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Batik Wall Hanging

Design your own wall hanging using this batiking process.

Thanks to Bryn Starr Best from Vista, Calif.


paraffin wax
beeswax if possible
various paintbrushes
old pan or coffee can for melting wax
heat/flame source
white, off white or light-colored 100% cotton cloth or raw silk
Rit dye: yellow, red, blue (cold)
newspaper or packaging paper
6 plastic lids from recycled containers
small container of water


1. Get an inspiration for a design. Something simple and abstract will work best. Get your paintbrushes set up in your working area.

2. Lay down newspaper. Put your silk cloth (5-1/2' x 1-1/2') on top of newspaper. Lightly draw the design on the silk cloth with a pencil.

3. Put equal parts of the paraffin and beeswax in a pan or can and heat cautiously. You want the wax hot enough to absorb through material but not too hot to catch on fire or melt your paintbrush. If the wax starts to smoke extensively, turn heat source down or off to allow wax to cool down.

4. Dip paintbrush in hot wax and outline or fill in the areas of your design with wax that you want to preserve as the original color of the cloth. Remember, the areas you cover in wax will remain the original color of the cloth.

5. Once the design is completely outlined in wax, it is time to apply the colored dyes. Note: If at this point you have to leave your project to finish at a later date, do not let the cloth sit out in the heat or sun. If the wax melts into your cloth, it will destroy your design. Turn off the heat on the wax.

6. Pour the yellow, red, and blue dye in separate plastic lids. Use the plastic lids from recycled yogurt or cottage cheese containers. Pour the yellow in one lid, red in another, blue in another. If necessary for your design, mix addition al colors in separate lids. Mix an orange dye by combining yellow and red, purple dye by combining blue and red, and green dye by combining yellow and blue. IMPORTANT: Use all Rit Dyes COLD, directly from bottle.

7. By now the wax has cooled on the cloth. Crinkle the cloth a bit to crack the wax so that some of the dye will slip through the cracks and give a crackling effect.

8. With a clean brush, apply the yellow dye to the areas you designate in your design to be yellow. Rinse your brush in water or use a new brush before you apply the next darker shade to the areas you have designated for that color.

9. When you have finished applying the colored dye to the fabric let the fabric dry. Note: Keep the fabric out of the heat or sunlight, because you do not want the wax on it to melt. Once the fabric is dry, it is time to iron the wax out of the cloth.

10. Set the fabric down a stack of newspaper. Lay down your batiked cloth. Place another piece of newspaper or packaging paper over your cloth.

11. Heat your iron to high heat. Iron the paper-sandwiched cloth until you see the paper is filled with the wax. Once the paper is filled with wax, discard and apply a new piece of clean newspaper or packaging paper and continue ironing until wax in mostly removed from cloth. Once very little or no wax bleeds through on to the paper, your cloth is ready for hanging.

Notes: There are many ways to batik cloth. You can substitute wax with a liquid product that will resist the die from the cloth, but this method does not give you the crackled effect. You can also dip the entire cloth in a dye bath of light color, such as yellow, and let it dry. Then apply more wax, once again cracking the wax, and dip in a darker dye bath, such as red. As you continue this process, the colors will blend and bleed together and resist the colors below the wax, creating a unique effect. This process is much more time consuming.

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