Here I have drawn a simple mask design onto some newsprint paper. I would
always advise practising onto paper first to learn the technique and newsprint
is a good cheap paper to do this on. However, you can use photocopy paper
also. I would advise you buy simple white Polycotton sheet for working
You should have your wax kettle heating up. Try to buy a decent kettle,
not a cheap one, as they always break down. The wax comes in easy to heat
bags of pellets these days which you can order from most suppliers.
You should place the kettle in a room with lots of ventilation as they
give off a powerful smell. I advise setting up a Batik work bench or strong
table, with secure electric points and take care not to leave trailing
The image below shows is a simple, cheap Tjanting tool used for batik.
They come in different shapes and some are designed like witches hats.
The flow rate is variable depending on the size of the tip. I use narrow
ones for more accuracy and slower flow rate.
You should carry the Tjanting tool over to the work resting on a paper
towel so that it does not spill onto the surface. This also helps to protect
your hands! The wax will not result in severe burns, it is not that hot,
but I always practice caution. If the wax gets onto skin it causes a mild
scorching feel but then dries and cools quickly.
Even with a practised steady hand, you will find it difficult to follow
your guidelines completely accurately. Don't worry about this, it actually
improves the design to have some wobbles. Even some small spills are not
a problem. You will need to practice this however, it takes a little time
to get the hang of it.
It is really important to make sure that the wax is hot all the time
when doing this. Sometimes you get so focussed on drawing with the wax
that you allow the Tjanting tool to get cold. This is not good. The wax
needs to be hot enough to soak through the material/paper onto the other
Now we need to dye the paper/fabric. For school use I use powdered inks,
called Brusho Inks (available from most suppliers) I mix them up in plastic
containers on a need to use basis as they don't keep too well. I advise
a separate brush for each colour to avoid colour contamination.
I try to encourage the students to mix colours and shades on the surface
of the paper so that the colours are more interesting. When the dye stage
is complete you need to remove the wax. When working on paper this is
not important but when working on material you need to remove it. Simply
insert the design between sheets of newsprint or newspa per and iron the
design with a hot iron. The wax then soaks into the paper and is absorbed
away from the design.
To finish your work to this standard you need to sew some wadding to
the back of the fabric. Wadding is very cheap and easy to obtain. A simple
running stitch is sewn around the outside edge of the design and along
the wax batik line traced with the Tjanting tool. You should then complete the piece with applique techniques. This is where stitching, small beads and sequins
etc are added to create beautiful effects.