Silk Painting How to

How to Use the Batik Resist Process and Background Information

One of the ‘resist’ processes for making designs on your silk. Batik uses wax as the resist material, preventing the dye from penetrating the cloth where it is applied. The wax must penetrate the fabric to ensure that the dye does not leak into the next area. When laying the wax on the silk this should be very dry (if there's any moisture the wax won't act as a resist and dyes will leak).

The Japanese process of batik is called rozome(row-zo-may). In this process hot wax is drawn onto the fabric using natural hair brushes and dye is then pushed into the silk with a brush vs being immersed in dye. There is less of the characteristic crackling often seen in Indonesian or African batiks.

How to use batik: A combination of parafin and beeswax is commonly used as the resist. Wax is applied in successive layers, followed by the dye usually by a tjanting tool or natural hair brushes. Synthetic brushes will burn if used. An advantage of using wax is that it has incredible holding power to contain the dye; its disadvantage is the extra steps to remove the wax. Once wax is applied it cannot be completely removed.To remove the wax, lay paper towels and newsprint on top and iron the wax out onto the paper. It will leave a halo effect of residue unless the piece is either either boiled or dry cleaned after the wax is initally ironed out.

An alternative to wax is Soy Wax (available at Michaels and most other craft stores in the candle making area). This does much the same thing as wax in terms of resisting the dyes, but is water soluble and cleans out of your silk more readily. Soy wax is very runny and does not allow for the characteristic crackling of batik. An alternative and preferred resist is to use a 50/50 soy/beeswax mixture for best results.

More info about waxes in the Wax Resist section.


Batik silk painting

Batik by Beatriz Castro