Batik Prints: Dyeing How-Tos
Photography: Lisa Hubbard
Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2001
Wash fabric to remove sizing. Use beeswax for sharp lines; paraffin leaves a crackle effect. Place a small amount of wax into top of double boiler, and boil water to melt; then simmer, keeping wax hot enough to penetrate the fabric. (Don't let it smoke.) There should be enough melted wax to coat bottom edge of the stamp, about 1/4 inch. Warm stamp in hot wax for 30 seconds; use pliers or a clothespin to lift out shallow objects. Drag stamp across rim of pot to remove excess wax. Stamp fabric in desired pattern, catching drips on kraft paper or an index card.
In a large bowl, mix a dye bath of 1/2 cup liquid dye per gallon of hot water; the hot water required for powdered dyes will melt the wax. For colorfastness, add 1/2 cup salt or vinegar to the dye bath. Submerge fabric for a few seconds to 20 minutes, depending on the shade desired; stir periodically with dowel. Blot with paper towels and hang or lay flat to dry; fabric will lighten considerably.
When fabric is dry to the touch, remove wax by ironing fabric on hottest setting (no steam) between layers of paper towels, plain newsprint, or kraft paper. Change paper often, until all wax is lifted. Recalcitrant wax can be dry-cleaned away or treated with wax-removing solvents.