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Topic: simple soy wax batik, w/ pics  (Read 4506 times)
Tags for this thread: farscape , batik  Add new tag
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ptarmic wumpus
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« on: September 11, 2007 11:14:40 PM »

I've only been dabbling with batik for a few months, but I thought I would post some simple methods using soy wax. Batik is traditionally made with some combination of paraffin and sticky waxes; soy wax has a lower melting point. The good things about soy wax are that you can melt it in a double boiler, and wash it out in hot soapy water, no need to boil it and it won't clog pipes. Also, it does not give off fumes when melted. However, it cannot be used with hot dye baths due to the melting point, and it is more sensitive to agents like soda ash than the regular batik wax. Soy wax is a bit softer and doesn't crackle the same as traditional waxes.

Here is a Farscape themed tee made using soy wax batik:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut17.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

And info on how to go about making your own batik:

First, you need a few essential ingredients.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut1.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
1. soy wax! It comes in flakes, I buy it online, but you can find it in the candle section of craft stores (at a considerably higher price than online)
2. A container to melt the wax in. I use a copper vessel from the thrift store, and heat it in a shallow pan with a few inches of water.
3. Cheap brushes to apply the melted wax. I use brushes made for small children, they are cheap - don't use good brushes, the wax will ruin them for regular painting.
4. Dye that works in cold (or at least not hot) baths. I am using procion fiber reactive dyes. Also, any chemicals for your particular dye - soda ash, urea, whatever. Salt is optional.
5. Safety equipment of your choice. Gloves are a good idea, and a particulate niosh mask of some sort if working with powdered dyes. I have a respirator and a variety of gloves.
6. Dyeing vessel and stirring/poking implements. Today I am using low water immersion dye, the tall skinny plastic container is my favorite for this, with an old plastic chopstick for stirring.
7. Fabric or garment to be dyed. In this case, a cotton knit tee.

First, wash the shirt well in detergent and dry completely. Draw an outline of your design on the shirt in pencil. Now, melt the wax. It needs to be hot enough that the wax sinks into the fabric when applied, but not so hot that it spreads everywhere. Apply the wax with the brush.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut2.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
After the initial coat of wax, I apply a second light coat to the front, and a third light coat to the back of the fabric.

Oops, I dripped wax on part of the shirt that I didn't want waxed:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut3.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
Most of the wax can be removed by ironing with a dry iron with plain paper on both the front and back to absorb the wax. Move the paper and keep ironing until no more wax comes off. This still leaves a small mark, which is noticeable when dyeing a solid shade in a vat. I haven't found a way to remove all the wax short of washing it in hot soapy water.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut4.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

If you want to add detail to your design, you can scratch sections of the waxed area with some object in order to let the dye through. I use a wooden cooking skewer.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut10.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut11.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

Now submerge the shirt in a sink of cold water
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut5.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
If you use very cold water, you get a better 'crackle' - in warmer water the wax is pliable and will not crack.
For low water immersion dye, put some dye in the bottom of a container big enough to tightly hold your fabric - a tablespoon or so is usually a good amount.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut6.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
Add a cup or less of water and mix
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut7.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
Squish up the wet shirt and stuff it in there.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut8.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
Mix another color of dye in a second container and pour it on top.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut9.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
Let this sit for a while. If you want the dye to fill and blend thoroughly, several hours is best, if you want lightly dyed patches, leave it for only an hour or so. Then mix some soda ash in a little water and add it to the top - you are supposed to use 1 tsp of soda ash per cup of water used in the total dye bath. Leave this again for no more than an hour - the soda ash will eat at the wax and destroy your design.

Now pour out the dye and rinse your fabric in hot hot tap water to remove the wax. Wash in hot soapy water to completely remove dye particles and remaining wax.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut12.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

here is the wet shirt at this stage:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut13.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

Now, this last part isn't really batik, because I'm not using wax, although you *could* use wax if you wanted a resist.  I want the drd body to be yellow, with black eyestalks. So, I mix up a bit of concentrated yellow dye with chemical water (water with dissolved urea) and thickener (alginate or in this case Pro Print Mix) and soda ash. I make it thick enough that it won't spread around, and paint it directly on the shirt (with a piece of plastic inserted into the middle of the shirt so it doesn't bleed to the other side)
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut15.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
This is supposed to stay damp for several hours to a day. I live in a very arid climate, where things dry out in less than an hour, so I put plastic wrap on the damp dyed areas and press it down
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut16.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
After a while (about 4 hours in this case, longer for darker colors), wash out the dye and dry the shirt again, then apply black dye similarly to the eyestalks. I didn't do both the eyestalks and the yellow at the same time, as I thought the black would likely bleed into the yellow.  Then wash the shirt thoroughly to remove all remaining dye.

Again, the finished shirt:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/batut17.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

here is a shirt where the background was dyed blue with a batik moon, then the front of the shirt was coated with wax, and the tree scratched in it. Then thickened black dye was applied to the tree area.  I have only been able to get a dark black color using thickened very concentrated dye, not in immersion methods at all.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/sswap162.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

Anyway, if anyone has been thinking about batik but was afraid of dealing with the wax, I recommend trying out soy wax because it is easy to work with if you are able to use cold dye baths.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013 09:59:45 PM by sweets4ever » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2007 01:17:53 PM »

Great tutorial!  I've always wanted to try batik and couldn't  get the tjanting and beeswax to work for me. Your method looks so much easier.
 Thank you for posting this!

« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2007 08:02:42 PM »

What a great tutorial!  And your shirts are awesome!

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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2007 06:04:13 AM »

just gorgeous! love both those pieces...

i was always curious about the soy wax- thanks for the info on it.



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