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Paper batik – 9 Materials You Need

Materials for Batik on Paper

The art of Batik can be practiced ‘on a shoestring!’ So what materials do you need for creating a picture on paper?

This is the same information that I hand out when I run a workshop. I updated this post from one I wrote a while ago because quoted prices have changed. There is a wealth of information on the internet, but this may be helpful for beginners.

  • Paper. A wet strength Tissutex, Abaca Tissue paper or Lens tissue. Art Van Go are good for these and other materials too. Cost 3.95 for 3 large sheets.
  • A wax pot. For many years I used an old saucepan with an attached jam thermometer, heating the wax on an electric ring to 120 degrees C. The pan needed watching but I usually managed to notice if the wax started smoking. I kept an old lid to hand in case of combustion! An electric skillet can be used but this too can overheat. A thermostatically controlled Tixor Malam pot costs 84.00 but to start with a pan is adequate. I wear a face mask as the fumes can damage the lungs.
  • Batik wax granules. 6.00 for 500g from George Weil. This lasts a long time. Beeswax can be mixed in with the paraffin wax but it’s not essential. Although Soy Wax is better for the environment, it is difficult to use for fine work so I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • A brush for the wax. The type used for oil painting.
  • A canting or tjanting I use the traditional Javanese ones costing 8.00 from Textile Traders.
  • Dyes or dye inks. Watercolours can also be used but don’t spread as far unless diluted, so may be less vibrant. I use the same Dupont dyes that I use for work on silk. 7.95 from Rainbow Silks. Jacquard silk dyes or Procion Dyes can also be used. Dyes fade of course, so I always use UV protective spray on my finished work ( just before mounting) and warn to keep the work out of direct sunlight.
  • Paper towels. Useful for mopping up excess dye and holding under the canting to catch drips.
  • vinyl or plastic tablecloth to work on. The waxed paper can be peeled off vinyl easily. I stretch the paper on a frame but this is not an essential item. Also, with a frame you have to paint carefully as the paper can become saturated and break.
  • Watercolour brushes for painting.

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