Batik is the art of spreading liquid wax on the shirt to block the dye from contacting the fibers in a particular pattern. You can use wax in many ways and paint it on to make very precise details. Batik has a long history in multiple Asian countries. It is most famous for its amazingly intricate designs.
It definitely can be one of the most time-consuming and involved techniques depending on the complexity of the design you’re going for. This is especially true if you’re going for traditional design that can take many hours to complete.
The use of wax has an immense potential for applications in tie-dyeing. You can use it to protect and sequester areas of the shirt. Wax can be used on a white surface as well as on a colored surface.
The most common use for wax is to selectively shield and area that you want to keep white. In this case you will fold the shirt and then soak the area to be protected in liquid wax. This will keep it from being dyed. Simply dye the shirt like you normally would.
When you’re done with the batching process, go ahead and rinse the shirt normally, leaving the wax on the shirt for now. Remove as much dye as possible in a cold water bath. After you’re done rinsing, you want to place the shirt in a bath of hot water to remelt and remove the wax.
You will need to use instruments to not burn yourself, be very careful of the heat. A common method is to use a cooking pot of water that you bring to a boil. Place the shirt in the hot bath and agitate it. The wax should start melting. Continue heating it up and agitating it until most of the wax is removed.
One interesting note is that depending on the wax you’re using, you may be able to skim the surface of the water, scooping up the wax and reusing it.
When you’re done removing the bulk of the wax from the shirt, bring the pot down to a manageable temperature. Once the shirt is cold enough you can remove it from the pot. If you notice the shirt still has wax, you can scrape it with away manually or simply run some hot water on the area.
We are Samuel and Francis. About two years ago we bought our first tools and supplies for tie-dyeing. Ever since then we’ve been learning the skills of folding and dyeing in intricate ways. We’ve learned from our experiences on the field about what techniques works and what doesn’t. This is the site were we share everything we’ve learned.
Samuel and Francis
We are the sole owners of this site, we live in Canada where we work everyday on making tie-dye more accessible to everyone. We are always looking forward to teaching you something new.