How to Batik Cloth


Make a plain shirt or skirt fancy with this easy - but messy - technique.

Things You'll Need

  • Batik Dyes Or Inks
  • Hobby Paintbrushes
  • Clothespins
  • Fabrics - Preferably Cotton
  • Irons
  • Old Towels
  • Coffee Cans
  • Skim Milk
  • Latex Gloves
  • Electric Skillets
  • Old Newspapers
  • Paper Towels
  • Paper towels
  • water-based pens, colored pencils or colored crayons
  • 1 lb. clear paraffin waxes
  • Wash and dry fabrics to remove sizing before batiking.

  • Start with easy fabrics ' cottons are very good; silks are difficult. Old, white bed sheets cut into 18-by-18-inch squares are excellent for learning and practicing.

  • Draw your designs on the fabric with colored crayons, colored pencils or water-based markers.

  • Make a double boiler using an electric skillet filled with water and a coffee can.

  • Put a pound of clear paraffin wax in the coffee can and melt it.

  • Paint over the design with wax. Make sure the wax penetrates the fabric completely ' you should see it on the back of the cloth.

  • Remember that everywhere the wax goes, there will be no dye.

  • Let the wax cool. You can put the fabric in the refrigerator or freezer to hurry things up.

  • Crumple the fabric to create cracks in the wax after the wax has cooled completely.

  • Put on a pair of latex gloves.

  • Prepare dyes or inks as suggested by the manufacturer. Use cool dyes so they won't melt the wax onto the fabric.

  • Dye the material the first color. Immerse it for about 20 seconds.

  • Rinse it in cool water to remove excess dye. If the color isn't dark enough, dye it again.

  • Allow it to dry by hanging it with clothespins over a stainless steel sink or an old, folded towel.

  • Use hot wax, and paint the areas that you want to remain the same color as the first dye.

  • Let the wax cool.

  • Crumple the fabric again to make cracks in the wax.

  • Dye the material the second color.

  • Remove the wax, either by scraping it off or by ironing it between a few paper towels. Put newspaper under the paper towels to absorb the wax and moisture. This can be done while the fabric is still wet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dye in a well-ventilated area.
  • Batiking is best done near a sink. Cover the counters with cardboard to protect them from stains.
  • Wear old clothes when batiking.
  • Brush skim milk on the fabric before dyeing; it helps the fabric accept colors more readily.

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