I love to dye fabric, make thread pictures and quilt. I live in the Yukon on an acreage with my husband, 2 dogs and 34 fish. It's the 'good' life.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Batik Fabric

Today I finished the last of the soy batik prints I am making for an upcoming quilt class I am teaching. I don’t want to spoil the surprise so Janet—close your eyes.

Here are soy wax flakes. I order them from Dharma Trading Company.


Here are the pieces I made today:


I find batiks a lot of fun to do and soy wax is way less fussy and messy than using paraffin wax. I didn’t use MX dyes today, so I made the decision to paint on Setacolour transparent paints since that was what I had on hand. I love these paints and I use them exclusively for fabric painting.


I mix the soy wax in a double boiler on the stove. I put the flakes in a measuring cup and then melt the wax that way. I recently heard of a great tip that I tried this time—I heated up a crock pot with boiling water, set it on high, then placed my melted wax in the measuring cup over the rim of the crock pot. It kept the wax nice and liquidy. I do not have a dedicated pan for this--yet!

I tried a variety of utensils to make the marks. The picture below does not show the difference in colours very well. I have a terrible, old camera and I cannot get good pictures from it. I even tweaked this one in Photoshop and this was the best I could do…  :-(

soy3In the orange/brown forefront fabric on the bottom left, I dipped a rectangle of sponge in the wax, and also used one side of a paper cup. There is also a piece of tubing used here I think.

In the grey piece beside it, I used 3 toilet paper tubes held together with an elastic. I overlapped the rings.This was the easiest of all the pieces to make.

In the middle blue piece, I used the rings again and a spool of thread.

The purple piece near the top was made with 2 coil type stamps. Very messy—I won’t do that again.And the paint was WAY too watery. I usually do 1/1 part Setacolour to water. This must have been 1/4 parts water.

And the orange piece at the top, the one you can barely see, was with a Tobleron chocolate bar that I found on my desk. When done using it as a stamp, I ate it.

The green fabric below is made by dunking the end of a chopstick in the wax and also by splattering wax on the fabric. I want this for fish fabric.I noticed that adding black to any Setacolour makes it richer and darker for this technique.


When the wax has hardened, minimum an hour, I crumple the fabric to break up the wax and get some cracks happening. Then I use a paintbrush and stroke on the Setacolour. I usually use two colours to get some variety, but that depends on my mood. When that dries, I lay the piece between sheets of newspaper and iron very well—about 3-4 minutes in each area. For these pieces, I changed the newspaper at least twice to get the wax off, but I think I could have gotten away with less ironing.

It was easy and less messy that other wax, that’s for sure! With paraffin wax, I have used at least 1 whole newspaper for each piece. And its toxic, not environmentally safe and harder all around.

You can even use a tjap! This beauty is from Dharma Trading Co.


Look at this AWSOME piece by Cathy using a tjap. BTW—her site is awesome.


I left the pieces to cure overnight, then I rinsed them in hot water with Dawn soap. This combo helps the wax just fall off. Then I either let this dry again, then iron it OR sometimes I iron the piece when its wet. Some of the colour comes out in the rinse water and I am sure if I had used thickened MX dyes the colours would have been deeper. But I needed to try this technique for the class since I don’t want to use MX dyes that day.

Overall, I think Setacolours work OK for this project. I have asked my hubby to see if he can find an old electric fry pan from a pawn shop or such place since he is still in the ‘big city’. I think that would allow for larger stamps—like a trivet I have and a wire circle thingie.

Two classes down, 3 to go…


  1. Love the fabrics you got Dahn. Such interesting effects! I haven't tried batik yet. Maybe one day.

  2. You HAVE to try this one Thelma--it is the funnest thing. Maybe we should include it as a class/technique for the Art-Dye group?

    Dahn http://itjustdahnedonme.wordpress.com/