And You Thought You Couldn’t Batik

What you need:

  • 4 white linen or cotton scarves, prewashed
  • Colored dye, whatever color you prefer (you can use our organic processing (Just the Greens, Please) or buy premade dye from the store)
  • 1 lb Jacquard Batik Wax (beeswax also works)
  • Various household items you don’t mind waxing (thimble, toothpick, blocks, dice, etc)
  • Ruler (optional)
  • Tape
  • ¼ cup salt

What to do:

Note: You can also use silk scarves for batiking, but just make sure that the material you use will take the dye.

To begin, melt the wax and prepare dye according to the directions on the package.  While the wax is heating up, lay out your four scarves on a flat surface.  Tape corners down so that the scarves won’t move around while you are designing.  If you are doing this over a nice tabletop, we suggest laying out newspaper first so that the heat from the wax doesn’t leave marks on the wood.

Plan out your design using the shapes of the household items you’ve gathered; this is where the ruler may come in handy.  Whatever wax mark you make with the household item will be the part that is not dyed.  When the wax is hot and melted (note package directions) carefully dip the surface of the household item into the wax and then press the waxed household item onto the scarf.  For mine, I use a thimble to make small circles and the end of a toothpick to make small dots around the edges.  Make sure to reapply wax after each shape you make on the scarf.  The key here is to make sure the wax really soaks into the fabric, otherwise the dye will seep through the wax.  When you are finished making the design on each scarf, let the wax dry completely.  This should take about thirty minutes, depending on how much wax you used.

When wax is dry, dye each scarf according to directions on package.  When you are done soaking the fabric in the dye, ring out and let it air dry.

Now it’s time to remove that wax and see your beautiful design! There are a variety of methods to peeling off the wax.  We typically go for the ice method.  Submerge your scarves in ice-cold water.  Let it soak for five minutes or so and then peel the wax off.  This way you can reuse the wax for your next batiking project.  If this does not work try filling a large pot with hot soapy water (hand soap, not detergent).  Let the pot of water cool and then peel wax.  Give it a quick wash with the salt in your washing machine (you can also hand wash) to fix the dye and you are good to go!

Story:
During my study abroad in Italy, I was so disappointed that I didn’t take the batiking class offered at my program in Florence.  My too-cute- for-words friend, Paige, would always finish out the week with all these beautiful scarves.  Years later, I was so excited to find that I could do it by myself at home…just make sure to be careful of that hot wax!  -Stephania


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