As promised, here’s the easy-peasy DIY tutorial on how to make your very own batik chic scarf using inexpensive materials from around the house.
Batik is a printing technique and type of textile popular in Asia and African countries. Different shapes are painted onto the fabric using liquid wax then dipped into dye. The wax is removed and you end up with some great handmade textiles.
If you draw repeating shapes like circles, squares and zig-zags, you can end up with some very contemporary fabric, like the patterns in the 2010 spring/summer collections of Dries Van Noten (especially the men’s accessories: pocket squares and bracelets) and the 2011 Max Azria women’s resort collection. Other inspirations include instructions found in a thrifted McCall’s craft magazine, the and posts around the web. We’ll list the web resources in another post this week.
DIY Tutorial: How to Make a Batik Chic Scarf
* Wax paper or craft paper
* Cotton fabric (for scarf – we used 40″x10″ pieces of fabric)
* Pencil and paper
* Paintbrushes (varying sizes)
* Tealight candles (paraffin wax)
* Small aluminum pie tins
* Small fondue stand with candle base (optional)
* Paper towel
* Plastic tubs or buckets
* Dye (RIT-dye, Dylon or Procion MX)
* Rubber gloves
* Wooden spoons or barbecue tongs
* Beeswax (optional)
* Apron (optional)
* Picnic lunch + picnic mat (optional!)
1. Prepare your pattern, working surface and fabric: Sketch your pattern on a piece of paper. Then place wax paper or craft paper on your working surface so wax doesn’t seep through. Place your scarf right side up on your wax paper.
Tip: Use natural materials (e.g. cotton, silk, burlap). Man made materials (e.g. polyester, rayon) are harder to dye.
2. To make your liquid wax: Remove the candle wick from several tealights. Then take one of the small aluminum pie tins and poke a couple holes on the side of the tin with a pencil. Next, light three tealight candles with a wick and place it into another aluminum pie tin. Place the tin with holes on top to cover the flames, then place another aluminium pie tin on top with the wick-less tealight. (In all you’ve used three aluminium pie tins). The wax should be completely liquid within 5-7 mins. Do not leave unattended or inhale the smoke!
- If you’re going to batik outdoors and its a bit windy, better alternatives to the three aaluminum pie tin setup include placing an aluminium pie tin on top of a tealight candle holder or a larger fondue base/camp stove powered by fuel. (Here’s a video on how to DIY a camp stove.)
- Use beeswax for crisper, discrete lines. Use paraffin wax for wavier, less discrete lines. (Professional batik artists use a mix of the two.)
- Alternative to wax: white glue (or even glitter/coloured glue) Great for kids and washes out.
3. Start drawing: Dip your paintbrush into the melted liquid and draw directly onto your fabric. You can use varying brush sizes. Make sure wax line is thick so it will block the dye. After you’ve finished painting, look over and do touch-ups. Let wax harden.
- Use shapes like end of spool, cookie cutter, etc.
- For a batik with more than one clour, paint more wax on top of the first colour and dye the piece again using a different colored dye. Or you can paint directly with the different colour dye instead of submerging the entire piece.
4. Prepare your dye: Prepare your dye in the plastic tub/bucket according to instructions. We used Rit-Dye which usually calls for hot water, but, because of the wax, we used regular room temperature water. You can also use Proxion or Dylon cold water dyes. For colorfastness, add a 1/2 cup salt or vinegar to the dye bath. Use a wooden spoon or barbecue tongs to mix the dye with the water and salt/vinegar.
5. Start dyeing your fabric: With rubber gloves on (required or you’ll dye your hands) and an apron (optional if you don’t want the clothes you’re wearing a different colour), place your piece of fabric in the dye bath. Use the spoon or tongs to move fabric around and try not to splash yourself. Leave the fabric in depending on how intense you want the colour to be: shorter for less intense, longer for more intense. Note that some of the dye will wash out after washing.
7. Letting the fabric dry: Take your piece out, wringing out any dye. Place on your wax or craft paper and let the piece dry.
- Try not to leave it in the sun to avoid fading.
8. Setting the fabric: When your fabric is dry, place a fresh piece of wax or craft paper on top. Iron on top of the paper to heat wax, then let cool. The wax should adhere to the paper and off of the fabric. Repeat on areas where you still see wax. Put in washer or run under sink to wash out excess dye then put in dryer to set print.
Now wear in style for cool fall nights!