How to batik

How to batik You can batik silk, cotton, and rayon with the same easy fiber reactive dye and soda ash recipe that is so popular in other forms of hand dyeing. The advantage of this type of dye is that with it, unlike all purpose dye, you can use cool water (that won’t melt wax!), while unlike naphthol dye, fiber reactive dye is reasonably non-toxic, and unlike vat dye, the method is very simple and easy.

For pictures of successful batik – essential in helping you decide what you want to create – see my Gallery and some of the sites on my Links to Other Galleries page.

Getting Started

This is just as in the How to Tie Dye page: study the How to Dye basic recipe first. Make sure you have all the chemicals and supplies you need for dyeing: Procion MX dyes, urea, sodium carbonate (soda ash), thin rubber or plastic gloves, measuring cups and spoons, squirt bottles to put the dye solution into for application, dust mask for measuring out dyes, and a bucket for pre-soaking the fabric in sodium carbonate solution. Be sure to pre-wash all clothing to remove invisible finishes that can prevent the dye from getting to the fabric. (In place of the Procion MX dye, you can substitute any type of fiber reactive dye that can use temperatures below the softening point of wax, such as Cibacron F/Sabracron F or Drimarene K dye; Dylon Cold Water Dye is an example of the latter, but avoid Dylon Multi Purpose dye, which is a hot water dye.)

Additional Supplies for Batik

You’ll need to buy both beeswax and paraffin to mix together; some cheap paintbrushes for covering large sections (don’t waste good ones on this); a tjanting, or several, with which to apply the wax; and some way to keep the wax at a constant temperature. I failed at batik until I acquired an electric skillet for the sole purpose of melting the wax. I’d been using wax that was melted, in a double boiler, but not hot enough to penetrate the fabric. Batik instantly changed from impossibly difficult to easily manageable the day I bought an electric skillet.

You can substitute synthetic “sticky wax” or “microcrystalline wax” for beeswax, if you prefer. It is best to use a mixture of beeswax (or its substitutes) and paraffin, because parafin alone crackles too much, while beeswax alone doesn’t crackle at all. (If you don’t like the crackle effect, use pure beeswax, or its substitutes, without paraffin.)

Each of your tools needs a ridge on it to prevent it from sliding down into the scalding hot melted wax. If they do not already have a ridge of some sort, you can make one by wrapping many layers of tape at just one place on the handle of the tool.

Tjantings for drawing with melted wax are available from Dick Blick, PRO Chemical & Dye, Dharma Trading, and other dye suppliers. (See the Sources for Dyeing Supplies page for contact information.)


I usually stretch the garment over a cookie sheet or other baking implement, depending on the size of the garment; this prevents the wax from getting through to the other side of the garment, and makes it easier to control the fabric, as well. I have used a wooden stretcher bar frame, such as is used for mounting canvases for paintings, attaching a silk garment by means of wire clips strung on rubber bands that wrapped around the frame–it’s certainly a lot more trouble that way, but the tension is sometimes useful for painting woven silks. I like to use a pencil to mark out my design on the cloth beforehand.

Apply dye when the wax is cool. (If you’re in a hurry, refrigerate.) You can wait for days or even weeks after waxing to proceed to dyeing, if you prefer. Crumple the fabric if you want a lot of veining, then pre-soak in sodium carbonate and apply dye as described in How to Dye. Use only cool water dye such as the Procion MX dye I recommend, not any sort of hot water dye, and be sure that your soda ash and your dye mixtures are at room temperature, not hot, since even a little melting may ruin your design. Wash the excess dye out, after the full “batching” time of 2 to 24 hours has passed, using cold water only. You don’t need melted wax in your washer. Obviously, you must not let anything waxy get into your hot air dryer.

Repeat? For traditonal, multiple-step batik, air-dry, and repeat the waxing and dyeing steps as desired, starting with the lightest colors and progressing toward the darker ones, first spending some time to plot the appropriate order for the colors and how each color will mix with the previous ones. For modern “faux” batik, a single round, involving direct application of different fiber reactive dye colors where they are wanted, is sufficient.

Now I will teach you roughly how to make batik and what are the process of making batik.

· Fabric (materials) that made from silk, cotton and rayon/ fuji (polyester blend)

· Candles and Rozin

· A pencil (not a normal pencil)

Canting is made from brass and wooden handles and at the front end has a channel for the melted wax come out of fabric shape. Canting is use to scoop the hot liquid wax and act as a protection against readapt colour or cover or border separating the colours co that the other colours will not mix each other.

Pencil is use to sketch and make the design of the batik before canting or the other word we call it as tracing. Artist will produce design based on what did they have sketch on the fabric. For artists who are skilled, they can continue their drawing of the pattern on the fabric without wax based on pencil sketch. However, in order to use the same pattern to produce batik painting for every piece, the fabric must draw previously drawn with a pencil sketch.

Step-step of producing batik are as follows:

1. Make rekacorak batik on the white fabric or cloth with a pencil. The design can be choosen based on traditional motifs or ethnic, flora fauna, geometrical, organic, ines and spaces, semi abstract and others designs. To determine the motive, usually every person have various tastes and each person has different tastes so it is too difficult to satisfy all the taste. So, some of us prefer to make their own motives but sometimes others prefer to follow the common motifs that have been there.

2. Melt the wax and resin until the wax and resin turn to liquid and put in the bowl with ratio 50%-50% with heater. Filled the mixture of wax and resin in the canting for shaping the fabric. At the same time the warmth of the wax needs to be controlled so the wax not be too hot to avoid lines and not be too cold so that when producing the lines the lines will be consistent. Painters must pour the liquid wax into the container before the wax turn to the lower temperature. There are simply to ensure that the liquid wax can be used with the current. By using the canting draw the wax on the white fabric that has been tracing using the pencil. The process must be fast because once the wax is cool it is cannot to be applied and cannot to be corrected if there is something wrong.

3. By using the brush, the artist starts to colour the area that has been covered with the wax with the needed colours. While colouring the area, the white water also needed because white water is use to shading the effect. When the colour is dry completely, put some layer of sodium silicate on the fabric to fix the colour and leave it about 4 hours. Sodium silicate also is use as material. When this process is done, ensure that the colour will not fade when it is washed after finish colouring.

4. In the water, put some soda and boiled the fabric for a few minutes. The function is to remove the wax on the fabric so that the motif has previously drawn clearly visible. The function that soda powder put in the hot water is easily to remove the wax from the fabric. Next repeat the same step by wash the fabric and rinsed again. Then hang the fabric and wait until the fabric totally dry. When the fabric is dried, the most beautiful batik in shade, for colour and quality can be guaranteed resistance. Lastly, iron the fabric on the iron board then after finished ironing the fabric is ready to hand in the boutique and to be sold.

Home for award winning innovative education supplies

How to batik

…in 5 easy steps!

Sometimes unfamiliar tools and techniques can seem daunting to teach primary school children. We aim to dispel these fears by giving you simple step by step instructions to inspire and get you creating simple Batik!

How to batikSTEP 1

Stretch your silk or fabric – either with pins and a frame or using masking tape to stick the silk/fabric down onto newsprint or a similar shiny paper – this is the method shown here. Draw out your design onto the silk or fabric using a pencil. If pupils create a design in advance photocopy it and place it under the silk to trace from. In this case the image was left under the silk.

How to batikSTEP 2

Outline your design in wax – wearing goggles dip the tjanting tool into the wax pot and transfer to your design and outline your image using the wax. (if you want the outline not to be white then paint or dye the silk before you start).

Tip: To stop the tjanting dripping use a piece of folded paper towel under the end until you need to make the lines.

How to batik STEP 3

Practice using the small brushes (nylon is best) on paper before you start or on your paper batik. The wax will act as a resist and hold back the paint that will spread on the silk/fabric. Start by creating thin washes of colour and build it up like watercolour.

How to batikSTEP 4

Add the batik dye – you only need the primary colours as you can mix up any colour you require. In a palette add a very small amount of each colour.


Leave to dry and then iron between layers of newspaper or newsprint to remove the wax from the fabric or silk.

Have you seen our Pinterest batik board? It’s full of lovely ideas and inspiration for you to try.

Thanks to Michelle Kitto – Teacher & Primary Art Consultant for this ‘How to’ activity.

It feels like there is still some wax within the fabric (it is stiff/rough in spots) so I am afraid to iron out the creases, lest I mess with the design itself.

I’d prefer to hang it (though I’m open) as I suspect it is too large to frame (approx 5′ wide by 4′ long). It is a light canvas so if I hung it I would probably need some sort of weight at the bottom. Or perhaps have it stretched onto a frame, and then have the canvas framed?

Thoughts, recommendations on how to proceed? I’ve never framed anything but posters before.

I’ve got some batiks. One smaller one was framed, one has a loop sewn in it at top and bottom with dowels, and two large one’s (4’x4′, 4’x5′) that had backing cloth sewn on and then framed. If memory serves, the oldest two are 30 years old, the other two maybe 20. The framing was all done when I got them.

That being said, it’s odd that there’s wax still on it. By the last step typically all the wax has been boiled off to expose the crackle. Is the wax still in a pattern?
posted by Runes at 6:12 PM on October 7, 2014

Best answer: You’re correct that ironing it would change the fabric, but it shouldn’t affect the design. Ironing would melt the wax (if you do this, you should encase your piece in some ok-to-ruin plain fabric like muslin along with some unprinted newspaper-type paper to absorb the wax and hopefully not ruin your iron) but the actual design made by dye or paint should remain and be fine. However, it’s hard to know for sure how heat might affect the rest of the piece without more information about how it was made and what materials were used.

I’d suggest asking Dharma Trading Co for some advice about the creases. They are the premiere supplier of batik supplies in the USA and would definitely know if there’s some non-heating way to get the creases out. (I’m assuming the creases are a problem for you — if not, ignore everything above!)

Once you’ve resolved the creasing issue, I agree checking with quilting places for ideas would be a great thing to do, and all the other suggestions above are good, too. Here’s a PDF about an option using aluminum bars from Jane Dunnewold, a textile artist.

Also, for future purchases or for storing this one if you decide not to display it for now, the best way to store/transport fine textiles is to roll them neatly around a heavy-ish cardboard tube (like a mailer tube, or else ask fabric stores to give you leftover bolts from upholstery fabric and then cut them down to size with a saw). Wrap them up with a plain cotton cloth (like a sheet) and add another sheet for extra protection, then secure the wrap using ties made of strips of cloth! That’s what I do for all my handwovens.
posted by hansbrough at 6:21 PM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

How to batik

1 Prepare the fabric.

Cut canvas or cotton fabric into the desired size. You can go with a small piece and later make it into a framed artwork or you can work on a larger fabric sheet that you can subsequently make into bandanas, bags, banners, flags, pillowcases, table cloths, and other projects.

How to batik

You can also do glue batik directly onto plain and light-colored shirts, canvas bags, aprons, pillow cases, summer dresses, etc.

How to batik

2 Sketch a design.

If you are planning to do a detailed picture or design, it helps to lightly sketch your design on the fabric.

How to batik

3 Make a batik design with glue.

Place plastic wrap or a plastic placemat under your fabric in case the glue seeps through. Squeeze white glue or blue gel glue to make lines and designs on your fabric. You can make simple designs like flowers or geometric shapes, or do a complete picture. Young kids will surely enjoy squeezing random lines and shapes.

If you made a sketch, you simply have to apply glue along the lines of your drawing.

How to batik

4 Let the glue dry.

Once you are satisfied with your design, allow the glue to dry. This will take around 6 hours or more, depending on the weight of your fabric and the thickness of the glue lines. When completely dry, the glue lines will turn transparent.

How to batik

5 Prepare the paint.

Prepare two or more colors of fabric paint or acrylic paint on your palette. Watering down the paint can create a nice watercolor-like wash. However, be careful with adding too much water because your batik might look too washed-out.

On the other hand, too little water can make acrylic paint chip off from the fabric when dry. The best way to get the right balance is to find the best mix on a spare swatch of fabric.

How to batik

6 Paint the fabric.

Classic batik usually makes use of 1 or 2 colors but you can always make it as colorful as you like. Paint one solid color on your entire picture or use several colors to make random splotches or paint an ordered pattern like stripes or swirls.

How to batik

You can also use the glue lines as the borders for the colors—just like painting any picture.

How to batik

In this project, you will learn how to imitate on paper the fabric decorating technique from Java called batik. The process uses crayons (broken ones are fine) to draw and color a design on white paper, that is then wadded and painted with black to make the cracks that are typical to batiks. You can use the resulting pictures to make cards, decorate notebook covers, or hang on the wall.

What is batik? Batik is the process of dyeing fabric after liquid wax has been applied. The wax resists the dye, so the part of the fabric covered with wax is not dyed. This process is usually repeated with more wax and different colors of dye. During the dyeing process some of the wax becomes cracked. Dye seeps into the cracks giving batik its characteristic look. Crayon batik imitates this cracked look.

This project is great for family, classroom or group craft time. With a little preparation by the adults or teen leaders, this project is fast and fun.

Related crafts: Checkout other Decorative Crafts crafts and Surface Design Techniques. For another craft from Java, make shadow puppets as described in the Stick Puppets craft project.

Here’s what you need:
  • White computer paper or construction paper
  • Crayons
  • Black poster paint or acrylic paint
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Compass, or small plate to trace around
  • Kitchen sponge (new)
  • Plastic lid or plate
  • Paper towels and newspapers
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Optional: Foam brush, black construction or craft paper, colored paper for matting

This project is rated EASY to do.

Share this craft with friends and family

Before you start
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

How to Make a Crayon Batik

Read all of the steps before starting.

Gather the materials needed for making crayon batiks. Cut the white paper into 4″ to 6″ squares. Lay out the newspapers to cover your work area. Prepare a place to iron the batiks. Each child will need a square of paper and crayons. For younger children, draw the circles on the paper in advance or print papers from your computer with pre-drawn circles.

Cut the sponge into suitable size pieces. You might cut a standard kitchen sponge in half and cut one of those pieces in half again. Use the smaller pieces for applying paint and the larger piece for wiping excess paint away. Tip: The sponge will be easier to cut if it is damp.

Step 2: Draw Design

On the paper square, use the pencil to draw a circle that nearly fills the paper. Use a compass to draw the circle or trace around a plate or lid. Use the pencil and ruler to divide the circle into smaller spaces. Do this any way you like, but keep the spaces no smaller than about 1″ to ½” square. Make your drawing abstract or draw a picture.

Tip: Images printed from your computer can also be turned into crayon batiks. Draw an image on your computer using simple shapes and lines or simple clip-art. Be sure the picture is just lines, like a coloring book picture. The printable designs in the Stained Glass Christmas Decorations craft project work well.

Step 3: Color with Crayons

Color the picture with crayons, using colors that go together. Make each color solid with no paper showing through. When all the colors are completely solid, go over the pencil lines with a thick line of black crayon.

Step 4: Apply Paint Enlarge

Wad the paper into a tight ball. This makes the batik-like cracks. Carefully flatten out the paper and place it on newspaper.

Thin black paint or other dark color of paint. Use the sponge to apply the paint all over your drawing. Do not let it dry! Wipe the excess paint away with a damp sponge.

You will need an adult to do this step. It requires the use of an iron.

Place the drawing between two paper towels on an ironing board. Iron to flatten and dry your drawing.

Step 6: Finish Up

You can use your completed crayon batik in several ways:

  • To admire it as a picture, mount it on a piece of construction paper or put it in a frame.
  • To make a card, cut and fold colored paper or cardstock to the size card you want. Use glue or double-sided tape to attach the crayon batik to the card front.
  • Glue the picture to the front of a binder or notebook. You may want to cover it with a piece of clear contact paper for protection.
  • Crayon batiked paper also makes nice booklet covers. Fold a full-size sheet of paper in half. Place folded sheets of paper inside. Staple or sew along the fold to bind the booklet. Glue your finished batik on the front.

That’s it! Your crayon batik is done!
How to batik

This easy Batik is a WONDERFUL activity to do – yourself or with children!

No hot wax is used – and no dye, so children of all ages can do this!

We made a table cloth for our outside table.

This is a joint project!

I drew the fish and Emma colored them in! She put on all the color!

We chose fish because they come in all shapes and sizes – and we could make them up! It also allowed us to include a bright blue background – which is the color we wanted! We created fish, but of course you could use this technique for anything you wanted to paint!

How to batik

  • Fabric. We used bull denim as we were making an outdoor table cloth and wanted it to be thick and durable. Any fabric that takes fabric paint works! We used white!
  • Flour – regular kitchen flour bottle or equivalent! – some fabric paint requires an iron before you can wash it! or something to make the flour and water paste smooth! You can do this by hand too.

How to make this wonderful Easy Batik Art?

  • Decide on what you want to make – something specific – like we made a table cloth – or an apron or a pillow case…
  • Or just create art! Use a piece of fabric as a canvas!!
  • The fabric needs to be ironed flat before you start
  • Then you need to make your flour and water paste
  • I added a cup of flour to a bowl and then I added water in small amounts – whisking all the time – until I was left with a smooth thick paste. The paste needs to be thick as otherwise it runs all over the fabric and it needs to be smooth, this ensures that it does not come out the squeeze bottle in bursts every time a lump gets stuck in the nozzle!!

How to batik

  • Once you have your paste you can draw (squeeze) onto your fabric
  • The paste essentially creates the outlines. Where there is paste there is going to be no paint!
  • I used white fabric as I wanted my outlines and small details in white. I also prefer painting onto white fabric as color comes up best!

How to batik

  • Once you have completed your picture or design the paste needs to dry completely before you start painting!
  • We left ours overnight.
  • And then we got started on the painting!
  • Fabric paint seeps through the fabric so make sure you cover your work top with newspaper or something else protective!
  • We painted our fish first and then the background was painted blue.
  • TIP: fabric paint is absorbed into the fabric quite fast, as a result you need quite a bit. Don’t underestimate how much fabric paint you are going to use – especially if you paint something big like this table cloth. To give you an indication we used about 400ml / 13.5 fl oz of blue!

How to batik

  • Once you have finished painting everything the paint needs to dry!
  • Most paint should dry overnight, however in some spots where the paint was quite thick we had to leave it for a few days before it was completely dry!
  • You need to set the fabric paint as per your own paints instructions. We iron ours.

How to batik

  • Once the paint is set you can remove the flour and water paste.
  • I do this by first peeling off as much as I can – it is rather soothing…
  • Then I chuck it into the washing machine on a cold wash to remove what’s left
  • What you are left with is a wonderful design – almost batik like!

How to batik

Such a brilliant project to do, by yourself or with kids!

It is an easy art technique that creates the most spectacular results!
Every time we take out the table cloth Emma says, “I made this,” and looks at all the fish in detail!

This would also make such a wonderful gift!

We made a fabric painted footprint walked apron for Granny – after we were inspired by our rainbow walking, these kinds of gifts are so personal.

Definitely something we are going to do again!

How to batik

Looking for more Painting Ideas?

Here are more than 200+ ideas from over 50 bloggers! This wonderful painting list was put together during our 2016 Paint-A-Thon, a paint and make month! There are some great ideas here! Check it out!

You need no experience with watercolor in this class and the materials we’ll use are very simple, such as: rice paper, watercolor and melted paraffin wax.

Connect with Kathie

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Designing Watercolor Batiks

Launching Oct. 27th 2021

“Designing Watercolor Batiks” is normally a comprehensive week-long, in-person workshop.

Now, for the first time ever, you will have the opportunity to study watercolor batiks with Kathie George, the innovator of this technique, in the comfort of your own studio.

With over 30 years of experience teaching her technique, Kathie George is the person to guide you.

You will learn this method from the ground up, including, absolutely everything you need to know, from the basics to Kathie’s special tips for success (and she has many up her sleeve!).

What is watercolor batik?

It is an amazing technique where you combine melted wax and watercolor to create distinctive paintings.

The wax is used as a resist; it blocks the areas that aren’t intended to receive paint. The color is a simple wash on top of the saved wax areas.

There is nothing exact about batik.

You’re going to get wax and color where you don’t want it, so be prepared for mistakes such as unintentional drips of wax and oozing color.

Believe it or not, these accidents can add to the look of the piece!

The addition of the unexpected gives each batik that “artsy” look that you cannot get with any other medium.

I’m in love with the process & sensory experience of batik watercolor painting.

From the wonderful textured rice paper we use, to the warm drippy wax, the materials are sensual.

The waxing is slow and comforting, while the washes are free and colorful.

You’ll forget everything else in the world when you’re involved in a wonderful batik.

I’m here to teach you how to fall in love with it, too.

I hope you’ll join me for this adventure and allow me to guide you through the creative and satisfying process of designing your own batiks!

How to batik

Your Teacher

Kathie George is a talented artist, a much-sought-after workshop instructor, and the author of five instructional art books.

She is experimental and innovative when it comes to her use of media, but works primarily in watermedia.

She is best known for developing and teaching the watercolor batik on rice paper technique.

Her students rave about her friendly, informative, and energetic approach to teaching.

Once class begins you will have access to:

• 2 Practice Paint-along videos to get you up to speed with your technique, and start looking at your subject with a ‘batik mind.’ You can stop and start the videos anytime to catch up or replay a portion you want to see again.

• Line drawings for both paint-along projects.

• 2 Live Zoom sessions with Kathie George. The first live session will help you choose photos for your very own batik project. The second Zoom will be a critique session. To get complete information on how this will work, please see the “You May Be Wondering” section.

• Can’t make it to the live Zoom meetings? The meetings will be recorded. You’ll be able to stream them anytime.

• A downloadable PDF with two pages of “good for batik” photos for your own files and private use.

• Unlimited access to the course! Stream online anytime. If life gets in the way, you can watch anytime that is convenient for you.

• Ideas for turning even your batik ‘rejects” into something special.

• A private Facebook group to share your pieces, ask questions, and learn from each other.

Most importantly, by the end of this course, you will have:

Completed 2 beautiful batiks from the paint-along sessions

Painted an additional batik, completely designed by YOU from your own photo or one of the reference photos included with the course.
Participated in a personal critique with Kathie George. This is a very special element I wanted to include for all of you. If you complete a piece within the session time frame, you will be sent a private, personal summary critique of your piece! If you finish after the timeframe, you can post your piece to our Facebook group for peer critique.