Batik!

Fabric lovers the world round, be jealous. I recently got to participate in making batik fabric! Batik fabric has been a favorite fabric style of mine for years, and since we now live in the very part of the world in which this method originated, this was a thrill for me!

Here’s a rundown of how it’s made. First, blocks of a specific kind of tree wax are melted in a pan.

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Unique copper stamps are made and used to stamp the dye-resistant wax onto fabric. The stamps on the table below have a unique pattern of stacked rocks that is specific to the city we currently live in for language study.

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The tables on top of which the fabric is stamped are topped with wet cardboard covered by plastic. The wet cardboard makes a cool surface so that the wax hardens quickly.
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The stamps are dipped into the wax, the excess wax is shaken off, then [usually a master batik maker] carefully stamps the wax onto the fabric. The quality of the stamping, in addition to the quality of the dying, are important in pricing the finished fabric (mine would not have sold for much). Ironically, though, in America, we prefer and import batik that is less meticulously stamped and dyed, giving it a little bit of a whimsical and tye-dyed effect. DSCN3340

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An alternative method for applying the wax is using a special pen (same idea as a quill pen for ink) to apply the hot wax. As you can imagine, that is quite time consuming, but batik made well that way by an expert can sell for around five hundred dollars per yard!  Below, my friend is adding some additional detail to fabric that was stamped.

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After the wax is dry, the fabric is dipped into a bath of dye, or, alternatively, if more detail is desired, a brush can be used to brush dyes onto the fabric.

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The below fabric (not mine) was dyed with a brush, and is now being air-dried.

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The wax is then boiled off, leaving a white design which can be either left white or the fabric can again be dipped into dye (a lighter color than what was previously used) to fill in the white areas.

People don’t wear suits and ties here. Formal attire is shirts/dresses made from batik fabric.

I only stamped mine, then let the experts dye it. Here’s how it turned out:

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2 thoughts on “Batik!”

  1. How exciting! I truly wish I was there! thank you so much for the detailed photos and description. I love batiks too and of course, carry them at the quilt shop. And I would buy your first attempt! Looks wonderful to me!

  2. Love this Rachel! So great, that you got the opportunity to experience this! I think it turned out beautiful!

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