Batik and the wax resist technique

12 Apr


The second graders in Bungalow 3 explored the ancient art of Batik and the artistic process of wax-resist dying. Batik is a form of fabric dying that has been widely used in India, Southeast Asia and even Africa for millennia. Batik artists use a tool to apply melted wax to fabric in various intricate designs. The fabrics are then dipped in dye, allowed to dry and the wax is removed. The dye does not stick to the fabric where the wax had been and thus creates a design.

You will need:

Watercolor paper
White crayons
Food Coloring Dye
Kosher Salt
Thick Paint Brushes


1. Using the crayon, draw a simple (not complex) design on the watercolor paper. The thicker the lines of the drawing are, the better the design will show through.

2. Using the paintbrush, apply water to the entire piece of paper. Be thoughtful: not too much, not too little.

3. Drip food coloring in small splashes around the paper, and using the straw, blow on the dye, allowing it to spread over the paper. You will see the simple design begin to show through. See how different dye colors blend together to make other colors.

4. Once your color is the way you like it, sprinkle salt over the entire picture. This creates an interesting texture. Experiment with more salt here and less salt there.

5. Let paper dry overnight. When dry, dust off remaining salt.

Closing Comments: This is a quick, fun project that had all of the kids really excited and looking to do more at home. It can be a bit messy, so be sure to have plenty of wipes and paper towels available. We found it worked best to put the paper into trays that could accommodate any extra spillage.

Lesson Title: Batik and the Wax Resist Technique
Room#, Grade, Teacher: B3, Second Grade, Mrs. Ware
Docent/s: Kelley Hofmann, Margaret Bagshaw
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Wax Resist, Simple vs. Complex Design, Color Theory


One Response to “Batik and the wax resist technique”

  1. Roxanne May 22, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Congrats on finding a simple, satisfying way to do batik! I balked at hot wax and experimented at home with a glue method that turned out to be nearly as fussy as wax. I might do a lesson like this next year if I’m a docent again. -Roxanne

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