The Most Recent Email Answered

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 
(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.

Learn About Batik. Take an Adventure through India, Meet Mother Theresa, Help Save the Tigers

What is Batik?
Symbolic Meaning in Batik Art & Good Examples
Easy to Understand Overview of Batik
Cross Curriculum Batik Project and Lesson Plan
How to Dye with Kool-Aid "Really Cool"

Batik Easter Eggs (And other Kinds)
A Must Do, Batik Leaf
Try these recipes from India
All Aboard. You are on Your Way to India.
Learn about India while you play this interactive game.

A Great Site. Learn about India's Tigers and Help Save Them.
Learn about this project to save the Siberian Tiger.
The late Mother Theresa began her love affair with the people of India in l948. A Must Read!
More Art Ideas