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Lesson Plans

[ArtsEd] Simplified Batik

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sun, 31 May 1998 14:13:27 +0800

To those who interested in Batik:

My special and warm greetings go out to you---Gail611, Gina B., Susan S.,
Freckles Spots, Skiart, San D, Sidnie... :)

I apologize to all of you for the delay in my response. I'm also in the
process of preparing for the opening of classes in June (in the
Philippines, that is). I haven't been reading--and much less
answering--the tons of mail in my mail box.

For you who requested for the preparation, here it is as my instructor
taught it to me.


To Indonesians--particularly the Javanese, BATIK refers to a way of dyeing
cloth that creates a delicate--usually repeating--pattern. It is a resist
process where a substance is applied to certain areas of the cloth to
resist coloring, while the other areas get dyed or colored. Traditionally,
the substance is liquid wax made of paraffin and beeswax , but nowadays
other materials--in our case flour paste--can be substituted for it as long
as the substance offers some resistance to pigment. In the traditional
process, different pens and brushes are used to apply the wax. The
'tjanting' is a special applicator that has a copper bowl and seven
different spouts for pouring the liquid wax onto the cloth with a regulated
flow. Another kind of applicator is a printing block called 'tjap' that
made during the 19th century. This block imitates the handmade effects.
In the final phase of the process, the cloth is dyed. The dye of lightest
color is then applied to the unwaxed portion in a cold bath, or at least in
a bath not hot enough to melt the wax. Afterwhich the cloth is washed and
dried. The wax is removed either with a solvent or by ironing between
blotting papers. The steps are again repeated with the darker colors,
gradually completing the entire design. The natural color of the cloth
(with a bluish or brownish shade) takes the form of patterns in the batik.

The process of resist dyeing is said to have originally come from India
around the 1st century AD. But the Indonesians have refined the art of
resist dyeing, which they later developed into a method called batik
dyeing. This was done on cotton and silk fabrics.


3/4 cup of flour or corn starch
1 cup of water
30 cm. by 30 cm. cheese cloth or cotton fabric (ironed flatly)
Textile paint or poster paints
Measuring cup
Mixing bowl
Mixing spoon/ ladle
Plastic ketchup squeezer (try pumps for icing)
Plywood or wooden board (slightly larger than 30 cm. by 30 cm.)
Tailor's chalk


(1) In a mixing bowl, place the flour and gently add water while doing the
mixing motion (kinda like making cake).

(2) Continue stirring til the mixture is free of lumps.

(3) When done, transfer the mixture in the ketchup squeezer and set aside
for a while.

(4) Tack the cloth securely on the plywood.

(5) Draw the pattern on the cloth using the tailor's chalk.

(6) Take the ketchup squeezer, and slowly squeeze out the flour mixture
tracing the chalk marks on the cheese cloth.

(7) After making the pattern, allow it dry out overnight.

(8) On the following day, remove the cloth from the board and gently
wrinkle some parts of the cloth to simulate wax cracks on the designs of
Indonesian batik. When using flour, note that a little brown discoloration
will occur on the sides. If you want to avoid that, use corn starch instead.

(9) Re-tack the cloth and paint over the areas without flour using textile
paint, making sure the color fills up the entire area. Poster paints can
achieve a similar effect, but it is not water-proof.

(10) Then, let the paint dry up.

(11) When the cloth is dry, simply peel off the flour and remove the cloth
from the board.

I hope this helps. Thank you for your interest. :) :) :)


  • Maybe reply: Kurt Hasselman: "Re: [ArtsEd] Simplified Batik"