Encaustic Care Instructions
Encaustic medium is a mixture of beeswax and damar resin. Damar resin is a naturally occurring substance harvested from a variety of Indonesian tree. The damar is used as a hardening agent when small quantities are added to the melted beeswax. This combination creates a durable, all natural, archival medium that has been used by artists as far back at the 5th century B.C. Caring for an encaustic painting is simple. Following these instructions will help keep your artwork beautiful and vibrant for many decades to come.
1. Consistent temperature - encaustic medium should not be exposed to extreme heat or cold. The wax will melt at temperatures above 162°F (72°C) and freezing temperatures can cause the medium to crack. Do not install near fireplaces, wood stoves, or close to the bulbs of lamps or light fixtures where radiant heat can cause the surface to soften and become vulnerable to damage.
2. Avoid direct sunlight - extended periods of direct sunlight can also soften the encaustic surface making it more vulnerable to damage.
3. Packing / Transporting - avoid allowing shipping materials to directly touch any part of the encaustic surface as these could leave impressions or scratches. Avoid leaving an encaustic painting in a hot vehicle where summer temperatures could easily exceed 150°. Always ship overnight or during cooler months of the year.
4. Storing - encaustic paintings should not be stored in attics or non-climate controlled storage facilities where temperatures may rise.
5. Framing - encaustic does not need to be protected under glass. Encaustic is a natural substance that does best when allowed to breath. Floating frames are a recommended option as the frame can protect the edges of the painting from chips and and dents.
6 Curing - encaustic will continue to cure (harden) for 6-12 months after painting. During this time the painting could develop a 'bloom' or white hazy residue. This is a natural occurrence and may even occur on older works that have been exposed to cold temperatures. The bloom is easily removed by gently buffing the painting surface with a soft lint-free cloth.
7. Cleaning - encaustic paintings can be easily cleaned by gently buffing the surface with a lint-free cloth. Avoid buffing or wiping the surface if the painting is warm. Just like car wax, gently wiping the wax can bring back a sheen. Note: encaustic paintings with mixed media or oil paint detailing could have a matte finish, as other media may be layered over the encaustic surface. The sheen will be less pronounced on this works. For highly textured works a microfiber or feather duster may be needed to whisk away dust from the crevices.