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Williamsburg Wax Medium

24 thoughts on “Williamsburg Wax Medium”

  1. Thank you Sarah for that helpful exciting explanation.
    Sounds like a great alternative to more common solvent CWM. Questions:
    You recommend this wax medium in combination with encaustic?
    And may you prescribe acceptable wax/damar/linseed oil proportions?


    • Hi Dan – While technically Williamsburg’s Wax Medium could be added to encaustic you want to be careful and not overdo it. As this diagram from R&F Encaustic shows, you can end up with an unstable film if the wax and oil ratio approached 50%. For the sake of the diagram, you can use the pigment stick to represent the wax medium:


      As we are not experts in encaustic, we would refer you to one of the encaustic paint manufacturers (R&F, Encaustikos) for additional guidance.

      In terms of an acceptable wax/damar/linseed proportions, we are not sure what context you are asking about. For making a wax medium for oil paint? As something to add to encaustics? Our own recipe is proprietary, but if look for recipes for encaustic medium as a starting point, you will find most range from 9:2 to 10:1 ratio of wax to damar. The amount of linseed oil that is added at that point places you along that oil paint/encaustic spectrum of the diagram, so a lot will depend on what you want to achieve and which medium you are working in. For oil paints, we would normally advise t keep the wax content as low as possible, with 10-15% being a good maximum.

      Hope that helps as always.

  2. What is the approximate largest ratio of the Williamsburg Wax Medium to out-of-tube oil paint that will render the combination stable enough to paint on canvas surface? At what point should we be worried about brittleness/lack of drying on such surface?

    • Hi Ryko – Our concern is less with flexibility than with increased yellowing and softness. Because our Wax Medium is made with linseed oil, it will actually form a film on its own that is quite pliable. However, if you start to add a lot of the wax medium to a paint you will find that it could noticeably yellow over time and start to be much too soft to easily paint on top of. Also, while we have done a lot of testing with single blends applied in a single layer, we have not actually done any testing to explore what the limits or issues are when trying to layer or use the medium in a more complex process. Because of that we generally hold to the advice we give in the article, which is to keep additions to the 10-20% range. Going beyond that is certainly possible, with really little limit on the percentage, but keep any of those layers towards the top of a painting. Unfortunately, however, that is also where any increased tendency to yellow will be most noticeable and increased softness could cause issues with dirt and dust sticking to the surface.

  3. Hello Sarah,
    I have recently experimented with the wax medium and loved working with it. I have applied textured layer of wax and paint in a 40/60 % range. It has been a week and it hasn’t dried even a bit. Reading the previous comments I realize that I can go that thick with it.
    Does it mean that it wont dry at all ? I appreciate any comments or suggestions from you.

    • Hello Oksana,
      Sarah is on sabbatical for the year, so I am happy to answer your question.
      As mentioned in the article, a thin layer of Wax Medium, about the thickness of a sheet of paper, can take 4-7 days to dry. That standard dry time is then modified by the paint you mix it with. If you mixed with a faster drying color, then it may be possible to dry well in a thicker/textured application. If you mixed with a slower drying color, it may be quite a while until a textured application dries. Like other mediums based on linseed oil, using Wax Medium in higher ratios of medium to paint are better used thinly. Using the Wax Medium thinly will lessen the likelihood of extended dry times and yellowing of the paint layer.
      We hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to email direct at gwatson@goldenpaints.com
      Best Regards,
      Greg Watson

    • Hello Selena,
      Unfortunately, we do not currently have a video or a link with that information. We will put it on the list and try to get something posted to our social media soon.

  4. Do you know if it’s possible to mix this with odorless mineral spirits to create a Cold Wax Medium? The recipe I use for CWM is a mix of beeswax, damar resin and OMS. I can use this with oil 50/50 without any problems.

    • Hello Sally.
      Thank you for your question.
      The WB Wax Medium isn’t the same as a cold wax product like Dorland’s. It is not meant to create impasto texture, more so to help stiffen and make the paint mixture more buttery.
      – Mike Townsend

    • Bonjour Veratti,

      Oui, le Williamsburg Wax Medium contient de l’huile, nous vous recommandons donc de garder les ajouts autour de 10-20%. Après la graisse sur maigre, essayez de réduire les ajouts dans les premières couches et les couches de peinture générales fines. Avec plus d’huile, il y a plus de flexibilité, donc si vous en utilisez plus dans les couches supérieures, cela devrait aller jusqu’à 20%, mais gardez à l’esprit qu’en raison de cette présence d’huile, des applications plus épaisses sont plus sujettes au jaunissement, donc plus mince en général est recommandé. Si vous avez d’autres questions, faites-le nous savoir à help@goldenpaints.com


  5. Hello Carole/ Greg
    My application of paint, oil paint/Williamsburg wax medium, has become soft again after a drying time of 8 days and more in the winter sun. What can be the reason?

    • Hello S Dixon,
      We have not tested that combination enough to give an answer. Our Wax Medium is primarily an oil based medium with the additions of small amount of wax to provide body and a slightly reduced sheen. You should be able to varnish with MSA Varnish or a regalrez product over cured oils with the addition of Williamsburg Wax Medium. Cold Wax is different in that it is primarily beeswax melted in solvent. Wax can resist being coated on its own or when used in higher ratios with oil paint. Theoretically, small additions of cold wax should not create any adhesion issues with varnishing, but if it is used in higher amounts to create an encaustic type look, then the varnish might bead up on the surface or not have excellent adhesion. Also, Golden MSA Varnish has a stronger solvent and may slightly melt a surface that has high levels of cold wax. We recommend testing on a sacrificial surface before trying this combination on your final artwork.
      We hope this helps!

  6. The commenter above asked a similar question to mine, but I want a definitive answer.

    Can I varnish a painting that I used Williamsburg wax medium in the recommended proportions. And, what varnish would you advise if I used Williamsburg wax medium and Williamsburg oil paints?

    Thank you

    • Hi Wald,
      Yes, you can varnish your oil painting that has Wax Medium as part of the layering. We recommend allowing about 6 months for the painting to cure before varnish when using GOLDEN MSA Varnish. MSA is a removable, full-strength mineral spirit varnish with excellent UV protection. It requires dilution with MSA Solvent before use – about 3 parts varnish to 1 part solvent for brush application. Gamblin makes a low odor varnish product called Gamvar. They indicate it can be applied once the painting is through dry. see their website for details. Gamvar is very thin and requires a different application technique than MSA Varnish. Each varnish provides a different look, so it may be necessary to test your options on a sacrificial surface before applying onto your final artwork. You can learn more about our varnish products and recommended application techniques here: https://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo/technicalinfo_varnishresources

      We hope this is helpful. If you have additional questions please contact us at help@goldenpaints.com or call 800-959-6543
      Take care,

  7. I’ve been been using Gamblin Cold Wax to seal my watercolor paintings on paper. I don’t use glass covering. Gamblin outlines how this can be done. It works well, but the solvent gives me headaches and lingers in my studio too long as it slowly dries. – – Is there any chance your Wax Medium would work to seal watercolor paintings? Do you think it might be worth a try? Thanks! – Mike

    • Hello Mike, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, we would not recommend this use. Williamsburg Wax Medium contains Linseed Oil, which can damage natural fibers (like cotton) over time if there is direct contact. Dorland’s Wax does not seem to contain oil or solvent, so might be worth investigating. We hope you find a product that will work for you! Warm Regards, Cathy


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