The Process


My Process of transferring ink onto beeswax.

Below I have broken down the steps on transferring ink from magazines onto beeswax. I also have several videos on YouTube if you prefer a more visual explanation.

Step One

I start by finding an image that I want to create. That usually comes from photos I’ve taken on one of my adventures, or just from my everyday life. Once I decide on the image I compose it and then print it on engineering paper, in gray scale at the actual size I want the work to be. This becomes my template. On occasion I will draw the composition and use the drawing as a template.

Step Two

I then apply a layer of pure beeswax to a birch panel. I get my beeswax directly from local beekeepers. This is what will hold the ink in place and create a nice patina to the colors I transfer. To apply the beeswax, I melt it in a CrockPot and brush it on the panel with a 3” natural bristle brush. 

Step Three

Once the panel is prepared, I lay the printed photo on top of the beeswax. I’ll then take my craft knife and cut into the paper, cutting each shape of the different areas. Once I cut an area I pull of the piece of paper and find the color I want from magazines, and then cut that shape from the magazine (upside down). Then I replace the template piece with the magazine piece. The color I want to transfer is now facing down on the beeswax. I repeat this until the whole template has been replaced with magazine paper.

Step Four

After all the magazine paper is in place I burnish it into the beeswax with a wooded block and make sure all the pieces are set into place. 

Step Five

Now I take some 220 grit sandpaper and rough up the back side of the magazine paper. I’m not trying to sand too hard, but hard enough so the gloss goes away. Once the gloss is gone the paper will easily absorb water.

Step Six

Now the fun part. I spray the panel with water and let it soak into the sanded paper. Once its good and wet I slowly start rubbing the paper off the panel, but leaving the ink from the pages on the beeswax. It takes a few times of rubbing away the paper and pulp to get the colors to really show.

Step Seven

With the paper removed, I carefully buff the surface with a wet cotton cloth and then take my heat gun and heat the surface enough to set the ink into the beeswax. 

Step Eight

On some areas of a painting I will take tools and remove ink and beeswax to give the subject highlights or to give shape to certain areas. After doing this I will heat the surface one more time.

Step Nine

To finish, I spray a couple of coats of Krylon’s Kamar Varnish over the surface, or brush a coating of Wax sealer (an acrylic medium). This evens the sheen of the ink transfer and takes away the tackiness of the beeswax. Oh, and then I put the info on the back and adda wire for hanging.

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