What is it?
Batik is a type of wax-resist dyeing, using hot wax to create a design on fabric which is then dyed. It’s used to decorate ceremonial costumes, wall hangings, scarves and linen. Batik has a large and varied history dating back to the 4th Century BC with many cultural influences and methods.
What do I need?
You will need a piece of cotton/linen/muslin/silk, paraffin wax, wax pot, flat brushes, tjantings, cold water dye, soft pencil, bucket, rubber gloves, frame, pins, flat knife, paper towels and an iron.
How do I make it?
Cut your chosen material to your preferred size, then use the pencil to gently draw your design onto the fabric. Pin the fabric around the edges of your frame, making sure you pull it as taut as possible and heat your wax. Once the wax has melted, use your brushes and tjantings to go over your pencil lines. When your wax has dried, mix your dye and remove your fabric from the frame. Immerse your batik into the bucket of dye or paint the sections of your design with a brush dipped in the dye and then hang it up to dry. When the dye is dry use a knife to scrape off as much wax as possible, then place sheets of paper towel over the top and use an iron to melt the remaining wax which the paper towel will absorb.
Why do you like it?
I made my first batik whilst I was researching ideas for my final GCSE art exam piece. I really liked experimenting with the density of the wax, adding cracks and changing the length of time the fabric spent in the dye to give me completely different styles of the same design.
What’s your favourite batik technique? Do you prefer to work with tjantings or brushes?