Techniques . Wax-less Batik
How to Dye Using the Wax-Less Batik Technique
Traditional batik uses hot wax to create designs when dyeing fabric. The wax acts as a “resist”—it prevents the dye from penetrating the fabric, thereby creating the desired pattern or design that has been stamped, stenciled or drawn onto the fabric with wax.
But hot wax is very hard to handle, and after dyeing, the wax is difficult to remove. So we prefer the “wax-less” batik method where a washable resist, such as Crafter’s Pick™ Batik-EZ Resist Medium or Elmer’s School Glue Gel (blue), is used in place of the hot wax. Washable really means washable: the resist simply rinses out after dyeing along with the excess dye, making this method faster and easier than hot wax while delivering the same great results.
- • White or pre-dyed 100% cotton fabric
- Rit Dye, liquid or powder
- Washable resist medium, such as Crafter’s Pick™Batik E-Z Resist Medium or Elmer’s School Glue Gel (blue)
- Rubber stamps
- Stencils, stencil spray adhesive, stencil brush
- Artist brushes
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Large spoon
- 1-cup containers
- Paper plate
- Latex gloves
- Pot holders
- Plastic wrap
- Paper towels
- Plastic table cover (garbage bags are an option)
- Hair dryer (optional)
Step by Step
Cover work surface with a plastic table cover to protect it in case of spills.
Overlap sheets of plastic wrap so they are slightly larger than the fabric to be dyed. Place fabric on top of plastic wrap.
Pour some washable resist medium on a paper plate. Apply design to fabric using stamps, stencils or by hand drawing it.
a.For stamps use a brush to apply the resist evenly to the stamp before pressing it onto the fabric. Clean out open areas in the stamp with end of brush to remove any excess resist.
b.For stencils use a stencil spray adhesive to adhere stencil to fabric. Then using a stencil brush, apply resist to open areas on the stencil.
c.For hand drawing designs use a brush to create designs or letters directly on the fabric.
Allow resist to air dry overnight or use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. Holding the dryer too close to the fabric for too long can create burn marks, so watch carefully.
Wearing latex gloves, shake dye bottles before pouring. Measure and mix 1 teaspoon liquid dye or 2 teaspoons powder dye with ½ cup very hot tap water; stir well. Pour dye and water into 1-cup containers. Add more dye for more intense colors or use more water for lighter colors.
Apply one or more dye colors around resist-created designs, blending colors. Dyes can be brushed, sprayed, dipped or drizzled onto the fabric.
Cover the batik-dyed fabric with plastic wrap and seal the edges. Cover bottom of microwave with paper towels to protect against spills and place plastic-wrapped fabric in the microwave. Set microwave for 1 – 2 minutes. DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED. Watch carefully to be sure plastic wrap does not melt and fabric does not scorch.
Use pot holders to carefully remove plastic-wrapped fabric from microwave. THE PLASTIC WRAP WILL BE HOT. Wait a few minutes to allow the plastic wrap to cool.
Remove plastic wrap and rinse fabric in cool water until the water runs clear of dye. Wash again in warm water with mild detergent. Rinse and air or machine dry.