Learning my ABC’s – Working with stencils and encaustic paint

Posted by on Jul 11, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Learning my ABC’s – Working with stencils and encaustic paint

Learning my ABC’s – Working with stencils and encaustic paint

I continued my experiments with encaustic painting and Terraskin paper.  I wanted to apply the encaustic paint through a plastic stencil (being careful not to melt it).   I used a cheap plastic alphabet stencil from a dollar store, and applied different colours of paint through the letter openings.  One issue with this stencil is that the plastic was quite thick, which meant the wax built up quickly as it cooled and pooled in the letter shape.  I think a thinner stencil would be better for crisper detailed letter shapes.

 

Applying encaustic paint on Terraskin paper through a plastic stencil.

Applying encaustic paint on Terraskin paper through a plastic stencil.

Next, I brushed over a clear coat of encaustic medium to seal in the letters (some colors bled out in the melted wax where they were thickly applied) and let cool.

Stenciled letters made with encaustic paint.

Stenciled letters made with encaustic paint.

As I heated up the top coat of clear encaustic medium in order to fuse it to the coloured encaustic stenciled letters, the letters started to ‘bleed’ out into the surrounding medium.

Clear encaustic medium over stenciled letters caused letters to 'bleed'.

Clear encaustic medium over stenciled letters caused letters to ‘bleed’.

Next I wanted to apply stamped impressions of letters into the slightly warm wax.  I used a series of alphabet letter wood block stamps that I got from Michaels Arts & Crafts store.  These letters had textured designs in the letters, and I was curious to see if that textured would be captured by the wax.

Rubber wood stamps with different textured letters.

Rubber wood stamps with different textured letters.

I stamped the letter ‘A’ into the wax, but the one issue I found using the Terraskin is that it was difficult to apply enough wax to the surface to capture a decent impression, without having the wax be too thick on the paper (and potentially cracking off).

Faint impression of stamped letter 'A' into warm encaustic medium.

Faint impression of stamped letter ‘A’ into warm encaustic medium.

I thought the stamped letters would stand out better with some colour applied to them.  I used red oil paint and rubbed it over the Terraskin with my gloved fingers.

Rubbing red oil paint into stamped surface of waxed Terraskin paper.

Rubbing red oil paint into stamped surface of waxed Terraskin paper.

Next, I removed the excess oil paint with a paper towel and linseed oil.  Once enough paint was removed (except for the colour trapped in the stamped letters), I sealed it with a coat of clear encaustic medium.

Removing excess red oil paint from waxed Terraskin paper with linseed oil and paper towels.

Removing excess red oil paint from waxed Terraskin paper with linseed oil and paper towels.

Red oil paint is captured in the stamped letters impression in the wax.

Red oil paint is captured in the stamped letters impression in the wax.

Lastly, I wanted to write additional letters onto the surface of the waxed Terraskin paper.  I used an embossing pen (metal point with a slight ball on the tip) and sheets of black carbon paper (found at Staples) and colored dressmaker’s chalk tracing paper, sheets in green, yellow, red and blue (found on eBay).

Black carbon paper and coloured dressmaker's tracing paper for writing onto wax.

Black carbon paper and coloured dressmaker’s tracing paper for writing onto wax.

Both the carbon paper and colored chalk tracing paper transferred clearly to the waxed surface of the Terraskin paper.  I had to press firmly as I drew my letter shapes through the carbon paper, but the ball point of the embossing tool was perfect for this.

Block letters drawn with black carbon paper and embossing pen onto waxed Terraskin paper.

Block letters drawn with black carbon paper and embossing pen onto waxed Terraskin paper.

Once my letters were completed, I did one last seal of clear encaustic medium over the entire piece.  When the wax had cooled, I removed the masking tape from the edges of the Terraskin paper, and took it off the wood panel.

'Now I Know my ABC's' - Encaustic on Terraskin paper by Alexandra Reid.

‘Now I Know my ABC’s’ – Encaustic on Terraskin paper by Alexandra Reid.

I like the look that the stenciled letters gave me, even with the haziness from the wax melting from the edges – reminds me of old graffiti written on a street alley wall.