Today I am thankful for…
This is the high school bus which leaves at 6:48am from the end of our street. Since I’m usually still in my jammies and working on making breakfasts/lunches I’m so very grateful to this bus driver that she arrives on time and gets Amanda to high school and back every day. God bless the bus drivers…for real.
Ok the batik saga…here it is. I received all the supplies for Christmas. I had a piece of pink that had been dyed via low immersion process all set to use.
I cut the piece in half so that I would have two tries at batik’ing.
I pulled out a cookie sheet, flipped it over and put a piece of parchment paper over it to use as a work surface. I did this so that the wax that seeps through wouldn’t end up stuck on my counter top.
Next, I melted Batik wax in my new melting pan. The wax had a funny smell so I opened a window near the kitchen so I wouldn’t kill the parakeets. They are VERY sensitive to smell and not in a good way. The wax has to be extremely hot in order to saturate the fabric from front to back. As I learned, a window open near the wax is a deterrent to this process. The wax was cooling too quickly. I had to close that window and open another farther away.
Here are some of the tools I thought I would try. Some worked, others didn’t. The Tjanting tools are pens in different thicknesses that you fill with wax. The problem here is that the hole in the pen is too far up the handle and instead of dipping the hole in the wax to fill it, I had to spoon it. I used several plastic spoons because as they melted from the heat, they formed a perfect lip to pour the wax into the pen. I tried dipping pepper rounds and an every day rubber stamp to get a design on the fabric. Neither of those worked.
I ended up doodling different designs on the fabric with a pencil. I wish I had more time to think of some gorgeous design but I didn’t. I was getting frustrated that the medium and small Tjanting pens seemed to not be working correctly. I poured the wax in and the wax would harden in the pen nib making it impossible to get any wax onto the fabric. The thickest pen seemed to work but I realized that unless the wax was smoking hot, it would harden in the pen.
Here I was doodling with wax.
I got some good doodles in but when I flipped the fabric over, not all of the wax had saturated the fabric. In some instances, I redid the doodle but once the first layer of wax was down, the second layer did not penetrate it…in other words, I was out of luck. Next time, I’ll scrape the wax off that doesn’t penetrate and then try again.
Here you can see the back of the fabric and where some wax penetrated and a lot didn’t.
Next I had to overdye the pink fabric with a darker color. I did a low water immersion dye bath with turquoise dye. Once the dye process was over, I started washing the fabric in cold water (several times) and then in hot water with Synthropol. Now came the part where I had to get the wax off the fabric. This was amazingly easy. I put the fabric in a stock pot (a craft dedicated stock pot) and boiled it for a few minutes with a few squirts of Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap (got that at Whole Foods). The wax came right off…no ironing the wax in between layers of newspaper for this girl. I read about the castile soap on a website and I was sold!
I was interested to see if the designs that were not saturated through on the fabric showed up or not. They showed up very faintly on the front and not at all on the back.
Here is a close up of the front.
So what did I learn, you ask?
The wax HAS TO BE VERY HOT or it doesn’t go through the tool and it also doesn’t penetrate the fabric on both sides.
Work in a ventilated space.
Have a great design drawn out on your fabric before you begin (the pencil marking is washed away so no worries about seeing it on the finished product).
If you bring a pine cone in from the outdoors to try stamping with, beware of the many creatures that come out of it when you set it on your counter…blech…threw it right away and never used it.
Use a disposable lid to catch wax drippings as you carry the Tjanting tool over to the fabric. Wherever wax lands and saturates your fabric is where you’ll have a design (intended or not).
I will try the process again in a few days and see if I can make a nice looking batik. It was fun but slightly frustrating as all new ventures can be. This piece of fabric can be cut up and used in a project at a later date.
So that’s it…Have a terrific Thursday!