Beginners guide to Batik Art
Learn all about the beautiful world of Batik Art with our guide for beginners. We show you what supplies you need and take you through step by step how to create Batik Art.
I am Sarah Jackman Read and I’m a freelance craft designer based on the Isle of Wight. I work for various UK craft companies and magazines and my varied job sees me working with lots of different products and mediums. I've created everything from haunted house papercraft cards to free party gift box templates for Gathered but now I'm turning my attention to Batik Art! This project was really great fun as it’s been many years since I’ve created any Batik Art. I'm going to teach you all about what Batik Art is and show you how you can create your own pieces using this beautiful medium.
What is Batik Art?
Batik Art is a technique that uses a mixture of wax and dye to create patterns on fabrics. The art of decorating cloth in this way has been practiced for centuries in many parts of the world. Much of the world's finest batik cloth is made on the Indonesian island of Java which is where batik actually originates from. In fact, the word Batik comes from the Javanese word “tik” which means to dot.
Batik Art works really well on lots of different fabrics including cotton, silk and linen but the same technique can also be used on paper, wood, leather, and even ceramics. To create Batik Art you need to apply melted wax to areas of your chosen fabric. The areas where the wax is applied create a resist so when a dye is applied those areas will remain the same colour as the original fabric. Batik Art can be created from just one layer of wax or the process of waxing and dyeing can be repeated numerous times to create really unique and elaborate designs.
Once the design is complete, the fabric can be washed in hot water to remove the wax or ironed with scrap paper on top to soak up the wax as it melts. Batik Art designs can be hand-drawn although many of the traditional Indonesian designs are achieved by block printing. Many contemporary artists use batik techniques to create truly original works of art.
What does Batik fabric look like?
Here is a basic batik design, where the leaves would be created with the wax and then a magenta die applied on top. This is a more complicated, traditional design which would have been created by applying several layers of wax and dye.
What do you need to do Batik Art?
The following basic items are perfect to get you started on your batik journey.
You can’t create batik without any wax and these soya wax pellets are perfect for all your designs. These pellets are 100% soy, environmentally friendly and will dry almost clear on fabrics.
Stainless steel melting pot
To help melt your wax safely, this stainless steel melting pot is the perfect size for melting the amount of wax you’ll require. It sits snugly on top of a small saucepan and features two pouring spouts to help you transfer the wax safely and easily. The set also includes a useful silicone spatula and safety glove.
The best tool for drawing your wax design is a tjanting tool. This pen-like tool is made of brass which helps keep the wax warm and flowing. The bowl is 35mm in diameter so can hold enough wax for an intricate design. The 1mm spout helps keep the wax flow neat and even.
This white cotton fabric is the ideal weight for adding a wax design to and it has a nice smooth surface. It’s firm enough to withstand lots of ironing and will soak up lots of dye. It has a width of 162cm and is available in 5 sizes, giving you plenty of fabric to play around with.
This tie dye kit contains five bright colours which are non-toxic and permanent. They work well on most fabrics and are simply mixed with cold water and applied through the tip for accurate application. They are highly concentrated colour which will withstand numerous washing.
How to do Batik art
Now you've got your supplies it's time to make! I'm going to take you through step by step how to do Batik Art so you can copy and start creating some gorgeous designs.
- Cut a piece of fabric to your desired size then iron to get rid of any creases. Cover a flat surface with cling film then attach the fabric on top with craft tape or masking tape.
2) Draw out your design on the fabric lightly with a pencil.
3. Pour some wax pellets into a melting pot and stir gently until completely melted.
4. Carefully pour the melted wax into the tjanting tool. Fill approximately two thirds of the way up.
5. Place the nib of the tool on the fabric then go over your drawn design to cover the design with a layer of wax. Add extra dots and marks across the design if desired then leave the wax to set.
6. Mix three colours of dye with cold water then shake each bottle until the dye has completely dissolved.
7. Apply the colours over the design making sure it’s completely covered. Leave to completely dry.
8. Once the dye is dry, lay scrap paper over the top then iron. Remove the scrap paper then repeat until all the wax has been removed.
And that's it! We hope you've enjoyed learning all about Batik Art and are ready to make some beautiful creations. For more arty beginners guides head over to block printing for beginners and ink drawing for beginners. We also have a round-up of the best Bob Ross painting kits if you want to start painting like a pro!
Sarah is a freelance craft designer specialising in paper craft, quilling and sewing. She regularly creates a variety of projects for several uk craft companies and magazines. She also designs and makes her own resin jewellery: https://kraftikeepsakes.co.uk/