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How to Use Dorland's Wax Medium When Oil Painting

Updated February 21, 2017

Dorland's Wax Medium, made by American art supplies manufacturer Jacquard, is a special mixture of beeswax, resin and solvents that artists mix with paint to create special effects.Using Dorland's gives you effects and texture similar to that of heated wax, which poses a fire hazard. With Dorland's, all you need to do is mix it with your oil paint in the ratio you need to create the effects you want. You do not need any specialised tools or any other products to mix the wax medium with any colour of standard oil paint.

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  1. Use your palette knife to take as much Dorland's Wax Medium as you need out of the jar. You will want to use at least 10 per cent Dorland's to 90 per cent paint for the first coats and possibly as much as one part Dorland's to two parts paint for subsequent coats.

  2. Squeeze paint out of its tube to your easel tray or other mixing surface.

  3. Use your palette knife to mix the wax medium into the paint.

  4. Paint with the mixture using a brush or palette knife, depending on your painting technique and the thickness of the layers you are applying to your canvas. You can also use squeegees and other soft or hard application tools, as the mixture is very pliable and forgiving while wet.

  5. Allow the surface to dry to the point that it feels semi-dry to the touch before applying subsequent coats of paint and wax mixture as desired.

  6. Allow the painting to dry before buffing it with a soft cloth or using other finishing techniques. However, a varnish or glaze is not necessary, as the wax adds a pleasant gloss finish to the painting.

  7. Tip

    Up to 75 per cent Dorland's to 25 per cent paint can be used for thick layering techniques but care should be taken to use a board or support to prevent the canvas from cracking because of the weight of the mixture. Gesso panels and other materials can also be used with this wax medium.


    Keep Dorland's wax medium and mixtures of it and paint out of the reach of children and pets. Use and store away from sources of fire, sparks or extreme heat. It is a relatively safe product, but it does contain flammable ingredients and chemicals that are harmful if swallowed.

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Things You'll Need

  • Palette knife
  • Brush or other painting tool as desired

About the Author

John DeMerceau is an American expatriate entrepreneur, marketing analyst and Web developer. He now lives and works in southeast Asia, where he creates websites and branding/marketing reports for international clients. DeMerceau graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in history.

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