is an ancient art supposed to be 2000 years old. The wax process was brought to
India by the late Rathindra Nath Tagore, son of the poet Rabindra Nath Tagore.
The crackle effects of Batik is the most fascinating part which makes it unique.
are a lot of possibilities in this method but one has to explore and experiment
to exploit it. Enthusiasm and imagination is all that one really needs to bring
forth the beauty of batik. There is always tremendous pleasure in wearing
a garment wholly designed and printed by your own hand or creating a lampshade,
cushion, curtains as you like.
of crackles between colours is the interesting and beautiful part of this dying.
To get crackle effect, wax is mixed with resin and used.
just try a very simple design of circles.
or silk cloth (avoid synthetic materials) - take a square piece of any size
- Usually napthol dyes are used (but any dye which is available in the market
can be used). Colours used for the design - yellow, red, brown, black.
- Bee wax, paraffin wax, resin (gum)
||Brush - A small water colour brush,
a 1/2" size and a 2" size of the ordinary household
paint brush. These brushes can be used only for waxing.
||Vessel to heat
||Plastic bucket or big bowls to mix colours
||A frame to fix
the cloth : Wash the cloth and starch it lightly. Starching is done
to control the flow of wax. Iron the cloth before you begin. Always choose white
colour cloth or very light shade. Now draw the design of circles on the cloth
with charcoal or crayon and pin it to a frame.
Waxing & Dyeing : Use gloves while preparing wax and dye.
the wax : Take 2 parts of bee wax and one part of paraffin wax into a vessel
and heat it. When it becomes liquid, add resin to it. (Resin acts as a binder
As wax is inflammable, use an electric heater
or hot plate and avoid direct flame for heating.
Wax should be hot enough to penetrate the cloth. i.e. it should reach both sides
of the material. The wax should look clear and not milky, to penetrate the cloth.
If the wax lies on the surface of the cloth, the dye will run under it and the
resulting batik design will look smudgy. To test whether the wax is of the right
consistency, take a rough piece of cloth and apply the hot wax and see if the
wax reaches both the sides of the material.
the dye bath : Mix the dye with cold water. The preparation should be mixed
according to the directions given but not diluted too much.
Crackle : Crackle is formed when the waxed cloth is dipped in the cold dye bath. The wax
cracks causing veins of darker colour on the lighter areas. To have more crackle
effects on the design the proportion of wax could be reversed to one part bee
wax and two parts paraffin wax adding a little resin. Paraffin wax crackles faster
than bee wax. The full effect of crackling can be seen when the wax is ironed
out or removed by boiling
Applying the Wax
& Dye :
waxing using a small brush changing to a larger size for broader areas. Paint
even strokes about 1/4inch inside the line of your design.
When the brush is immersed in hot wax for the first time, the bristles will fuzz
out. Press them back into shape on the sides of the pan.
The layer of wax should
not be very thin. Keep on h eating the wax while applying to retain the clear consistency.
Avoid crushing the cloth before dipping in the dye bath. It can lead to too many
Wax should be 1st applied only on regions
where you need white colour. i.e. the centre circle. When
it dries the fabric should be dipped in the 1st light colour yellow.
Keep the cloth in the dye bath
15 minutes. Remove and dry it by hanging on a line or flat on a news paper. After
drying, wax the regions where you need yellow. Dip it in the next colour red,
when it dries. Now wax the regions where you need red. Now dip brown. When it
dries wax the regions where you need brown. Final immersion is in black dye. To
achieve a good crackle effect the material is crumbled before the last immersion.
The final stage after dyeing and waxing. Now it is
time to remove the wax from the cloth.
Wax can be removed
by ironing with a moderately hot iron. Keep a good layer of newspaper underneath
the material and a single sheet on top while ironing. The paper absorbs the extra
wax. The paper should be renewed as they become soaked with wax.
too much wax is remaining even after ironing the cloth should be dry cleaned.
Now the cloth is ready to use. Try out this with any design, according to your
idea to make a wonderful garment for yourself.