How to Batik Dye

How to Batik Dye

The basic concept of batik dye is that where the wax is placed it does not dye. Hence this creates your batik design! Learn to do it yourself in these step-by-step instructions.

What you need

Loose Fabric or Fabric item
Paraffin wax
Fabric dye
Uniodized salt
Paint brush
Paper towel


Fabric Preparation: Fabrics such as percele, fine silk, muslin or cotton work well for this project as they are the most easiest fabrics to dye.

If you are working on a flat piece of fabric prepare it by washing, drying and ironing the piece. This will remove any starch, dyes and avoid shrinkage later.

Your Design: Place the fabric on a flat surface and using a pencil or dressmakers chalk draw out your design. You can transfer the design using carbon paper, freehand or iron on a fresh photocopy for a ink transfer.

Melting the Wax: Paraffin wax is the cheapest of waxes and is great to use, but it can crack giving a mottled effect if you want to avoid this then use beeswax. You can also use paraffin with beeswax together.

You can melt the wax in a double boiler method (pan on pan) the same as you would melt chocolate. Or melt it in a heavy based saucepan. Heat the wax to around 170’F (80’C) making sure that your wax does not get to flash point.

Never leave hot wax unattended and if fire occurs do not use water but a blanket or sand to extinguish fire. Once it has completely melted lower the heat right down.

To Paint With Wax: Use a small brush and dip it into the hot wax and apply it to the fabric in even strokes.

Remember you are painting where you do NOT want the dye to go.

If the wax just sits on top and does not absorb into the thread, then your wax is not hot enough by the time it reaches the fabric, so either work closer to your stove or quicker.

To Dye:
Make sure you have taken the obvious precautions of wearing an apron, gloves and protecting your work area. Mix the dye as indicated on the packet you are using. Add a teaspoon of salt to every quart of liquid this will work as a fixative. Make sure your directions do not require extremely hot water as the wax will melt off your fabric, you need a warm water dye no warmer than 80’F (30’C). If you have a hot water dye to dissolve the dye then just allow it to cool before dipping the fabric.

Before Dying soak your fabric in a lukewarm water bath this will allow the dye to soak in evenly. Then slowly emerge fabric into dye bath, be careful not to crack you wax design or you will get a crackled effect. Leave the fabric in the dye for 20 Min’s then rinse in clean warm water. If the color is not dark enough dip it again.

Double Dye: If you are dying a second color onto your design then you need to apply the lightest color first. Reapply any wax that needs to cover your design and follow the steps again.

Crackled effect: Emerge the waxed fabric in cold water and crush it in your hands then submerge it into the dye bath.

Removing wax:
Using paper towel under and over your item, iron the fabric until all the wax has heated and lifted from the fabric. Replace the paper towel as you go until all the wax is absorbed.

Setting Dye:
Iron the whole garment well to set the dye.

Caring for your item: Hand wash or dry clean the garment.


  1. i need to know how i can do if want to paint a picture on batik….

  2. Great instructions! Very easy to follow. Thanks! Think I will try this with my grand daughters next time they sleep over for a few days.

  3. You can buy paraffin wax in the canning section of a department store. As for beeswax I get mine from my local art supply store in pellets (they melt faster than the bricks). The two waxes have different melting temperatures too – paraffin at 170oF and beeswax at about 200oF. I use an electric griddle and put the wax in the shallow aluminium container meant for short-term storage or baking. The one for cakes fits perfectly on my griddle. I also recommend as someone did earlier to use newsprint rather than paper towel.

  4. where do you buy the wax? can you buy it in bulk? is it expensive?

  5. very imformative, easy to understand. step by step instructions. covering the whole process. Thank- you for taking the time to share the unique fun and beautiful dying technique that I will enjoy for years to come and pass on to whom ever might be interested….your site was a joy to come across.

  6. It’s from my country too (Malaysia) 🙂

  7. Hey, that’s from my country! (Indonesia) 😀

  8. Great tips for batik, particularly the hint about not setting the wax on fire – to be honest I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of that.

  9. wow thanks i really needed that thanks God bless x

  10. thank you! awesome instructions for a beginner like me.

  11. ive alway wanted to know how to batik dye things, i LOVE dying fabric, it has so much possibility

  12. why does it say i need vinegar? vinegar isn’t anywhere in the instructions.

  13. Needs designs to try and maybe a history of Batik

  14. excellent instructions on this type of dye project

  15. but i was expecting some info on how much salt and base to add to what amount of water…anyway easy instructions – thanks

  16. So thats how you do it 🙂

  17. ari*saurus*rex says

    i have always wanted to know how to do batik. thank you thank you….

  18. panic_paizlee says

    I’ve done this before and I used an electric skillet to heat the wax. This way you can set the temp and it will stay at that temp and not catch fire as easily. But other then that good instructions!

  19. Should have some designs to practice.

  20. Also, I wouldn’t suggest using Paper towel to take the wax off- Newspaper is much more efficient

  21. I wouldn’t suggest using a stove to heat up the wax, that sounds pretty dangerous. Plus you would have to keep it heated on the stove to make sure the temp doesn’t drop.

  22. Looks Hard, But It will look awesome!

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