How To Batik

Cloth dyeing technique

Batik is an art that combines dyes and hot wax to create beautiful fabrics. Steps to create this type of art are as follows:

  1. Decide on design, fabric and dyes needed.
  2. Assemble all necessary supplies:
    • Batik wax
    • Brushes
    • Bucket
    • Cold water
    • Fabric that is prepared for dyeing; do not use permanent press fabric
    • Hoop or cookie sheet
    • Electric skillet
    • Procion MX Fiber-Reactive Dyes in desired colors
    • Rubber gloves
    • Tjanting tool
    • Pencil
    • Tub for dyeing
    • Synthrapol
    • Large cook pot
  3. Prewash and dry the fabric to be used.
  4. Iron the fabric.
  5. Stretch the fabric over the hoop or cookie sheet and pull taut.
  6. Draw the desired design on the fabric using a pencil.
  7. Melt wax in the electric skillet.
  8. Keep wax hot.
  9. Apply the wax, using the Tjanting tool or brushes, on the portion of the design that is to remain the original color of the fabric.
  10. Allow the wax to cool completely.
  11. Prepare the lightest color of dye in the vat.
  12. Remove fabric from hoop or cookie sheet. If veins throughout the design are desired, crinkle the wax.
  13. Place the fabric in the dye.
  14. Carefully stir the fabric in the dye.
  15. Rinse the dyed fabric in cold water until water runs clear.
  16. Allow the dyed fabric to air dry.
  17. Repeat the procedure for each color in the design, waxing the areas that are to stay the most recently dyed color until the design is finished.

To remove the wax:

  • Use a large cooking pot, large enough for fabric and enough water to cover the fabric.
  • Cover the fabric with water.
  • Add a dash of Synthrapol.
  • Bring pot to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Add fabric.
  • Stir fabric carefully.
  • Watch for wax to float to the top of the pot.
  • Remove pot from heat and allow to cool.
  • Remove hardened wax from water, being careful not to disturb the fabric underneath.
  • Remove the fabric.
  • Wash fabric in cold water and allow to air dry.

Another technique for removing the wax is the hot tap water method.

  • Place the fabric on a line.
  • Place a collection tub under the fabric to catch the wax.
  • Connect a hose to the hot water spigot.
  • Run hot water over the fabric.
  • Allow wax to drain off the fabric.
  • Wax can be reused as long as there are no water pockets in it.

To prepare to reuse:

  • Air dry wax.
  • Cut wax into useable pieces.


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