DIY Batik

Batik is a technique of wax resist dyeing applied to the whole cloth. Applied wax resists dyes and allows to color selectively by soaking the cloth in one color and removing the wax with boiling water. It is repeated if multiple colors are desired. Batik is a traditional Indonesian method for creating designs on fabric using wax and dye. Wax prevents the dye from seeping into parts of the fabric it is placed on, creating two toned custom patterns. Designs can vary; they can be intricate from tribal inspired patterns to starry constellations.


To make batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing wax on them and the cloth is dyed thereafter. Parts that are covered in wax resist the dye and remain in their original color. It can be done on cotton, silk and other natural fabrics. Batik is unique due to the way of dyeing; wherein, wax cracks during handling, allowing color to seep through into cracks, creating new designs. This method requires mastering color mixing and over dyeing; as each layer of dye is applied over the last used color, to produce a new color. Handkerchiefs, cloth napkins etc. can be patterned with waxed imprints and the color remains the same where the wax resists the dye. Batik fabrics can be used for all kinds of hard work like quilting, sewing dresses, bags, blankets, skirts and also pants.



It is not only the colors; batik also requires several other things like:

  • Water
  • Salt
  • Old bowls
  • Batik wax
  • Batik colors
  • Cloth pins
  • Fabric to be dyed



Never use the normal wax for this technique. Batik wax contains more paraffin that makes it softer and easier to remove later. Let the wax applied on the fabric dry, before immersing the fabric into hot water. The fabric has to be taken  out of the color tub before it gets too soft. The wax is removed after the fabric is dried out by ironing it with blotting paper. Batik wax is a mix of beeswax and paraffin(60%-40% respectively), combined together. Beeswax is soft, pliable and blocks the fabric area where it is applied completely. Paraffin is more brittle and lets the dye penetrate wherever the cracks form.



Batik fabrics are cleaned in cold water with similar colors on a short water cycle. Gentle laundry detergent is to be used with standard household washing machine, or it can be washed by hand. New batik design is washed one or two additional times to remove excess dye from the fabric. Do not use ammonia or harsh bleaches.



Before you wear batik experimented products; wash it when the colors are completely dry. Washing the product will take out some colors. In case your colors become too strong, wash it a little longer. You can also dip the batik products in vinegar after the colors are dried and then wash them. Vinegar can fix the colors and prevents the product from color fasting. Wash your batik product by hand as it can still or would stain other fabrics/clothes.



Look what designs you already have at your place. You can take old bed sheets or curtains of solid colors to create your self-designed fabrics. All the techniques can be mixed and used in different color layers. First do the batik in one color, wax the dry results again in another pattern and color it again with another color. It is also possible to add batik color with brushes after the fabric is dry. To be really creative, work with embroidered fabrics.

You can also buy Batik designs fabric online at The Design Cart. Batik fabric at whole sale prices in various colors and designs is also available.


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