Get painting like a busy bee and try your hand at the encaustic technique. Encaustic painting, which some call hot wax painting, is the art of applying melted pigmented beeswax to a variety of surfaces. This versatile painting medium can be layered, sculpted, collaged, and combined with other diverse processes to beautiful effect. While many artists make their own pigments, the process can be quite complicated. If you want to try the technique yourself, consider picking up a set of ready-to-use encaustics. No matter your familiarity with pigmented wax, we’ve got you covered. Browse our roundup of the best options below.
1. Encaustic Art Landscape Selection Wax Blocks
This set offers high-quality wax blocks in a wide range of colors at a reasonable price. That makes it the best everyday set in our book, whether you’re just coming to encaustic painting or have some experience. Made in Germany, the blocks consist of a hand-poured combination of waxes, including beeswax and carnauba wax, in a formula that is free of resin for better flow once heated. The resulting product is incredibly stable and melts easily into a smooth and fluid liquid that radiates vibrant color.
Encaustic Art Landscape Selection Wax Blocks
2. Enkaustikos EnkaustiKolors Assortment
If you want more colors to use without having to mix them, we recommend this set from the small Rochester, New York, art-supply maker Enkaustikos. It comes with 49 sticks in more than 20 shades: two sticks each of 19 colors, three white sticks, and individual sticks with special qualities. The company sources its pigments carefully to provide paints with excellent tinting strength, light-fastness, and heat stability. While you might balk at the price tag, you actually get a lot of paint (each stick is 13 milliliters in volume) that will last a long time.
Enkaustikos EnkaustiKolors Assortment
3. Enkaustikos Encaustic Wax Paint Set
This is the perfect set for artists who have never used encaustic wax and want to learn. It comes with tins filled with wax in four basic colors as well as one tin each of slick wax (for cleaning) and wax medium (for extending). To heat them up, simply place the metal containers on a hot plate, and you can dip your brush directly into the liquefied colors. The pigments are bright and mix very well so you can familiarize yourself with encaustics’ blending properties.
Enkaustikos Encaustic Wax Paint Set
4. R&F Encaustic Paint
Handmade in small batches in Kingston, New York, with beeswax and damar resin—which enables you to buff the wax to impart a luminous finish—these paints are the best you will find. They are richly pigmented and creamy, and you can add beeswax to extend your colors without losing vibrancy. The paints are available in sets of 40-milliliter blocks of complementary colors, including earth tones, pastels, and translucent hues; you can also purchase individual blocks to keep building your palette.
R&F Encaustic Paint
5. Surebonder Pallette Wax Pucks
Individuals looking for a broad palette at a reasonable price should consider this product. With an assortment of 32 wax disks, it has all the variety you’ll need to create rainbow compositions on virtually any surface. Although marketed to young artists (the paints are easy to heat up, rework, and clean up), this set is also a great choice for any adult who wants to try the medium before investing in pricier paints. Each disk is small—about the size of a Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup—but there’s enough to while away a rainy afternoon or two. Note that you’ll have to dip into and apply this pigment with Surebonder’s metal-tipped Cray-Pen, so don’t forget to pick up one of those as well.
Surebonder Pallette Wax Pucks