Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I have mentioned this before, but I love doing wax collages. They are kind of therapeutic, the smell of the beeswax, the warmth of it, the ability to fix your mistakes... that's right a sort of absolution art form! I taught this as a class this winter and everyone had fun doing it and wanted to do more (at least that's what they said to my face!) All you need is a canvas, tissue paper, I like to use vintage pattern paper but if you want color any tissue paper will work., a photo or copy of an image, beeswax... the ones I'm showing you are done using natural or unbleached wax but if you want a different look or more colors you would use white beeswax, and a quilting iron. Plus all of your collage items.
I use an old small crockpot I got from the goodwill (think appetizer/dip size) and melt the wax, then with a decent sized brush I cover the entire canvas with the wax. Lay the pattern paper on top of the canvas and using a craft/quilting iron simply iron the paper to the canvas, you will be able to tell that the paper is adhearing to the canvas. Make sure to iron the tissue paper to the sides and around the back of the canvas too just in case you don't want to frame it.
Start layering your collage out. I add more wax wherever I am going to "glue" my collage items and then once the item is placed on the warm wax you iron over it. When using an original photo I put a plain piece of paper on top of the photo so that the iron won't melt it. Everything you see here was "glued" down using wax but when I taught the class some of our items would not stick so we cheated and used hot glue to make sure that nothing fell off when they got their projects home. I know, I know, "cheater cheater pumpkin eater..." I don't know if it was the new wax I purchased or the objects used but some of the items just wouldn't stick. Which puzzled me because nothing was heavier than this skeleton key and that is held down with only wax. The ruffle of pattern paper was made by just adding wax to the piece a little at a time and scrunching the paper by pushing it into the wax with the handle of a paint brush.

I used the original photo for this piece and love how it turned out. I wanted some drips for a textured look and then the phrase that I used I just typed on Word and then printed off.

The photo already had the age marks on it but I liked them so I used it, because well look at those faces, there are so many stories there!

So there you have it... there are waaaaayyyy better tutorials out there on wax collage, when I wanted to try it, it was because I saw it in an altered art book and I love the vintage look of it. If you want to try it and have questions I will try my best to answer them, I am by no means an expert but I promise it's really pretty easy when you get started.

This last photo is of another one that I did and I added a little color to it by melting a crayon with the iron and holding it over the spot I wanted the color to go, then I melted it more by ironing on top of it. I have a more colorful piece for sale in my etsy store where you can get a better idea of using tissue paper and more colors.

I'm linking this up the Tutorial Tuesday at Hope Studios and hope to have time to see all of the other participants ideas tonight.
If you missed my last post, I hope you'll stop by and enter my giveaway!
Thanks for stopping by, Theresa xoxo


  1. That is so pretty Theresa! Oh how I wish that I had taken the class you taught. I bet everyone had a blast! I may have to try this cause it is too cute to not. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  2. Found you through tutorial tuesday and so glad I did. Love your blog and just became a follower.
    Please visit my blog and if you feel so inclinded, follow me as I share my ideas.

  3. I LOVE THIS, okay if you are listing some on etsy you have to let me know. I will totally be interested in getting one. I would love to follow the tutorial but I just don't have the time and I am sure they wouldn't look as great as yours.
    I love the pattern tissue what a great touch!!!

  4. I have always wanted to try this and you posted a great tutorial. I just saw a small crock pot at the thrift store last week and thought it would be the perfect pot for wax (I didn't buy it and I'll probably regret it).
    Your collages are fabulous!!
    Now I'm off to go sign up for your giveaway.

  5. Oh wow, do I love this! It's so beautiful and patina'd perfectly - I really should try something like this. Thanks for showing us how :)

  6. Oh, I sooooo want to learn how to do this! I'm going to try and follow your tutorial, but I usually need one-on-one in order to fully grasp techniques. How much would you charge to come to Texas and help a sista out? ;-)

    Have a wonderful Wednesday!

  7. Loved the photo ~ I Love using Beeswax too, I really Love the smell, always said, if I was ever Rich, I would ONLY Buy Beeswax Candles (It Hasn't Happened-Yet) I have had trouble with items that were shiny, slippery or varnished to Not Stick ~ Love the Glue Gun Idea for added Help....
    Thanks for Sharing

  8. Wonderful tut...I have always wondered how this was done...so neat!

  9. oh, this is wonderful! thank you so much for the tutorial:)


  10. I'm so excited to see this post Theresa as I have always wanted to try a beeswax collage...thank you!!

  11. That is SO COOL! What an interesting way to play - and playing is good, and therapeutic. :)

  12. Okay, this is seriously cool! I love it!

  13. Oh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the vintage image in your heading! Is that your family? I collect vintage images and this one is really special! I have read several tutorials on how to do this beeswax project, but your simplistic instructions have encouraged me to give it a try! Thanks!


  14. You are super creative, loved that you used the old patterns. Have a great Friday, T


Thank you so much for visiting me here at The Old White House, your comments make my day! ~ Theresa xoxo