Compositions and application of wax paints

Compositions and application of wax paints Art

Wax paints

Beeswax-based paints are popular as ecological protective and decorative coatings. Natural compositions without chemical additives can not be attributed to the budget options for finishing, but they allow you to keep the spirit of natural materials in the home.

The main components of wax paints

Natural wax is a fat-like substance of plant or animal origin. Wax paints and compositions can be made on the basis of one or more waxes and can include both natural and petroleum products with chemical solvents.

Natural wax

It is a fat-like substance of vegetable or animal origin. Wax paints and compositions can be made on the basis of one or more waxes, and can include both natural and petroleum products with chemical solvents.

Let’s take a look at the main components of natural formulations that are present in the formulations and should be on the labels of the finished products.


Refers to animal wax, a film-forming agent in paint formulations. It is easily mixed with paraffin, so it is replaced by it in order to save money.

The wax is plastic at 40-50 °C / 104-122 °F, and at 62-70 °C / 144-158 °F it already melts.

Impregnation with melted or dissolved wax creates a water-repellent layer, but when it does not dry completely, it becomes sticky, which causes contamination of the treated surface. To avoid this, additional components are used.

Keeps its qualities when melted in dishes made of stainless steel, tinplate, food aluminum, and tin-plated iron. When melting ironware reacts with the metal and changes color: it becomes brown in iron and cast iron, and green in copper.

Carnauba wax

It is a palm (vegetable) wax with a high melting point, used as a film-forming agent.

Linseed oil

Suitable for impregnation of wood creates a thin protective layer, washed off with water; since it takes a long time to dry, it is added drying agent; very rarely used alone.

Tung oil

Exotic oil produced from tung nuts is much more effective than linseed oil and can be used purely; takes a long time to dry, so it is used in a modified form or with siccatives.

Sunflower, soya, and hemp oils – are used for the preparation of olive oil.

Natural olive oil

Binder and diluent, made from linseed, hemp, or sunflower oil by long cooking at a temperature of 160-270 ° C / 320-520 ° F with the addition of syrup (catalysts drying oil).


Oleoresin product (see below), obtained as a result of distillation with the steam of volatile hydrocarbons; solvent for film-forming substance.


Fused solid resin component, a product of oleoresin (see below); transparent and brittle in structure, soluble in turpentine, not water-resistant, but insoluble in water; added to lacquer coatings to give them transparency.


The resin of coniferous trees stands out when the tree is damaged, solidifying, and protects the tree from penetration of bark beetles and pathogenic flora. Processing of oleoresin produces turpentine and rosin.

Turpentine oil

This is an essential oil that is obtained by distillation with water or water vapor of different types of turpentine.


It is a solution of resin of oleoresin in essential oils.

Prepared waxes for wood

Since ancient times, compositions based on beeswax, turpentine, and various resins have protected wood from moisture and stoner beetles.

In the concept of this section, “wax” is a finished compound for certain types of coatings. When buying such a product, it is advisable to become well acquainted with the instructions and the constituent components, since natural substances may constitute a small percentage of the overall composition, in particular, the wax may be replaced by paraffin or ceresin (petroleum products).

  • For natural wood, there are waxes in the form of solutions or pastes that have decorative and protective properties. An example is colorless wax for natural wood floors. It is applied directly to the surface without primer with a brush or cloth tampon 2 times, then polished with a soft cloth.
  • The resulting coating does not change the natural color of the wood and is easily renewed if necessary.
  • Wax pastes of varying consistency for flooring and wooden furniture are available with and without pigment additives.
  • Beeswax stains are used for tinting and revealing the structure of natural wood. Only waxes can be applied over the stain and no other. Soft and hard waxes are intended for repair and restoration, they fill in the defects of wood.

These materials do not belong to the decorative and work solely on the restoration of the surface:

  • Soft is plastic in consistency, is used to repair defects in the wooden surface that is not subject to intensive wear and tear;
    hard is designed to repair defects in surfaces exposed to intensive wear and tear (floors, benches, etc.).
  • Hard wax should be melted before application, as recommended, with a blowtorch or by other means.

For lacquered floors, there are water-based formulations, which, after drying, form a high-gloss, wear-resistant film that does not require polishing.

However, it is the wax film that will not allow you to cover the floor with a new layer of oil varnish – it will not adhere to the surface.

Exterior and interior woodwork are designed for special liquid oil-wax compositions. Coatings do not form a pronounced film, creating a matte surface, applied to both the natural surface of the wood and coated with paint compositions.

For walls on the exterior side, compositions is recommended to apply at least twice by technology for improved coloring (with sanding after the first coat).

Wax and wrought iron objects

For the protection of wrought iron furniture and furnishings, ordinary wax is used – this is usually sufficient to protect the metal.

For outdoor use, wrought iron requires additional protection. After blackening, they are covered with a layer of wax and polished. Thus, to protect the forged items from weather conditions, a mixture of marine varnish with beeswax in a ratio of approximately 5:1 is used.

In the multilayer coating, it is suggested to prime the items with dried black oil, coat them twice with oil varnish, and after drying rub them with beeswax dissolved in petrol, and polish them.

Wax and stone

Wax paints have been known since ancient Egypt: they are paintings of temples and palaces that have survived to this day. About 2 thousand years BC in China wall paintings (encaustic) used wax compositions that were covered with varnish.

A thin layer of beeswax was applied to marble sculptures to protect them from moisture.

Natural wax could be used for walls that were not exposed to external influences – only in interiors.

As the history of the encaustic painting suggests, wax paintings that were applied to a heated surface proved the most durable.

Following ancient technology, to create a protective layer, melted wax is recommended to be applied to a heated base, which can be natural stone, brick, and plastered surfaces.

Recipes, practice, recommendations

Here are several recipes for wax compounds with different functionality. All of them can be prepared and applied yourself.

Mastic made of beeswax and turpentine

What is used for impregnation to protect against moisture, the treated surface does not shine.


  • wax – 2 parts,
  • turpentine – 3 parts.

Wax is crushed and melted in a water bath until liquid, then carefully, with constant stirring, add turpentine. After cooling, the composition becomes a paste and can be stored in a jar. But it must be melted before use.

The composition is applied to the surface and heated with a construction dryer. When heated, it is good to use a brush to fill in all the cracks. After the composition should be rubbed with a dry rag. It is weathered for about 24 hours.

Two compositions for the exterior of wooden walls

Both compositions are prepared in the same way: the wax is ground, and melted in a water bath, with constant stirring (a must) trickle turpentine or oil. It is applied to the surface after cooling. Careful: turpentine and oil are inflammable!

Turpentine composition:

  • beeswax – 50% volume,
  • turpentine 50% by volume.

Adding propolis, we get chunky wax with the properties of an antiseptic for baths. It is applied to wooden surfaces two times.

The composition of the oil:

  • wax – 700 g,
  • oil – 200 g (olive oil).

The surface has shining look.

Composition for wood and metal

Turpentine paste:

  • wax – 2 parts,
  • linseed oil – 1 part,
  • turpentine – 1 part.

Wax is pounded, melted in a water bath, removed from the fire, then carefully, with constant and careful stirring, add linseed oil and turpentine, leaving the resulting mass to cool down.

Application on wood:

  • Apply a thick layer on the cleaned surface, warm it with a construction hair dryer (without fanaticism, so as not to ignite!), and polish it with a rag.
  • Rub vigorously into the wood: the friction melts the compound and coats the surface well.

On metal: smear a thick layer, do not necessarily warm up.

The work of the composition in practice

A bench on the street. The compound is applied with a hair dryer heating. Over the summer the seat has turned gray, but the waterproof layer is preserved. The back of the bench changed colorless.

The shelves in the bath. The compound was absorbed and dried within 2-3 stoves. After three months of use: the color does not change, and water is not absorbed.

Despite the fact that the above recipes meet expectations, it should be noted the recommendations of chemists and restorers on how to prepare oil-wax compositions:

  • Oil – wax #1: wax is melted and linseed oil is added, heated to 110 – 120˚C (oil is dehydrated), and mixed thoroughly.
  • Oil – wax #2: linseed oil is heated to 120˚C, add crushed wax, and stir until the wax dissolves.
  • Wax – oil – rosin – turpentine: wax is dissolved in heated oil, and rosin is added and dissolved there, constantly stirring and pouring in heated oil.
  • Wax – resin – turpentine: melted wax is dissolved in 1/2 part of turpentine, in a separate container melt resin and dissolve it in another 1/2 part of turpentine; both compositions are mixed.

Note: in all recipes, the oil is heated!

Additional Questions

What are the compositions of wax?

Wax primarily comprises of long-chain aliphatic substances. Typically, the substances it comprises of include very long-chain fatty acids, primary and secondary alcohols, hydrocarbons, sterol esters, aliphatic aldehydes, ketones, β-diketones, triacylglycerols, triterpenes, and sterols. From a chemical standpoint, I’ve found these to be largely consistent in my work with waxes over the years.

What are the applications of wax?

The versatility of wax is one of its most impressive qualities. It exhibits properties such as polishing, water repellency, antifouling, mold release, and dispersion. Due to these properties, it is used in a range of products we encounter in our day-to-day lives such as cosmetics, candles, crayons, and vehicle waxes. Besides these, it’s quite popular in the industrial sphere as well, being used in paints, inks, adhesives, and even tyres. Throughout my career, I’ve seen it used for an incredible range of applications due to its unique properties.

What is the source and composition of wax?

The interesting thing about wax is that it’s a lipid; specifically, an ester of a fatty acid and a long-chain alcohol. The alcohol component can contain anything from 12-32 carbon atoms. You’ll often find waxes in nature, where they serve as coatings on leaves and stems. As someone with a deep familiarity with the chemical characteristics of waxes, I can attest to their essentiality in the natural world.

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