DIY Chic Batik

When my parents relocated to Indonesia 2 1/2 years ago, one of the first things on my to-do-list was to make Batik. Several visits later  …. I’m FINALLY ticking this one off the list. While Batik come and goes on the runway in Europe, it’s a truly a staple here in Indonesia and you will see it being used in multiple ways – as clothing, bags, tablecloths, decorative paintings and more. Batik can be done on cottons, silks and other natural fabrics and the process involves applying wax to prevent dye from penetrating the cloth, leaving “blank/resists” areas in the dyed fabric. The process can be repeated over and over depending on the number of colours in the design.

To learn from the experts, I headed to Jakarta Textile Museum as I heard they offered daily courses with Batik artisans. Anyone traveling to Jakarta, I can highly recommend this experience as it was amazing to see the handcraft up close (one lady told me she has been working on creating the pattern with wax for more then one month!).

Below is a brief summary what I did and what you need to go through to do your own batik.
Approximate time: 3 hours
You need:

  • Patter of desire
  • White Cotton Fabric
  • Wax
  • Pot to boil wax in
  • Canting (more about this later)
  • Dyes


How To:

1. Trace the pattern onto the fabric.  I started out very ambitiously by choosing a beautiful floral pattern but fast realised that it would take me VERY long time to finish. Hence, I decided to do something different and used wordings from magazines to create my design.

Tracing Batik


2. Stretch the fabric onto a frame. Make sure that the fabric is stretched out properly as you need a flat surface to apply the wax. Applying the wax is the most tricky part of the process!

Batik - Step 1

3. Prepare the Wax bath. The wax need to be melted and liquid but be cautious that the wax doesn’t start to burn. Canting is the traditional tool used for applying the hot wax onto the fabric, and you use it by dipping it into the wax bath – the “holder” on the top will contain the wax and a fine flow of wax will pour out from the front part . You will have to dip it quite frequently as the wax need be liquid in order to be able to apply it onto the fabric easily.



Canting 20130404-202706.jpg

4. Apply wax was on BOTH sides. You can create all kind of patterns like dots and different strokes –  not only filling the letters like I did. Keep in mind that everything that you cover with wax is the only area that will not be dyed later on. Don’t forget that you need to apply wax on both front and back side of the fabric!



5. Dye the Fabric. Remove the fabric from the frame. Prepare the dye bath in accordance to what kind of dye, how many colours as well as the size of the fabric. I choose a Fuchsia pink and the “wash master” used Reactive dyes, which is resistant to crocking and produces bright shades. IMG_1252


6. Remove the wax: boil the fabric to remove all the waxes.


Voila! My own Batik Piece



Did you like this post? Also check out my travel post from Jakarta with tips where to buy fabrics and recommended to do’s.


4 Responses to “DIY Chic Batik”
  1. Kim says:

    You are amazing Isabel! I admire your hard work:-)
    This is your prefect element, this is exactly what you should do. You’re a natural !!!


Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] DIY Chic Batik ( […]

  2. […] Textile & Fabric To-Do: There is a large fabric market in Jakarta called Majestic – the quality of the fabrics is not the highest but it has a wide fabric selection with anything from Chinese Synthetics to Indian Cottons. My tip would be to stay away from the imported fabrics from China – I found them to be heavily overprices all across the market. Saying that, you can get some really good deals – especially silk and domestic fabrics. I bought a bunch of tulle fabrics (for a project you will see here soon) – paying 9000 RPS / 0.71 EUR / 0.93 US  PER METER (Yes, you need to bargain aggressively).  If you want to sew up custom-made clothes, there are plenty of options all over Jakarta – my sister and mom tried one, which even had a little sample factory in the back – Absolutely Fantastic! Wish I could have that space myself. Last but not least, definitely pay a visit to Jakarta Textile Museum where you can take Batik classes – read all about it in my post DIY Chic Batik. […]

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