encaustic and alcohol inks

Encaustic with Alcohol Inks and a Dry Shellac Burn

It’s been a long time since I’ve created an encaustic with alcohol inks, but I was inspired recently to take them out and play with them again.  It is fascinating to watch the way the inks interact with each other.  The alcohol gives so much movement, creating a look within your painting that you don’t have much control over.  You simply have to watch the way everything settles, and try to add or take away little bits at a time.  At least, in my experience.  But watching the way the alcohol moves across the surface is totally worth the extra effort that’s needed.


encaustic and alcohol inks


The Dry Shellac burn is much easier, in a way.  I simply let the shellac I’ve sprayed on the surface dry for about 10 minutes, then I use a small blow torch to “burn” the shellac to create those awesome open cells on the surface.  It works so great with alcohol ink, especially the metallic ones because those produce these amazing glittery trails when you do the shellac burn.



I love using bright colors, but sometimes you just need to go a bit more vintage, you know?  So I used a mix of browns, golds and yellows for this set of little wax paintings.  What do you think of the ink?  The colors?  The burn?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions!


Here’s a breakdown of my process:

  • Start with a bare wood board.
  • Brush your encaustic medium on the surface- I’ve done two layers of white so the colors of ink really stand out.
  • Add your ink.  You can use isopropyl alcohol to move the colors around, blend them, and even lift them from the surface in certain places.
  • Use spray shellac to keep from moving the colors around with a brush.  Let it dry for around 10 minutes or so.
  • Use your torch to do a dry burn to create cells on the surface.
  • You can add more ink, or leave your painting as it is.  I like to do a final fuse to solidify the colors a bit more.


encaustic painting with alcohol ink


If you’re interested in learning more about the shellac burn, check out my new online course- Painting with Wax- The Shellac Burn TechniqueIt’s great for beginners to encaustic and shellac burns, and includes a lot of great bonus content that I keep adding to…  We’d love to have you join us!

Either way, go try painting an encaustic with alcohol inks and see what kind of beautiful mess you can create!!



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