Batik is a way of decorating cloth by covering a part of it with a coat of wax and then dyeing it. The waxed areas keep their original color and when the wax is removed the contrast between the dyed and undyed areas makes the pattern. This is called resist dyeing. Wax is prepared by mixing bee wax and paraffin wax. Resin is added when the wax is hot and acts as a binder. The wax has to be absolutely clear and thin to penetrate the other side of the cloth. Cotton and silk cloths are usually used for batik printing that are first bleached and dried overnight. These are laid out on a table that is kept cool with sand and water. Wax printing is done either with the hand, using a brush or with wooden blocks depending on the desired result.
After the initial printing, the fabric is soaked in napthol. Then it is dipped in a cold dye of the lightest color, say yellow, for ten minutes. Once it is dry, it is waxed where yellow is needed and dyed in the second color, say red. This process is repeated as many times as the numbers of colors required. The characteristic effects of batik are the fine cracks that appear in the wax, which allow small amounts of the dye to seep in. These are actually formed by the cold dye bath. After the multi color dyeing is done, the fabric is dried and placed between two layers of absorbent papers. The wax needs to be ironed out of the material into the paper. Dipping the fabric in hot water can also get the wax to come off.
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