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Rosin in Art

Pine rosin is an important ingredient in many art techniques such as investment casting and intaglio plate making.

Investment Casting

Investment casting is an important metal forming technique used by artists. In this method the original art piece such as a sculpture is made out of wax. It is easy to form wax and carve intricate design elements on it by hand tools. When the art piece is ready, it is covered with a slurry of plaster that dries in a few days. The block of plaster is then placed in an oven so that the wax can melt and exit. This will result a hollow space inside the block of plaster with all details of the original artwork. This is called a mold. Molten metal is then pored into the mold from the same hole that molten wax exited. When the metal cools down and solidifies, the plaster is broken and the art work that is now in metal instead of wax is removed. Some final finishing and polishing is usually required to complete the piece. Many jewelry items as well as silver or bronze sculptures are made with this method. Rosin is an important ingredient of the wax used in investment casting. A typical wax formula may include only beeswax and rosin. Additional materials such as paraffin wax and stearic acid or zinc stearate may be added to reduce the stickiness of the wax surface. Beeswax alone is too soft and may be damaged/ deformed when covered by plaster slurry. Rosin provides strength to the wax.


Intaglio is a group of techniques to incise a design into a surface such as a metal plate. This metal plate is later used to print the design. Some of the techniques used include etching, engraving, drypoint and aquatint (mezzotint). All these techniques are used to form groves into the plate surface. These groves will later hold ink that is used in intaglio printing.

Etching process starts by applying an acid resistant coating to the surface of metal. This coating that is known as Hard Ground is usually made of asphaltum or tar, pine rosin and beeswax (or paraffin wax). Artists use different pointed tools to scratch the hard ground that will remove or erase the hard ground without scratching the metal. The plate is then placed in acid bath to be etched where hard ground is removed.

Aquatint is another intaglio technique utilizing pine rosin. Aquatint uses powdered rosin to create a tonal effect. The rosin is acid resistant and typically adhered to the plate by controlled heating. Later when the plate is submerged in acid, only the areas that are not covered by rosin will be etched.

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Mohammad Hamzeh

Rosin for Intaglio (Hard Ground and Aquatint)

Honduran rosin with product code HROSIN is the best choice for making hard ground. This rosin usually comes in chunks or crushed. Honduran pine rosin can easily mix with tar, beeswax, paraffin wax and other additives of hard ground as needed.

Brazilian Rosin with product code BROSIN is the best choice for making rosin powder and using it for aquatint. Do not use ready made rosin powder for aquatint if possible. Commercially available rosin powders are not pure. They contain other powders to prevent or slow down formation of clumps. It is best if you grind and sift your own rosin as needed. You can store your rosin powder in sealed glass jars in a cold place such as refrigerator.

Where to buy gum rosin or pine rosin?

Where to buy Rosin?

Our rosin products are available for sale at For large orders please call in advance and verify the availability, wholesale discounts and shipping options. If you cannot find any product in the online store of your choice, please use the search option of the store or call (973)405-6248 for further assistance.

  All orders will be shipped from our warehouses in United States (USA). We ship worldwide to most countries including U.S., Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, France, Netherlands, and many other countries.

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