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Easy Batik

Martha Stewart Living, August 2006

Bleach is usually off-limits where colored fabric is concerned, but this decorative application gets our full approval. Using a bleach pen, we created the look of batik (a type of patterned Indonesian textile) on a blue runner and napkins for a coordinated table setting. Try this technique on pillowcases, curtains, and even canvas tote bags.


Fit a gel bleach pen (available at grocery stores) with a 1/2-millimeter, stainless steel tip. We hemmed cotton canvas -- natural fibers work best -- into 16-inch square napkins and a 12-inch-wide runner, but store-bought linens will do.


Test a discreet area to make sure the fabric reacts well to the bleach.


Use a water-soluble dressmaker's pencil to mark a grid on the fabric; where the lines intersect, create a 2-inch square, as pictured.


With the bleach pen, draw a freehand flower within each square and add dotted lines between flowers. (Or download the template.) Let the bleach set until the pattern has faded to the desired shade, about 20 minutes.


To rinse, lay the fabric flat in a shallow pan of cold water; let stand for a few minutes (work in sections for the runner).


Jacquard 1/2 mm stainless steel applicator tip, from New York Central Art Supply,

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