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The Art of Batik

Wax-resist dyeing of fabric is an ancient art form that is historically used in Egypt, Asia, and Africa. The art of Batik uses wax and dye to create alluring visuals on fabrics. However, the art of Batik is most highly developed in Java, Indonesia. Historically, it is essentially used for Javanese ceremonial costumes. It was also worn as a part of the Javanese kebaya dress, which is commonly worn every day. 

Batik, as an art of expression, could be achieved in different techniques. One is the kalamkari Batik which uses a dip pen. Another is the block Batik print where blocks are wax-dipped and stamped onto the fabric. The splash Batik technique where wax is splashed onto the fabric, the brushed Batik that uses a brush to apply wax on fabric, and the screen Batik which is similar to screen printing.

Modern-day Batik is all about innovation. Modern styles of batik are also more of a mix of various art forms such as painting, etching, blocks, use of stencils, and various other tools for discharge of wax.


The art of Batik is a labor-intensive process with several steps in order to achieve the desired result. 

  • Preparing the fabric – Before the dyeing process, the fabric should be defoamed and emulsified. The fabric that would be used in dyeing is soaked in Turkey red oil (Sulphate Castor oil). However, RTD ( ready-to-dye), RFS (ready-for-dyeing), and PFD (prepared-for-dyeing) fabrics could be used to save resources and time. 
  • Stretching the fabric – The fabric is stretched onto a wooden frame or a hoop to keep it flat. 
  • Preparing the wax – The mixture of wax is prepared and melted at a temperature ranging from 220 – 240 degrees. 
  • Applying the wax – The wax could be applied in different ways as mentioned above.
  • Dyes preparation – Natural dyes or synthetic colorings are commonly used.
  • Dyeing – Applying colors onto the fabric to create designs. Lightest colors to be put on first and darker colors, successively. 
  • Rinse and wash
  • Wax removal – The fabric is dipped in hot water to completely remove the wax.

Batik is an ever-demanded craft for its charming uniqueness and motifs. 

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