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Beeswax Collage Techniques

Follow these step-by-step instructions designed and demonstrated by Claudine Hellmuth to create a beautiful beeswax collage.

Materials and Tools:

mini quilting iron or travel iron with no holes
100% white beeswax
crayons or oil pastels
gold metallic finishing wax
old brush *
small stretched canvas
various collage items
dress pattern tissue
buttons
focal point image
photocopies for image transfer
slow cooker to melt the wax
paper towels

* Note: This brush will get full of wax and you won't be able to use it for painting again.

Steps:

1. Break off wax shavings and place them into a mini crock-pot that you will only use for beeswax. Set your slow cooker to medium heat to melt the wax.

2. Once the wax has melted, dip your brush into the melted wax and apply it to the canvas surface (figure B).

3. Place the dress pattern tissue into wax; don't worry if the wax underneath has already hardened — this won't matter.

4. Add wax on top of the dress pattern tissue paper. Coat the edges of the canvas, too. You'll notice that the wax will coat the collage piece that you just added and adhere the collage piece to the background, just like glue (figure D).

5. Add cut out of your focal image and brush over with more wax.

6. Iron over with quilting iron; this will smooth out all the bubbles and will help the wax to lay nice and flat (figure F).

7. To add color, drip on crayon color by holding it directly to the quilting iron (figure G) and allowing color to drip onto the artwork. You can also add color by using oil pastels or metallic finishing wax. Blend in the color with the iron. If you add too much color, you can scrape off excess wax with the iron.

8. Drip a circle of wax onto your artwork and then press a button directly into the melted wax. Add more buttons using the same method.

9. To add an image transfer, place your black-and-white toner photocopy face down on the wax surface. Rub the back of the photocopy firmly with a brush handle or bone folder. You will see the toner transfer to the wax (figure J).

10. To add metallic finishing wax, simply rub on with your fingers (figure K). When you are finished with your artwork, buff the piece with a dry paper towel for a nice sheen.

Tips:

Do not use paraffin or candle wax for wax collage. It is too brittle and will not hold your collage pieces. You need to use 100 percent beeswax because it is archival and will remain flexible.

Some papers react differently to the wax and will turn transparent. You'll need to experiment with different types of papers to see how they will react to the wax. I personally enjoy the unexpected surprise when a paper turns transparent! If you don't want your paper to turn transparent when you use it with beeswax, seal it first on both sides with gel medium, let it dry, and then incorporate it into your artwork.

Transfer tip: After you have finished your transfer, be careful not to heat this area with your heat gun or else your transfer will melt off. This can be used to your advantage though. If you are not happy with the placement of your transfer, simply heat up the area with your heat gun and you will be able to melt off the transfer and try again.

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