Batik is a method for producing designs on fabric with the use of wax resist. In Javanese tradition, wax is used to paint the shirt which is bathed in dye afterwards. The result is a shirt tainted with the color of the dye except on parts where there is wax. What makes batik printing look cool on shirts is because some areas will appear to have cracked lines. Batik masters are known to produce more complicated designs through the use of layering dyes.
Batik printing is a great way to design plain shirts. You can choose the color of the shirt, but light colors would yield better results. You can choose one or many colors of dye to use for the printing. More colors give more fun outputs, but a single color is also interesting.
To try batik printing, you will need a plain white shirt, some warm water and detergent, batik wax, dyes in your chosen color, an embroidery hoop, tjanting tools, and a tub for your shirt.
Batik printing starts with washing the shirt with warm water and detergent. This is to remove impurities that might affect the quality of the shirt. Afterwards, the shirt will be soaked in the base color. This is the color that will show on the waxed places, since later dyeing will not show on them anymore. This step is skipped if the desired output has white waxed areas and different colored batik regions. Meanwhile, the wax is melted.
The shirt is stretched on an embroidery hoop to make designing the print easier. Designing the shirt can now begin. Tjanting tools are traditionally used for more control on the strokes. Different tjanting tools can produce thinner or thicker lines which would show some variation on the pattern. Once the design is finished, the cloth needs to be washed in warm water and detergent again before it goes through different dyes. If you intend to use more than one color, start with the lightest.
In some areas, batik printing can be done without the use of wax. An elastic band can be tied around the shirt while it is soaked in dye, but this produces limited designs since the bands will always show in circles once the shirt is stretched out. For more complicated designs, wax resistance is the better option. However, if you’re scared of handling wax or aren’t sure if you can be successful in coming up with batik prints on your shirt, you can let the professionals handle it. Batik masters can come up with elaborate designs that you will surely marvel at. Customized shirts involving batik prints can be done for you and your friends, and since it’s hard to control the dye, each one of you will have a shirt that is unique but still similar.
You can even have a favorite icon or image painted in wax so that it will go with your batik shirt. Feel free to wear the shirt any day, but most people love to wear it in the summer. Have you seen or tried making batik-printed shirts before? Is there a particular design you want to have on your shirt? Share your stories below.