- by Lea Cioci, CPD CPT
Batik is an ancient method of applying colored designs to fabric. This tutorial will explore the same principles of batik on fabric but apply them to using them on paper. The paper used for this method is sturdy to withstand inks and wax, yet transparent to let colors show through.
History of BatikWherever it originated, the batik method was adopted mostly in Indonesia, especially Java. The word “Batik” derives from the Javanese word, tik, which means spots or dots. The first batiks were done by applying tiny dots of wax to fabric to form the design. By the 13th century it had become a highly developed art.
Early batik designs were thought to have magical powers, which would protect the person who wore them. Some noble families had specific designs made just for them. The family of royalty could only use the “Garuda,” a specialized symbol which was associated with prosperity and success in life.
- Rice Paper or White/Light-colored Mulberry Paper
- Watercolors, dye-based reinkers, color washes, etc.
- Solid or Solid Outline Stamps
- Natural Paintbrushes (Synthetics will melt in the hot wax)
- White Pigment Ink (Ranger Resist Pad may be used as well)
- White or Clear Embossing Powder
- Batik Wax – mix of paraffin and bees wax (Can get at craft stores or www.dickblick.com)
- Heat Tool
- Meat Tray
- Newsprint, scrap paper to protect work surface and for ironing
- Paper towels
- Empty can
- Small skillet that plugs in to melt wax
- Paper Clip pulled apart
- Optional: Gloves to protect your hands from dyes
Working on rice paper or mulberry paper are sturdy yet absorbent, so it can be stamped, embossed, wax added. Tissue paper can be used, but is more fragile and might tear during the process.
If your wax comes in a tin like this, all you have to do is put it on the skillet, the can is not needed. If the wax comes in a bar, chisel off a hunk to put in the can to melt. If you have a skillet with a temperature gauge, set it to around 200 to 225 degrees. If the gauge is low, medium, and high; set it at medium. You want heat high enough to melt the wax, but not for it to smoke.
Picture of some basic supplies.
- There are many methods for Paper Batik, but this method uses embossing and wax. You use the stamps with the embossing powder to block out areas of the paper, laying down a design pattern.
- Using white pigment ink (like the striking way it shows up, more than a resist or embossing ink pad) ink your stamps and stamp the image one at a time , pouring the EP (embossing powder) immediately over the area. Heat with heat tool to emboss. Randomly add designs but do not fill the whole page. Prepare your meat tray by adding a few sheets of paper towels inside to soak up excess ink. NOTE: Ask the meat person at a grocery store for a few meat trays that have never been used.
- Work with several colors of inks, watercolors, etc., and brush, sponge or spray several colors over the embossed designs. Let the inks dry.
Image being spritzed with color wash (Any pigmented mists or sprays can be used.)
- While you have been working on the stamping, embossing, and adding color to your paper, the wax should be heating up. In class, I have students create several 6x8 pieces of embossed, colored paper, setting each one aside to dry. They dry fairly quickly so that the first papers done will be ready to cover with wax. Note: Save the paper towels from the meat try if you’d like; let them dry. They make great textured backgrounds for collage.
- On a newsprint or scrap paper covered surface, brush wax over the paper you just embossed and colored. Cover the whole paper generously with wax. In a second or two the wax will become opaque. Crinkle the paper or use the paper clip to draw lines into the wax. You want areas to break through to the paper.
- Spray, brush, or use an ink pad directly over the wax surface, and watch the ink migrate into the cracks and crinkle that were made in the wax. Use a paper towel to remove excess ink that bubbles on the surface of the wax where no cracks were made.
- On a sturdy covered surface, place several sheets of scrap paper under and over the design. Iron over the surface (Iron on cotton setting) and you will notice the wax and EP melting onto the scrap paper. Keep doing this, changing the scrap paper until no wax comes through.
Now you are ready to use your finished designed paper in cards, collages, mixed media and other projects!
This project was created by using PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive) or decoupage adhesive, and covering a paper mache’ flask. One piece of paper was used on the base, and then other the word “art” was added on top. The decorative paper batik was also adhered to the sides and top of the flask after 2 holes were punched on the top. Fiber was added so one could wear this as a purse or to hold items.
Again, a paper mache’ object was used. This time I ripped the paper and collaged it onto the paper mache’ pear. See how where the white ink was pops?!! I added a leaf and fiber to finish this project.
It is very easy to adhere your decorative paper batik to cardstock to create a greeting card. This paper was not cracked and lines put in. Experiment with and without wax. Emboss, color, add a little wax to cover various areas, add more color, add more wax, and so on. Play with your art.
See how making cracks in the wax gives the appearance of real batik on fabric! A little gold ink was swiped on top of the finished paper to had metallic glimmer and shine.
Depending on the stamps you use, will dictate how the design looks!
Have fun creating Paper Batik! Make batches of paper and put them in a folder. Pull them out as needed for collage, cards, scrapbooks, and mixed-media.
Lea is the author of Creative Art Concepts for Papercrafts, and has many published tutorials in other books and magazines. Lea works as a consultant, designer, and instructor in the craft and hobby industry. Find Lea on Facebook – www.facebook.com/leacioci.