Techniques – Hot air gun
The Hot Air Gun we would recommend should have 3 or more air speeds and have an electronic thermostat which means it holds a steady temperature rather than turning on and off which is important when moving the wax with the heat gun. A reducing nozzle is also a necessity.
The electronic thermostat also means you can set the heat so it is at an optimum temperature to move the wax while not burning it.
Basic Heat Gun Operation
Whether painting on card, canvas or board the encaustic wax can be blown & moved best if a layer of clear wax is first put on the surface. Next, apply some wax on top of the clear, maybe drip some off the end of the iron or spread some around with the stylus tool.
Experiment a little to see which temperature setting and air speed results in the movement and effect you are looking for. We normally operate with a temperature setting between 3 to 5 on a dial setting.
Apply the heat to the area you wish to move and watch the surface carefully, you will see the clear “shine” and just start to move, at this point be ready for your coloured wax to start moving and try tipping the surface you are working on a little as well as trying to move the wax in different directions with the Hot Air Gun.
This is best done with the reducing nozzle attached. It is important to try and keep the air flow moving a bit rather than just continually pointing at one area in a stationary position or you will end up “burning” the wax and possibly also affecting the surface you are painting on.
It just requires practice & experimentation to try and understand how the airflow affects the wax which often seems to have a mind of its own!