

I have a shop on Etsy called Artful Explorations where I place some of the art I have created for sale.

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