The most popular resin for making spirit varnish. Imported Grade A Singapore resin. This is the most economical way to buy damar varnish. Damar can be used as:
- A final picture varnish for oil and tempera paintings.
- A medium added to oil paint for transparent glossy glazes.
- An ingredient in encaustic medium.
- An ingredient to make egg yolk emulsion that can be thinned with water.
It is best to prepare damar as a concentrated varnish to make it easier to dilute and use in different recipes. Thinning the concentrated varnish with additional turpentine makes a final picture or a retouch varnish.
To Make Damar Concentrate:
1 500 ml (1-pint) container with lid (such as a 1-pint Ball Mason jar)
String - the length of about twice the height of the container
Unbleached cotton cloth, cheesecloth or similar fabric
250 g damar crystals
250 ml (1 cup) pure gum spirits of turpentine
If necessary, break larger crystals into 1/2-inch pieces.
Wrap the damar crystals in the cloth to make a small bag and tie the ends together with the string.
Pour the turpentine into the 1-pint container.
Place the bag of damar into the container, leaving one end of the string outside the container. Wet the damar thoroughly by stirring the bag inside the container.
Close the container. If the lid will not fit because of the string, put the string into the container, on top of the bag, and close it up again.
Stir the contents of the container a couple of times a day.
After a day or two, when the damar crystals have dissolved, remove the bag and put the lid on the container. If any debris has settled to the bottom, you can decant the damar varnish into another container.
You now have a fairly concentrated damar varnish that should be a golden yellow (sometimes slightly turbid) solution.