Batik: You Can Do This Unique Fabric Dyeing In Your Own Home

Looking for a new Arts and Crafts project? How about trying Batik? Even though this wax-resistant dyeing technique is very old in Africa, the Middle East and in Asia it is a relatively new technique in the United States. Okay, are you ready to begin? You need to decide on a design and colors for the design that will be used to dye the fabric. You will also need a few supplies for this project and they are Batik wax, brushes, a bucket, an electric skillet and a large cooking pot. You will also need Prepared for Dyeing fabric, a hoop or cookie sheet, rubber gloves, a pencil, a Tjant, which is a needle type tool, a tub and Procion Mx Fiber-Reactive Dye in the colors you have chosen.

After gathering the needed supplies, it is time to prepare the fabric. Wash and dry the fabric, then iron all the wrinkles out so that the fabric is flat. Place the fabric on the hoop or on the cookie sheet and pull the fabric taught. Now apply the design to the fabric using a pencil.

Using the electric skillet, melt the wax, being careful not to burn it. Melted wax should be clear, do not allow it to turn yellow, which indicates that it is too cold. After the wax is melted, apply it to the portion of the design that is to remain the original of the fabric using the Tjant and brushes. Make sure the wax penetrates the fabric.

While the wax is cooling, prepare the dye bath using the lightest color of Procion Mx Fiber-Reactive Dye. After making sure the wax is very cool, remove the fabric from the hoop or cookie sheet being careful not to crack the wax unless you want veins in the design. Dip the fabric into the dye, making sure all the fabric is emerged into the dye, then rinse with cold water. Gently hand-wash the fabric in coldwater and allow to air dry. After the fabric is dry, repeat the entire process. Apply the wax to portions of the fabric that you want to remain the color that was just used to dye the fabric, and then dye with the next lightest color. Repeat this procedure of waxing and dyeing until the design on the fabric is what you want, making sure to wash, rinse and air dry between each color.

When the design on the fabric is finished, the wax will need to be removed. Use the large cooking pot and place the fabric in it. Fill the pot with water and place it on a cooking stove. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue until all the wax floats to the top of the pot. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool. After the pot has cooled, simply remove the wax. This wax can be re-used.

Try the Batik technique if you are in the mood to try something different. This unique fabric dyeing technique can be as intricate or as simple as you want to make it. Give it a try, you may just like it!

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