Batik Dying: Skirt and Purse

Skirt project: We used red, purple, and black dye in that order and a paint brush. Before dying the fabric, a design was painted on with wax. After the skirt was dyed red, the excess dye was rinsed out but the wax was left on. Next, more designs were painting on with wax and the skirt was dyed purple. Then too the skirt was rinsed and allowed to dry without removing the wax. Finally, more designs were painted on with wax, and the skirt was dyed black. The skirt was rinsed with water to remove the excess dye, and then run in the washing machine on the hot cycle to remove the wax.

Note: The red dye came out more pink than red, and the black dye came out more purple than black.

Purse project: We used a star stencil, a paintbrush, and blue and yellow dye. Using the stencil as a guide, I painted wax along the inner edge of the stencil. When finished with the design, I added blue dye and yellow dye in a ratio of approx. 2 parts blue to 1 part yellow. Using two colors created a more muted color when the project was finished – I think the more different colors you mix in one dying bath, the more muted the final color of the dyed fabric will be.

Note: Before the wax was hot enough, the painting was more difficult and the wax didn't get into the fabric as well. Try to get your wax really hot so it glides across the fabric.
For those who do not know how to Batik: Get beeswax and heat until it until it's very runny. Meanwhile, you can draw your design on your fabric with a pencil (the marks will wash out). Use paintbrushes to dip into the wax and “paint” with it on your fabric. The areas you paint with wax will not absorb color when dyed. You can also use metal cookie-cutters as stencils. When you are finished painting your design, it’s time to dye the fabric. Get a large bucket. We used an old kitty litter bucket. Fill 3/4 full with water and add dye according to package directions. We used Rid dye – it’s available at Walmart and Michael’s. Immerse fabric and stir several times over the course of 20 minutes. The longer the fabric is in the dye, the richer and darker the color will be. Also, you can combine more than one packet of dye in order to get a mixed and/or more subtle color. Next, toss out the dyed water and rinse your fabric in water in the sink or bathtub to remove the excess dye. Finally, boil water and remove it from the heat source, then put your fabric into the boiled water to remove the wax. You can add a bit of detergent to the boiled water to make removing the wax easier. For us, we chose instead to remove the wax by running the fabric through the washing machine on the hot cycle. However, the wax may clog your washing machine, so weigh that risk when deciding what you do.

Notes: For us batik-dying was a multi-night project. Also, the fabric ended up lighter than when it was first pulled out of the dye bath. Be aware of that when choosing how long to leave your fabric in the dye bath.

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