Making a batik is the satisfying process
of layering wax and dye to create bold, intricate designs. The more layers of dye and wax that are added, the thicker and stiffer the fabric will become.
At the end of this process, you’re left with a hard, milky-looking piece of cloth. Here’s how to iron the wax out of your batik to get the vibrancy
back into your designs!
Place a large wad of newspaper onto a board with your batik on top.
Place a single sheet of newspaper over the batik. With an iron on medium to hot, iron over the area of the batik. The wax should start to melt through
It is advisable to keep a separate iron for this process as it may become contaminated with wax that could transfer onto your clothes.
Please note, if the iron begins to smoke, unplug it straight away and with it still turned off, iron onto a clean cloth to remove any excess wax from the surface of the iron.
When the whole area of the batik has darkened with melted wax, it’s time to change the paper.
Peel the waxy newspaper off the batik. If it sticks, gently heat the surface with the iron to re-melt the wax. Place a fresh sheet on top and continue
to iron, changing the paper each time it fills with wax. You may want to change the top sheet underneath the batik too.
When a fresh sheet of newspaper no longer fills with any wax, the batik is ready! It should look vibrant and be softer to handle. The small amount of wax
left in the fabric brightens and darkens the colour of the dyes (like a grease stain in a piece of clothing).
This technique is perfect for batiks as pieces of artwork in their own right or for lampshades! Please note, batiks that are for garments and soft
furnishings will need to have the excess removed by dry cleaning or dipping briefly in boiling water – please note that this will fade the colour
by removing the ‘grease-stain’ effect of the wax and removing excess dye so do so with caution!
Here’s another sampler batik before and after ironing:
To iron your batik you will need:
- Ironing board or hard surface
- LOTS of newspaper
- An iron (an old or cheap iron reserved only for batik is advisable)
- Your batik!