I applied Michael Harding Beeswax to a completed painting. I put my brush directly into the jar and brushed it on. It’s been over a month and it is still sticky, or tacky. The wax did not come with directions, so I thought that was how it was done.
Will it ever dry? Or should I somehow try to remove it?

1 Answer 1


The only beeswax product by Michael Harding I was able to find is Beeswax paste, which has a "high oil content" as it is mixed with linseed stand oil, explaining the long drying time.
This product is used to mix oil paints with, to increase the volume of the paint (e.g. for impasto's) and give it a matte sheen (similar to encaustic).

For varnishes, you'd need pure (bleached) beeswax, and mix it with about 3 parts turpentine after heating it. You can use a little (damar) resin to strengthen the mix (for more information and insights on the process, see here).
And, as a reminder, be sure to clean and let your painting dry sufficiently before applying varnish, as otherwise you'll risk sealing in foreign matter, long drying times, unequal curing, and the painting gathering more dust.

As for your current situation: assuming the underlying painting has sufficiently dried, and is relatively flat (little to no impastos), you can gently wipe off the beeswax paste with a piece of cloth (preferably microfiber, as it generally leaves no lint). You could even use a little solvent to more easily get rid of the oily traces. Do not go about this for too long, as you might damage the underlying paint.
Regarding the drying: as I hinted at already, the currently applied beeswax mixture will eventually dry, but the drying time is almost equal to that of pure linseed oil - it can take up to months for it to get touch dry (depending on temperature and humidity, mostly). If you want to take this route, be sure to store your painting in a dust-free environment.

  • 1
    A lot of great info here on why and what to do next time. Any advice on what to do with the current painting?
    – fixer1234
    May 30, 2020 at 18:58
  • @fixer1234 Yes, added. Thanks for the heads-up!
    – Joachim
    May 30, 2020 at 20:30

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