Batik (Javanese pronunciation: [Batek]; Indonesian: [Batik]), an indigenous craft from Indonesia in which the symphony of the Wooden block and Wax brings an uncanny allure to the fabric.
In India, Batik is prominently practiced in Calcutta and a small village, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
Types of Batik
- Kalamkari (Batik using a dip pen)
- Splash Batik (wax is splashed or poured onto the fabric)
- Brushed Batik (wax is brushed/stroked onto the fabric)
- Screen Batik (stencil – similar to screen printing)
- Block Batik Print (The blocks are wax-dipped and stamped onto the fabric)
How It’s done
Batik is a labour intensive craft with multiple of steps in the way to achieve the desired outcome.
- Preparing the fabric: Before any dyeing process, the fabric is soaked in TR oil (Turkey Red Oil) a.k.a. Sulphate Castor oil to defoam and emulsify the fabric. TR oil also acts as a surfactant that mixes very well with water and creates a milky base.
The fabric should be washed in a specialized detergent, PTD-Professional textile Detergent. This helps in de-starching, removing oils, sizing, pre-shrinking and removing unwanted marks and stains. It is always to suggested to use RTD(Ready-to-dye,) RFD(Ready-for-dyeing) or PFD(Prepared-for-dyeing) fabrics for saving time and resources.
- Stretching the fabric: The fabric is stretched onto a frame or a hoop that keeps it flat/horizontal.
- Preparing the Wax: This is a crucial step, the type/combination of wax used defines the amount of cracks in the design. Usually, Bee-wax and Paraffin-wax and amber are used in desired proportions. Bee-wax provide lots of cracks whereas Paraffin restrict the cracks (Bee-wax and Paraffin in 30:70 ratio.)The wax mixture is prepared in double boilers, electric wax pot or traditional fire pots at the temperature range of 220-240 degrees.
- Wax application: As mentioned above, wax could be applied in number of ways to suit the desired outcome. We can use splatter/splash, dip, brush, pen, block or screen for the application.
- Preparing Dyes: For Batik, Fibre-reactive/Vat dyes are mixed in lukewarm water tubs for best results. The chemical bonds of these dyes are permanent, hence the color doesn’t withers off after the final processing.
- Naphthol Dip: All the Cold reactive dyes are done in two steps. First, there is naphthol dip which determines the final color outcome.
- Dyeing the fabric: After the Naphthol dip, the final dipping of the fabric takes place according the color requirements. Second bath is a diazotized base/salt solution which forms non-washable dye molecules within the fibres.
Lightest colors to be put on first and successively we move onto darker colors.
- Rinse and Wash: Before the fabric is dipped into other colors, rinsed with Synthrapol and is allowed to dry properly. Note: only cold water is used in order to prevent the wax from washing away.
- Re-Dyeing the fabric if required
- Wax removal: Removing the wax by dipping the fabric into boiling water. The water is heated with the a hint of PTD to simmer/boiling temperature, fabric is dipped and stirred slowly to completely remove the wax. This boils away the wax, which you can collect later.
After the removal, not more than 40% of the originally used wax is recovered which could be reused for wax resisting.
– The imaginations to life –