encaustic monotype workshop

I’m so glad you took the Encaustic Monotype workshop with me, and hope you enjoyed your time there and are enjoying your artwork. Here’s a list of supplies we used an a few reminders on procedures if you choose to work on your own. Remember you can always sign up for one-on-one studio to explore this medium further. Up to two people per session, $20 per hour, three-hour minimum. Contact me directly to set up a time that works.

Michele Sabatier


Many of the supplies are available locally at either Artists & Craftsman Supply which has two Portland locations (check your city) and is employee-owned, or Blick online, in downtown Portland, and in Cedar Hills. But none of these is a one-stop source.

Enkostikos anodized aluminum plates. Aluminum heats and holds heat evenly, and the anodization prevents any reaction between the metal and the pigments. They’re available on Amazon in a variety of sizes

Paper: Any rice paper, also sometimes sold as Sumi paper or calligraphy paper. We used Yasutomo Kozo Rice Paper which is available at Artists & Craftsman or Blick. If you choose to buy on Amazon, do not buy the “edible” ones, and just be aware there’s some weird stuff out there, so look for something familiar to you. Experiment with paper! Let me know if you find something that’s awesome.

Colors: Enkostikos Hot Sticks are the best value for the pigment/medium ratio. They’re available at Artists & Craftsman or on Amazon either individually or as sets. I’d recommend ordering a set or two that you like online and then have fun shopping for the individual colors that make your work personal. If you’re more cost-conscious, look at the EnkostiKolors sets. They have slightly less pure pigment, but you’ll get nice results. Don’t try to use crayons. They contain weird petroleum waxes and the pigments aren’t stable.

Stencils: Best are from Stencil Girl or The Crafters Workshop, which are made from Mylar. When shopping in craft stores for stencils, be sure they’re very thin, and test them for heat tolerance. You can make your own stencils with mylar sheets intended for this purpose. You can cut them with an Xacto or use a heated stencil cutting tool also available on Amazon or at most craft stores. Artists & Craftsman often carries a small Crafters Workshop selection.

Heat source: Any electric griddle will do. If you want to invest, look at the R&F Encaustic Palette available at Artists & Craftsman or on Amazon. The 12x12 is about $160.

Temperature gauge: Duratrax DTXP3100 Flashpoint Infrared Temperature Gauge available on Amazon. This is crucial to monitor the surface temperature of your plate. About $25, and a surprisingly handy thing to own.

Silicone heat pad to keep the plate from sliding around. AQUEENLY 2 PCS A4 Silicone Sheet for Crafts Jewelry Casting Molds Mat available on Amazon about $8 for 2 mats. Cut to fit.

Silicone tools: Specialty tools for fine control of wax. Princeton Catalyst makes color shapers of many sizes and shapes, but if you need small points and wedges, check out silicone manicure or clay tools on Amazon. Catalyst are pricier, available at Artists & Craftsman and Blick. You definitely want to hit the gadget aisle for kitchen supplies, too.

Gloves: Use gloves with a silicone or rubbery palm to lift the hot plates and generally handle hot things. Nothing special, available at garden and hardware stores. Here’s some that come in different sizes.

Miscellaneous Paper towels, newsprint paper, silicone spatulas, brushes, or tools — anything that won’t scratch the plate — to make patterns or mask areas in the liquid wax.


Set up: The order of your materials set up should be:

SILICONE MAT     (slightly smaller than plate)
NEWSPRINT         (about 1 inch showing on each side of plate)

Printing: Never let the plate surface go above 175F. (It can warp at high temps.) The hotter the plate, the more liquid the wax, and less detail it’ll hold. Experiment with the right temperature for the effect you want. Remember that griddles cycle on and off, and have hot/cool spots. Work in an area with good ventilation — your stove fan is fine. 

Making it yours: Experiment with different tools and textures for the effect you want. Prints are normally made on the smooth surface of the paper, but different effects can be achieved by using the rough side, or by printing again once the wax has cooled. Change the newsprint to keep the area around your plate free of old wax to produce a neat edge.

Finishing: Use a mat when framing to avoid getting wax onto the glass. Tape the paper to the back surface of the mat only at the top so the paper won’t buckle as it relaxes with time. If possible, use framer’s tape. But regular Scotch tape is ok. We used these Format type frames. Similar frames are usually at craft and discount big box stores. Use the best framing you can afford — your work is worth it.