The Secrets to Adire Batik Making

Batik is an ancient form of resist dyeing. The process of Batik involves using dye-resistant wax to stamp patterns and designs repeatedly on the fabric, and the wax is then washed to reveal the batik pattern. This fabric-dyeing method makes cotton look crackled. Initially, wax and even rice starch were used for printing on fabrics. Traditionally batik is done using batik wax or rice wax, Batik Wax is a blend of paraffin wax and bee’s wax. This batik wax wasn’t so user-friendly which led to the use of an easier to use wax called Soy wax, which is made by the full dehydrogenation of soybean oil. It is typically softer than paraffin wax and has a lower melting temperature i.e., it burns slowly.

Adire Batik is usually different from other form of Adire because it is crafted in a way such that it has to undergo the delicate and repeated process of waxing dyeing and boiling. The wax works as a color blocker in the dyeing process, it will be used to cover every part of the fabric that does not want to be stained with the dye.  Batik can be done with many types of dye & wax on cotton, silk and other natural fabrics. Batik fabric are not just restricted to clothing they can also be applied as household décor which could involve murals, paintings, wall hangings etc.

The Red and Black Adire Batik Cotton Fabric

We would be discussing a few hacks in making Adire batik fabrics

  1. PREWASH YOUR FABRIC: Wash your fabric with warm water and a detergent that is soft on fabrics before dying to remove dirt and chemicals from the production process. This process is important because these dirt and chemicals can block the dye from reaching the fabric evenly, they can also affect the imprinting of the wax on the fabric.
Adire Lounge dyeing hack.
  • Before the dyeing process it is important you have certain PPE (Personal protective equipment) before you start the batik process, Protective equipment’s like rubber gloves, nose masks etc.

  • It is also important that you stretch your fabric before the batik process, also remember to lay your fabric on an even surface, you should also lay old newspapers or cardboard on your work surface below your fabric. The wax would penetrate through the fabric, so a protective surface underneath is highly recommended before you start imprinting.

  •  Wax comes in a brick form that needs to be properly melted, while melting it is advised to use a stove because this heats the wax at a slower rate. Generally, wax is flammable, do not heat over 240c as it could start emitting fumes which could be dangerous. During this process it is important to regulate your wax temperature so it doesn’t solidify, it should be hot enough to penetrate through the fabric, but not so hot and thin that it would run off while applied.

  • While making prints with your stamp on the batik fabric make sure you dip your stamp into the wax after or three imprints, this is important so some prints don’t look really lighter than the others.
Our Artisan Iya Salim, making prints on a fabric with hot wax.
  • After the batik process is done, the next step is to dye the fabric it is recommended you begin with lighter colors and then move towards darker colors if the fabric is going to be multicolored. Dissolve your dye and follow the instruction on the package, add your fabric and stir gently but frequently for about 20 minutes. When your done rinse your fabric and wash off the excess dye.
  • The Final stage involves removing the wax, you add the fabric into a pot of boiling water, weigh it down with a rock, this would aid the wax from re-bonding with the fabric, the wax which would be floating at the top would go to the rock and not the fabric. Allow the pot to cool completely. Take out the fabric and wash one last time, the you hang them to dry.

(PHOTO) Did you enjoy reading this post? If you are interested in learning the Adire batik skill in less than a month at a pocket friendly price we, have you covered at Adire Lounge. We offer a course where the participants will be taught basic tie and dye techniques, tie and dye fabric identification and other related topics. The training is suitable for anyone who is interested in the art of Adire making but has little or no prior knowledge of the skill. Send us an email at to get started.

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