Dear Art Teacher, I recently acquired a beautiful hand-fashioned batik scarf from India. The salesperson briefly explained the procedure for batik dyeing (removable wax designs,dye, etc.) but I would like a more detailed description of the process and materials and perhaps some history of this unique textile art. Is batik exclusive to India? How are cloths dyed in this fashion and used in India? I am a Brownie Scout leader with high aspirations for my troop. I would love to recreate the batik process for these 6, 7, and 8 year olds--perhaps you can also recommend a simplified version of the process for these younger girls. I have just now discovered your site through links with the Hemlock Girl Scout Web site (in Pennsylvania) and am delighted with the ideas and information you provide. Being from a rural area of PA, our girls do not have frequent opportunities to explore other cultures and the arts. Thank you, Mary THANK YOU FOR THE COMMENTS and I am glad that the website has been helpful. It is believed that the countries of Indonesia learned the Batik process from India through trade agreements. The Batik process has also been commonly used in Africa for centuries, and was believed to be used by the Egyptians. The Egyptians used a paste-like waxey substance, later beeswax was used, and today paraffin and synthetic wax substances are used. As you stated, the process of Batik is a relatively simple process of using melted wax to block and coat a design prior to dipping the fabric into a color cold water dye. The initial wax is removed and reapplied, another darker color is added, and the process is repeated again until the desired effect is achieved. The Batik process is used in dresses, shirts, uniforms, scarves, sarongs, bags, hats, napkins, paintings, eggs, bookcovers. . . Batiks designs are symbolic and can be used to tell a story. It is believed that the process was first used in southern India, but adapted by Indonesian peoples who invented a tool the "tjanting" (pronounced chanting) that was used to apply wax in fine lines. You will find an easy Batik project idea below for your scout group, lots of links about the Batik process, and some interesting links about India, a very dear friend to India-Mother Theresa, and two important conservation links. Anyone else with ideas for Batiking out there? Batik Cloth Process for Children (Adult Supervised Project) 1. Cut a piece of cotton fabric into a generous square. 2. Lay a cookie cutter on the fabric and fill it with melted paraffin wax. Repeat onto another area. Let it cool. 3. Dip the cloth into a cold water dye solution (rather than using fabric dyes use kool-aid or watercolor). 4. Let dry. Let the wax crumple off-you will like the effect. 5. Now place the cookie cutter into another area of the fabric, pour the wax, and repeat the process, this time using a different color. (c) Art Teacher on the Net 9-97 An Easier Project for Younger Children 1. Use white butcher paper instead of cloth. Wet the paper and crumple it before beginning the process and let it dry. It will have the appearance of cloth. 2. Use crayons to create designs rather than using melted wax. After each application of crayon, iron the crayon onto the cloth using wax paper or white construction paper between the crayon/ cloth and iron. (c) Art Teacher on the Net 9-97 You will find lots of Batik information and educational information below. Have a fun adventure while you are in India.