Caring for Encaustic

Amy Royce dripping encaustic paint

Will it Melt?

This is the most frequent question encaustic artists get. In response, you may hear a snide remark like:

“If your encaustic painting is melting, your house is on fire!”

So yes, of course it will melt- after all, the wax paint was melted to create the piece in the first place. However, the melting point is 155 degrees.  Wax is impervious to moisture which makes it extremely durable and archival. Despite this, encaustic artwork does need special consideration and care. Here are some guidelines for safekeeping of your encaustic painting:

  • Dust gently with a soft cloth.
  • If a hazy “bloom” forms, buff gently with a soft t shirt or chamois. This is a normal part of the curing process of encaustic.
  • Like any fine art, keep encaustics out of direct sunlight.
  • Be careful when handling. The waxed edges and surfaces are susceptible to chipping or scratching. If this occurs, repairs can be possible. Contact me.
  • Encaustic artwork should be kept between 35 and 120 degrees. Never store an encaustic in extreme cold. Wax will shrink in cold temperatures and form cracks, possibly separating completely from the substrate. Constant extreme temperature fluctuations are likely to ruin the piece. Likewise, the convection of sunlight through the glass windows of a closed car can heat up quickly and may soften or melt a piece that is being transported by car.

Please contact me if you are uncertain how a piece will be affected under special circumstances.