Archives for category: batik

First step is to draw out a design. Here’s a video still I got from YouTube of a Queen Angelfish. spotted-fish-copy
The fish was marked out in pencil on a piece of off white linen.


Yellow and Red paint dye was brushed onto the fabric.


Clear melted wax was brushed over the dried paint dye and areas where I wanted the image left white. I used Batik wax which is a 50/50 blend paraffin and micro crystalline waxes. It’s heated up to about 235 degrees Fahrenheit.


Turquoise dye was mixed with some warm water, making a thick paste.


More water is added to the concentrated dye paste and poured into about 4 quarts of warm water.


I eyeball about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to the dye bath and mix.


Then I add the wet fabric that has soaked in cool water for a few minutes.


Let the fabric sit for about ten minutes and then take it out. Add a teaspoon of soda ash to the dye bath. Stir the soda ash particles until they melt.


Return the fabric and let it bathe in the dye for thirty minutes or so, agitating it here and there.


Take out fabric and pin it up to dry. I let the fabric dry completely.


After the fabric dried, I melted the wax and brushed it on the places where I wanted it to be this light turquoise.


Also, I added yellow and red dye paint to the image to make some green details in the background. Then, letting it dry to set.


The next dye color I mixed up was Caribbean Blue and followed the same steps as above with the salt and the soda ash.


Making sure to agitate it.



Taking the fabric out after about 30 minutes.


I pinned it up to dry completely.


After letting it dry, I brushed the wax over the greenish dye and all the places I wanted the Caribbean Blue to be.


Next, I soaked the fabric in warm water with just a drop of Synthrapol solution, which is a heavy duty cleaning fluid. It makes a sudsy bath, releasing all the excess dye particles and helping to clean the fibers for the next dye bath.


After rinsing the fabric out in cool water, I make another dye batch of Wisteria, Black and Robin’s Egg Blue to create a deeper shade of blue.


All the same steps are done with each dye bath.




Here, I check to see what each shade of color looks like in front of a window.


I added more wax at this point to cover the all the different colors and where I wanted to keep the last color of dark blue.



Checking all the colors so far through the light.


Adding dots to the fish’s body.


Filling in any gaps where I don’t want the dye to penetrate.


Agitating the fabric in it’s last dye bath of New Black. I use less water for this final dye to make it more concentrated.


Letting it drip dry.


The next day, I give the fabric a good soak in Synthrapol.


Then, after rinsing the fabric, I place it into a large pot of water to boil for a couple of hours.


The boiling takes out most of the wax. Rinsing it in cold water lets you feel where there may be some embedded wax. Usually ironing between two pieces of thick paper, like a brown paper bag, will gets this excess wax out.


The final piece in front of a window.



I did have to add black dye with a fabric pen to the eyeball and a few other places to create particular details.




Final piece photographed outside, showing colors in blue light.

Visit my Gold fish in the Sea, Batik Style

And, Batik Gallery


A film still found of striped fish was the inspiration to the following piece of art, dyed in complementary and analogous colors.

goldfishI mixed yellow and red Jacquard’s paint dye and painted the fish onto a cotton, linen remnant.

goldfish1I then painted over the fish with melted wax and where ever I wanted it left white.

goldfish2The dye bath was a light mixture of Caribbean Blue.





goldfish7I let it dry and placed it in the window to see the image clearly.



goldfish10I brushed on the melted wax where I wanted the light blue to remain.

goldfish11Then, dyed it in a darker shade of Caribbean Blue.



goldfish13Hung it up to dry. Here the light and darker blue show well.

goldfish16The next dye bath was an even deeper shade of blue.

goldfish15In the window all the colors can be seen.

goldfish16The last dye bath was Black and Golden Yellow.


goldfish18When dyed over the Caribbean Blues, it turned the cloth into a deep green hue.


goldfish19I painted over the fish with more orange dye after boiling out all the wax, to brighten it up a bit.

goldfishfinalFinal piece back lit from afternoon light in window.

goldfishfinal2This was a challenging piece because of the amount of wax applied and with the final dye, I didn’t know what color would emerge. One can do test pieces, but I like the surprise. I did crumple up the piece before the final dye quite a bit which let in more darkness than wanted, so I ended up adding another layer of orange to the fish.

Here is a link to a more instructional way of doing batik. Fish in the big blue ocean, batik style

To see batik gallery visit this site Batik as Contemporary Art


Batik is one of my favorite hobbies. I started early this year, usually I get into these projects around the new year when it’s too cold to do anything outside.

I started with a film still from a video found on YouTube.

fishoceanschool2I drew out the design in pencil on a piece of linen and painted red and yellow fish with Jacquard’s painting dye. Let it dry to set. Then, melted wax to 350 degrees and brushed it over the fish so they would not be dyed in the subsequent dye bath, or, wherever I wanted to keep the image white. The wax acts as a resist to the dye.

fishocean1I dyed it in a light Caribbean Blue for an hour, agitating it here and there.

fishoceandyedarkWith each dye bath, first mix up the Procion MX dye in a container and add this concentrated dye to about 2 quarts of warm water, which is enough to cover about 14 inches of cloth. Add a little salt to the dye bath, then put the fabric in and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  Take out the fabric and add about a teaspoon of Soda Ash to the salty dye and mix it up. Put the fabric back in the dye solution and agitate. Let it be in the dye for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

fishoceandyefirstiiHang the fabric and let the dye adhere to the fabric, about 10 to 30 minutes or it can dry overnight.

fishocean2Wash the fabric with Synthrapol and let it dry.

I added wax to the piece where I wanted to keep it light blue.


fishocean4I made a darker shade of Caribbean Blue for the next dye bath.


fishoceandryingwaxlightblueHung fabric for a least 30 minutes to let the dye adhere to the fibers, washed it out to get rid of excess dye and let it dry. Then, I added more melted wax to the piece where I wanted it this shade of blue.

fishoceanfirstwaxAfter adding the wax I put it in a dye bath of Robin’s Egg Blue, Wisteria Blue and a little Scarlet Red. When dyed over the Caribbean Blue, it produced a purplish hue.


fishoceandyebLet the dye adhere to fabric. Wash it and hang it up to dry.


fishoceandryingwaxaI added more wax to keep the purple color and put it in a Black dye bath for at least an hour. The final dye is tricky because it’s your darkest shade that will make the other colors pop, but it’s also saturating  fibers, that by now, are filled with a lot of dye particles, so you have to wash the fabric out thoroughly with a little extra Synthrapol, add more dye than usual and keep it in the bath longer.

fishoceandyefirstiiFinal dry. I washed it out and then boiled the piece for a few hours.

fishoceanlastwaxBoiling will get out most of the wax. If not, iron the piece between pieces of thick paper until all the wax is gone.

fishoceanboillFinal piece in window.


fishoceanfinalOne piece of Batik can take a few days to finish, this one took me a couple of weeks. I’ll let the fabric dry overnight sometimes and  just work on the piece whenever I can. The end result is always a surprise. It’s a little bit like developing film in a dark room.

Happy New Year!

To see more batik, visit Wax Painting Gallery. Batik as contemporary art.