Posts Tagged ‘Wax’


Lip Balm Tube Holder for Oil Pastels

September 9, 2016


Okay, here’s my latest experiment. I was online looking for some more gum arabic powder to make some gouache, and I found a new supplier to try out, Mountain Rose Herbs, who had a good price. While on their site, I saw they had various containers too, including empty lip balm tubes. (People make their own lip balm? Okay.)

As some of you who have been following my blog may know, I make my own oil pastels. Seeing these empty lip balm tubes you can probably see where my idea went, so I bought a few to try out as oil pastel holders. The order came in the mail yesterday.


The first thing was to melt the block of charcoal pastel I had made into a liquid using a coffee cup warmer and a muffin tin. I thought I might want to make the pastel a bit harder, so I shaved off a bit of encaustic wax too. I found a piece of plastic from some packaging that made a better funnel by using a snipped off corner, and poured the wax into the tube.


So, how well does it work? Not bad. It poured in fairly easy, but the wax hardens quickly, and this left some air gaps in the tube. I need to find a better tool to push it down and fill it with more wax. The tube is small (1/2 x 1″), but they’re cheap (.30 each) so I can make several at once. The cooled wax will easily push up, but not back down by turning the dial at the bottom. It does make a nice holder, and is not messy to use.


Craftsy Order Arrived

December 3, 2015

Christmas came a little early today. I placed an online order on “Black Friday” from an art store called Craftsy, recommended by a friend. I’ll admit I was wary of a store with that name having anything I’d like, but their selection wasn’t too bad, and the current holiday prices are good bargains.


I picked up a few Da Vinci gouache paints of colors I was running low on, a red sable brush, a can of Gamblin Cold Wax, and Golden’s Pastel Ground that I’ve been wanting to test out. The sale is still going on, so I might go back and get a few more items.


New Drawing: Gallery Guitarist

May 22, 2015

I made a pencil sketch of this person several weeks ago as just a quick outline. He was part of a trio of musicians playing at a local gallery opening. Today I got the urge to color it with some wax crayons, and this is the result. It’s 8.5 x 11 inches on paper.



Homemade Charcoal Oil Pastel

May 6, 2015

Following up on my last post, I’ve made another oil and wax pastel, but this time I added charcoal powder. Now I can combine this with a pencil drawing without having to add charcoal in a separate step.

oilpastel_charcoal1 oilpastel_charcoal2

That pile of charcoal powder is about 2 ounces. I melted some beeswax and added mineral oil as in my previous post, and mixed it in with the charcoal until I had a firm paste.

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I then pressed the mixture into a square mold I made out of aluminum foil. After it cooled, I removed it from the foil, and drew a test area on some drawing paper. I could easily smear the charcoal with a rubber-tipped colour shaper tool; although, not very far, or scratch through it with a penknife.


Homemade Colorless Oil and Wax Pastel

May 5, 2015

I had good results with my last drawing using graphite and a colorless oil pastel bar from the Sennelier company. I decided I would make my own, since they can be hard to find sometimes. It is very easy to do.


Materials used:
Bleached beeswax pellets, 1/2 ounce by weight
Food-grade mineral oil, 1/2 ounce by weight
Aluminum muffin cup as a mold
Digital kitchen scale for measuring
Electric coffee cup warmer to melt wax

waxdisk2 waxdisk3

I measured the beeswax and added enough oil to reach 1 ounce, then set it on the warmer until the wax was completely melted, and gave it a little stir. I then placed the muffin cup in the freezer for about half an hour to solidify it, and gently popped it out of the cup. The disk is about 2 1/4 inches in diameter, and 3/4 inches thick. It reminds me of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

waxdisk4 waxdisk5

The disk is a little bit oily and soft, but solid. Wrapping it in wax paper makes it comfortable to hold, and helps keep it clean. I chose the muffin cup since it was a handy ready-made form. If you want to make a bar or stick shape, any cylindrical form will work wrapped with some stiff aluminum foil. The melted wax and oil is very liquid, so make sure you don’t have any leaks. I’m using food-safe mineral oil that was sold for tempering wooden butcher blocks. It’s the purest form of mineral oil I could find. Paraffin oil sold as “lamp oil” can also be used, just be careful to read the ingredients, as they often add other things that you won’t need (other oils or waxes.) My disk feels less sticky than the Sennelier bar I had used in my drawing. They may have added damar resin to it. That’s a common encaustic medium ingredient, used to make the wax harder, but it’s not required for oil pastels.

Of course, a true oil pastel would include pigment, which is very easy to add. I would recommend about twice as much pigment as medium. Melt the wax with the oil as above, add that to the pigment, mix it into a paste, and let it cool.


Drawing Update 2: Sidewalk Sleeper

May 3, 2015

Almost finished. I’m still working on his coat and upper body area.


This media combination of graphite and wax is a challenge to work with, but it pays off in the texture it creates. I learned a few things here, and have some more experimenting to do.



Drawing Final: Tanya’s Bamboo Curtain

August 23, 2012

At last I’ve managed to squeeze in enough time to finish the drawing; although, I may go back to alter the curtain some. I think it needs some brightening up, or add more highlights.

I’ve enjoyed working with this wax crayon medium on this project, and I learned quite a bit in the process about how to handle it more effectively, so I definetly want to return to it again.