This is a great way to make your own brightly colored batik fabric using crayons! A vintage craft come to life!
I’m always looking through my vintage craft magazines for fresh ideas, and every now and then I pick one and run with it. As a quilter, I’ve always had a preference for batik fabrics. I love the vibrant colors! Well, if you have been following my blog for any time, you probably already know that I love me some color. And the idea of using a resist to block color in areas is something that I love doing with my Ukrainian eggs. So, a mix of color and resist dyeing with crayons just seemed right up my alley.
Now before I go any further, I’m betting there was probably an easier way to do this. But I will tell you how I did it, using my instructions that came from a 1956 Workbasket magazine and a few edits thrown in from me when I ran across some minor roadblocks.
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For this project I used:
First, I cut the light fabric into two 12” squares. I wanted a colorful town street scene, so I drew in pencil the basic design that I wanted.
Okay, now we get into where I had to do some edits on my instructions. The original instructions called for melting the crayons in little cups that you make out of aluminum foil and floating them in a pan of boiling water. I instead used a deep dish griddle, added water to it and floated the muffin tin in it. Keeping the water at a simmer, it allowed the crayons to stay melted in a make-shift double boiler.
They took about 5 minutes to melt. Don’t worry- it doesn’t stink up the kitchen. Actually, this part was rather easy to do. *Edit: One of my readers suggested using candle melting plates which might work even better to keep the wax melted while painting.
Lay your fabric on aluminum foil to prevent the wax from going through to your counter. Start a small pan of boiling water to use to clean your brushes as you go. I used very inexpensive brushes for this project as I was planning to throw them away afterward.
Dip your brush in the melted wax and then start painting away! (Suggested clean up for this part of the project- I threw away the brushes, and the hardened wax was easy to pop out of the muffin tin for future use. Any residue in the pan can be re-melted in the oven for a minute or two and then wiped away). Do not pour hot wax down your drain!
Once the entire piece of fabric is covered with colored wax, it is ready for the next step- adding dye. Take each piece of wax covered fabric and wad them up in a ball, creating many tiny cracks in the wax.
The instructions called for cold water dye with good reason. If you added this to hot water- all your wax would melt! Unfortunately, the only dye that I could find that did not call for hot water was spray dye that I found at my local craft store. No problem. I simply laid the pieces of fabric out on trash bags and then sprayed the crap out of them with the spray dye. I then patted them down with paper towels to get off the extra dye and let them dry overnight.
They looked terrible at this point and I was a bit worried. But I had faith.
The next step is to lay them between two pieces of newspaper and using an iron set at the highest setting, begin to iron out the wax. You will have to change the newspaper quite often, and I’m not gonna lie, this took a while. I went through an entire Sunday paper on this project.
But look at the result! Wow!
My final step on the batik design was to add a few details with a black fabric pen.
I made mine into pretty city pillows to put on my guest bed, but you can do anything with this batik fabric that you might do with regular fabric. Quilts, tablecloths, dresses, table runners, whatever. In fact, it would probably make awesome Christmas pillows using a Christmas design.
If you enjoyed this tutorial, you might enjoy my Flip Flop Pillow tutorial. How to create a whimsical pillow that will give a room a summery look.
Or check out my Ukrainian egg tutorial– another method of batik that creates a very detailed look, using beeswax as the resist and dye, you can create amazing egg art.
For more than 150 detailed craft tutorials for all ages, be sure to visit my tutorial page.