Traditional Gesso Recipe used for Encaustic

Traditional Gesso is used to prime boards prior to starting your Encaustic artwork piece. Commercial Encaustic Gesso is now available at art supply stores, but I find that making my own fulfills my need to help sustain mother earth.

It is important to understand that the acrylic gesso you find in art supply shops and on-line is not suitable for Encaustics.  This is because acrylic and encaustics are not compatible.  Using the acrylic gesso will lead to a poor outcome for your Encaustics piece so please ensure you use the right gesso or make your own Traditional Gesso

If you like to start with a white background for your encaustic artworks apply gesso, however it is not always necessary.

So here’s the recipe for making your own;

Traditional Gesso Recipe 

Rabbit Skin Glue

Whiting (Calcium Carbonate)

First make Rabbit Skin Glue (see recipe on blog)

The ratio for this is three parts glue to two parts whiting.

In a heatproof container add three parts warm rabbit skin glue and then two parts whiting, stir gentle as to not cause any bubbles to form, stir thoroughly.

Place heatproof container into a saucepan with water in saucepan half way up outside of container.

Gently heat until mixture thickens slightly, approx five to ten minutes.

Application of gesso to wooden boards

Using a durable brush eg, hog hair, apply gesso thinly to board, brushing in one direction until surface is covered.

Alternative layers should be applied in a different direction and make sure each layer is dry before applying the next

Approximately three to four layers are required to create a strong white background surface for your encaustic  artwork.

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