A support is a structure on which the group or the paint layer of a painting is laid. Encaustic paint is best used on a rigid surface that is absorbent and heat resistant. Wood supports make great, stable panels. Stretched canvas is not recommended. Over time, encaustic tends to crack as the canvas flexes with changes of temperature and humidity. Also, the weight of the wax, if applied thickly, may cause the canvas to sink in the center.
As the use of encaustic has expanded into the realm of mixed media over the last 60 years, it is being applied to a greater range of surfaces, including glass, plexiglass, metals, papers, fabrics, commercial panels, ceramic, stone, other paint mediums, etc.
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2-Dimensional Examples: lauan; untempered masonite; plywood; any rigid, absorbent, and heat resistant material
3-Dimensional Examples: unglazed ceramics; plaster; wood; sculpture; paper pulp; any rigid, absorbent, and heat resistant material
R&F recommends Ampersand Encausticbord panels as the preferred support for encaustic painting. Encausticbord is a collaboration between R&F and Ampersand Art Supply. It features a specially formulated gesso that forms a bright, smooth, velvety surface that is ready to use for encaustic painting. The ground is not only heat resistant and highly absorbent, it holds tight to layers of wax without the fear of cracking or separation.