Wagner Encaustic Collagraph White


Wagner Encaustic Collagraph White


WAGNER ENCAUSTIC COLLAGRAPH WHITE is a specially hand formulated encaustic white paint made for collagraph printing to easily release from the paper. Wagner Encaustic Collagraph White is used to build collagraph printing plates in lieu of collage materials. When inked, the texture of encaustic can be etched, scratched, carved, or embossed then inked and printed on an etching press to create monotypes on paper that are rich and full of depth. This product performs best using Akua non-toxic intaglio inks. The natural beeswax in Wagner Encaustic Collagraph White forms the perfect marriage with Akua soy and honey based intaglio inks.
Please refer to the Getting Started/Tips and Tools Guide below for information on using WECW.

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  • DIRECTIONS FOR USE: Heat on hotplate 200° maximum until molten, can take up to one hour. Apply with a hog hair or other natural hair paint brushes. It is recommended you use a pancake griddle, preferably new for melting the wax. Place can lid loosely on for faster melting.
  • SAFETY FIRST: Use a heat glove or 4" spring clamp to move the can of wax on and off of the hotplate. Use in a properly ventilated area and newer heated tools and hotplate.
  • USE THIS PRODUCT ON 1/8" thick or greater beveled Plexiglas acrylic printing plates for creating Encaustic Collagraphs. You can also use WAGNER ENCAUSTIC COLLAGRAPH WHITE on cardboard or rigid masonite, paintboard or thin veneer plywood.
  • BEST RESULTS if used to create encaustic collagraphs to be printed on WET printing paper using Akua Intaglio Inks on an etching press.  You can also use R&F Pigment Sticks. Recommended papers: Rives BFK, Fabbriano, Stonhenge, Kitakatta, Sakomoto and a variety of other Japanese papers, 180-280lb.
  • BEGIN WITH LIGHT PRESSURE - All etching presses vary.
  • BREAK THE RULES OF ENCAUSTIC! Fusing the wax is optional and not recommended with a heat gun or blow torch. Using a tacking iron to fuse has the added bonus of adding texture to the wax. Layering the wax or covering the whole plate is not necessary to allow for negative spaces, textures and shapes to print. 
  • GO THIN TO WIN! For best results, use only a thin textured layer of Wagner Encaustic Collagraph White.
  • LESS IS MORE! Like a good eye cream, a little of this product goes a long way. Wax that is scraped off and uncontaminated by ink can be recycled right back into the can.
    • Be sure to soak or wet both sides of the paper. 
    • Use a piece of 1" foam in between or in place of your blankets.
    • Ease off the press pressure, all presses varey, always start with light pressure. 
    • Scrape down some of the higher levels of your built up wax texture.
    • Do not use release agent directly on your collagraph. 
    • Do not clean the plate with Windex, Simple Green or anything other than watered down Dawn Liquid or Akua Clean Up.
  • DO NOT use oil based inks on your encaustic collagraphs. Oil based inks are stiffer and made with boiled plate oil which make the wax collagraph plate stick to the paper.
  • DO NOT fuse the wax on the Plexiglas plate using a heat gun or blow torch, this will cause the plate to warp and and plexi to off-gas. Tacking iron is recommended for light fusing.
  • DO NOT use the following Akua mediums on encaustic collagraphs: Retarder, Extender, Release Medium, Tack Thickener or Mag mix.
  • DO NOT use any cleaners on your collagraph such as Windex or Simple Green to clean your collagraph plate, this softens the wax and makes it stick to the paper. 
  • CLEAN UP FOR PLATES AND AKUA INK is easy, dissolve 1 part Dawn Liquid and 2 parts water in a squeeze bottle. When cleaning the excess ink off of your encaustic collagraph plate, use COLD water with the Dawn Liquid. A nylon soft bristle hand brush is a safe and non-damaging tool for scrubbing ink from the collagraph surface. You can also use Dawn to clean brushes, ink knives, pallettes and all other surfaces. 



Helpful Hints and Tools Needed

Etching Press

My 24" x 48" Takach press. Note the foam. 

My 24" x 48" Takach press. Note the foam. 

You will need an etching press for this process. I have a Takach 24" x 48" table top model. These are made to order by Takach Press Company in Albequeque, New Mexico. Etching presses come in many sizes. Conrad presses can be purchased at Blick Art Supply. I am partial to Takach I must admit! I often get the question of if an Akua Pin Press would work for collagraphs and they do not. If you do not have an etching press, I always suggest to students that you seek out a local atelier in your area. Often, there will be a member based printmaking facility where you can take your plates and print from them. Some are even non-toxic only which means they would have Akua Inks on hand. 



1" Foam is necessary in place of traditional press blankets to make a successful encaustic collagraph print. This is especially true if you want to get a better print with more details of intaglio lines and not just relief or "halos" around your textures to print. You can get this by the yard at most fabric stores. Mine is the size of my press bed.

Heated Tools


A small pancake griddle will be needed to melt your wax down. These can be puchased on Amazon or at most kitchen supply store. I prefer Presto's "Liddle Griddle" since I only am using one can of wax. Set the temperature to about 200 Fahrenheit. It will take about 40 minutes to become molten with the lid on loosely.

Spring Clamp


Safety First! A "spring clamp" or heat glove will be necessary for handling the hot can of wax to and from your griddle. I call these my "extended fingers". You can get these at most hardware stores.






Sealing or Tacking Iron

The "Hangar 9" sealing iron is what I typically use to iron fabric textures onto the plate for embossing and create texture. They are avialable on Amazon or at most craft supply stores. 


Tjanting tool


The tjanting tool (pronounced "janting") is most commonly used for textiles and batiking. This one is unique from most other tjanting tools. It makes wonderful delicate relief lines and marks. You can find it on an eBay . You have to keep it warm on your griddle, I have a little stand for mine. A common sense way to fill its reservoir with molten wax is to simply drip from your brush.


Wax Writer

This is an electric tool for making relielf lines with wax. You will need to also purchase a rheostat to control the temperature. You can find it on Amazon or Enkaustikos. And, again, a common sense way to fill it with molten wax is to simply drip from your brush with the nib in the reservoir.



For applying the WECW wax to the plate, I use inexpensive chip brushes from the hardware store or any hog hair brushes from the art supply.

For applying Akua Inks to the encaustic collagraph, I use stencil brushes. Any stiffer hog hair brush is going to be most efficient way to get the intaglio inking job done. I found the best quality stencil brushes for the price on eBay. Other economic options are matboard scraps. For larger plates, I use a plastic spatula.


Kemper Ceramic Tools 

Incising tool.jpeg

The Kemper LT-5 Loop Tool is handy for scraping down the wax on the plate. If the wax is too thick, it can cause the paper to stick and also prevent the ink from getting into the intaglio crevices. It can be purchased at most art or ceramic supply stores.


Kemper Awl Tools are great for incising or etching line into the wax. They're often found in the book making section of art supply stores.

The K-20 tool is my special favorite and handy for removing burrs from the sides of deep wax lines or beveling your lines to allow the ink to get into them. It's also great for scraping off wax drips or crumbs from the plate before inking.