Master's Theses

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Date of Award

Summer 1986

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Kathleen Kuchar


“Encaustic” is an old word which means “burning in”. It refers to painting with melted beeswax which has been infused with color. I usually use powdered pigments to color the wax but when that was not available I found oil paint to work quite well. The bleached beeswax is melted in a double boiler. Damar crystals are added at this time (about one-eighth to one-sixth of the total volume). The damar strengthens the wax and makes the melting point even higher. The wax is then poured into individual tins and pigment is added. These tins are kept hot on a household grill. Painting should be done in a well ventilated place. It is also most wise to wear a protective mask when working because of the dangerous fumes caused by the toxic pigments. The word “encaustic” is most appropriately applied to the practice of heating the different layers or the final layer (with, for example, a butane torch) in order to fuse them.


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© 1986 Edna Mae Giebler

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