Batik – it’s so much fun

So the last few weeks, I’ve been trying out batik. It’s so much fun. Wow. I am using soy wax, which is not what is traditionally used in batik, but it’s nontoxic and has a lower melting point. Plus, it washes out in the laundry. Regular batik wax can give off toxic smoke, has to be hotter to use, and needs to be boiled out. Not really a good idea for us preggos or for working around small children.


So this is a dandelion design I totally copied from a project I saw on Craftster. It was one of the first things I put the wax on, and I learned really quickly that I need to watch the initial blob when brush meets fabric. You can see that I got better as I went, but I think I need a different applicator to get really smooth thin lines.


This one I batiked first, then dyed it purple, then washed out the wax and dyed it yellow. You can see the times when I let the wax get too cool while I was using it – it doesn’t saturate the fabric as well, so more of the purple dye got through. I also continued to struggle with smooth, thin lines. That continues to be a frustration, actually. You can also see how the yellow overdye changes the color of the purple just slightly.


Well, when I was at my computer printing off a few designs to test out in batik, Wally saw the batman logo in my folder of saved clipart and got all excited about making a batman hankie. So here it is. This one was first dyed yellow, then batiked and dyed black. This is where the soy wax really shows its drawbacks. Because of its lower melting point, it’s not as stable as traditional waxes. It doesn’t hold up as well in the dyebath and can’t be used in very hot dyebaths. To get a dark black, you need to leave fabric in the dyebath, particular after adding the soda ash fixer, for a fairly long time. But leaving the soy wax in the soda ash solution for very long will ruin the design. So you’re supposed to limit the amount of time the batiked design sits in the soda ash solution, thus limiting the amount of time the black has to darken and set. So you (or I, at least) end up with this kind of dark gray instead of true black. Close enough for me.


The dragon. My favorite. Batiked it (still struggled with the glob problem, you can see on the rightmost foot). Then dyed it in red, leaving the top corner out of the dyebath. Then dyed that corner in black. I really like how it turned out.


This one was really an experiment for a Christmas present I’m planning to make for my nephew. The flames have a bit more crackling than I’d like, so I need to think about that one a bit, but overall I’m pretty happy with it. It was a LOT of work. I dyed it yellow, then batiked on some flames. Dyed it Orange. Washed it. Batiked on the flames a bit bigger. Dyed it Red. Washed it. batiked on the flames bigger. Dyed it Black. When I dyed it black, I tried to keep the bottom flame design OUT of the dyebath, and I think that’s what I should have been doing all along.

But what I’m most unhappy with is the way the black is not really black, it’s really dark maroon, because it’s black over red. I’m not entirely sure how to prevent this from happening, but might give it a try with some sort of technique like I used with the dragon hankie.


And two baby shirts. A rooster and a spider. The spider didn’t turn out as well as I wanted it to, but I also was rushed when I was doing it, so it makes sense. Also, see the light gray there in the middle of the spider shirt? Yeah, dummy, UNSNAP the shirt before dyeing.

So batik was really super fun and I hope to be able to do more of it soon!!


About sarahtar

Our Family lives in central Iowa. We are Christians, conservatives, and crunchy granola heads. We love the outdoors, photography, and lindy hop. Turn ons are people who are polite, honesty, and really good root beer. Turn offs are mean people and people who make my life more difficult.

Posted on October 5, 2008, in Materials and Methods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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