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Batiking fabric is a craft that is probably older than tie-dying. We used this activity when studying ancient Africa, but you can also use if for other countries and as a project in the study of textiles and fabrics.
large, flat pan of cool water
double boiler (or similar set up)
large, flat non-metal pan to hold dye
running water (indoors or out)
ironing board or heat proof flat surface
1. Cover your work area with the old newspapers.
2. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the work area you just covered.
3. Place the cotton fabric on top of the foil. The foil is used to keep the paraffin-coated fabric from sticking to the newspaper that is protecting the workspace.
4. Melt the paraffin in a double boiler or in whatever similar system you have set up (such as a coffee can and water filled frying pan). [NOTE: never melt paraffin unless you are using the “double” method. Paraffin is flammable, and the double boiler set up keeps the paraffin from getting too hot too quickly and combusting.]
5. When the paraffin wax has melted, dip the paint brush into the wax. “Paint” a picture on the fabric with the wax. – geometric, landscrape, plaid, print, etc. – dip the brush back into the wax often as the wax will cool quickly. Now the fabric is batiked.
6. Place the batik in cool water for a few minutes to harden the wax.
7. Prepare your choice of dye according to directions.
8. Remove the batik from the cool water and place it in the dye. The longer the fabric sits in the dye, the darker and/or brighter the color will be.
9. When the desired shade is reached, remove the batiked fabric from the dye bath. Rinse the fabric in running water until the water runs clear.
10. Place the batiked fabric on old towels or paper towels to remove excess water. Do not “ring” fabric out.
11. Heat your iron. Place the batiked fabric on the ironing board or other flat, heat-proof surface. Cover the fabric with newspaper. Iron the fabric.
12. The paraffin wax will melt into the newspaper and away from the fabric. Change the newspaper and continue ironing, repeating the process, until all the wax is fully removed.
*Dyes can be store bought (e.g., store brand named Ritz) or they can be natural dyes. Below are some natural dyes you may be interested in trying.
Walnut Shell Dye
Purple Cabbage Dye
Grape Juice Dye
Onion Skin Dye