10 Interesting Facts About Batik Wax

Wax and coloring are needed to make a beautiful batik fabric. The batik wax is required to protect the part of the fabric that doesn’t need to be colored.

To make a piece of high-quality batik fabric, we need high-quality batik wax. Here are some interesting facts about batik wax that you should know.

What The Waxes Are Made Of

Batik wax can be made of water-resistant materials, such as paraffin, beeswax, sap, animal fat, coconut oil, or micro-crystalline.

Those materials are mixed to create a perfect composition. A good batik wax can resist water, melt when boiled, and stick well to the fabric.

The Characteristic of Each Material

Each batik wax material has different characteristics and is used for other purposes. For example, beeswax has a lower melting point. It can easily stick to the fabric, but You can easily remove the wax from the fabric.

Paraffin has excellent water-resistant properties. It is also cheaper compared to the other types of wax. When a batik artist makes a batik in the humid rainy season, paraffin is the perfect material because it sets faster on the fabric.

Wood sap is also a common batik wax material. Primarily, pinewood or Shorea spec is used. Pinewood sap is also known as Gondorukem; it is used primarily to make Batik Pekalongan. Shorea spec sap is called Damar mata kucing. It sets very fast, especially at low temperatures.

Mixing the Waxes

Mixing the waxes is not easy. After that, you have to prepare a copper pan, wooden spatula, stove, wax filter, and a wax mold. To create a perfect mixture and composition, we need to pay attention to the characteristics of each material.

When mixing the waxes, make sure to melt the material with the highest melting point. After all the materials have been softened on the pan, mix everything well.

Use a clean fabric to strain the wax, and then pour it into a mold. This is the process of creating a good Batik wax.

What Determines the Quality of the Wax

Many factors determine the quality of batik wax, but the essential elements are suitable wax materials and the proper making process.

For example, when the composition is incorrect and too much paraffin is used, the melted wax will be very thick, and it won’t be easy to get the liquid out of the canting.

Different Wax, Different Function

There are three types of Batik wax. They are called klowong, tembok, and bironi. Be careful when choosing them because they are used for different purposes. Klowong wax is used in the first process of drawing with the wax.

It is when you follow the pencil trace of the pattern you have made on the fabric. Tembok wax is used to fill the vast area of a design. Bironi is used to cover blue colors.

Canting Is Used to Draw

Canting is used to apply the wax to the fabric. Canting has three parts. They are cucuk, nyamplung, and pegangan. Cucuk is like the tip of a ballpoint. It is where the ink gets out of the canting.

The artist must blow the tip of the cucuk first before it is applied to the fabric to lower its temperature.

Nyamplung is a small pot with melted wax. It is made of copper because it is a good material that can withstand heat. The third part of canting is pegangan or handle.

It is usually made of bamboo, and just like what the name suggests, this is the part where we hold the canting when we use it to apply the wax.

Copper is the most common material for canting. But nowadays, Teflon is also commonly used because it is better than copper when it comes to withstanding heat. Technology also has touched the world of batik making.

We can now find an electric canting with a special nyamplung. Electric canting allows you to melt the wax directly in the nyamplung. You don’t have to melt the wax in a separate pan.

People Can reuse the wax.

After the fabric is boiled, the wax will fall from the fabric. Batik artists usually collect and reuse the excess wax from the previous batik-making processes for efficiency purposes.

This is a typical process that will not compromise the quality of the wax.

Melt Before Use

After the ingredients are mixed, batik wax is usually sold squarely like a soap bar. To use it to make a batik, the resin must be melted first.

To melt the wax, prepare a small stove and a pan. The wax is melted on the pan before being transferred to the canting.

Melt It Right

Melting batik wax needs a proper technique. The heat of the stove must be well regulated. If it is too hot, the wax will be too fluid.

When you apply it to the fabric, it will be all over the place. But if it is not hot enough, the wax will form a clump on the fabric.

The Wax Must Be on The Right Temperature

To ensure the best quality, keeping the wax at the right temperature is essential. The best temperature for the wax is around 70 degrees Celsius. If it is too high or too low, it will be hard to control the wax flow from the canting.

Before the wax is applied to the fabric, it also must be blown first. The purpose is to adjust the temperature so the wax is not too hot and can stick to the fabric perfectly.

If you love batik and want to try making your own, you certainly can do it. You can attend batik-making classes and learn directly from expert batik artists.

You can try making one at home when you have mastered the technique. Make sure to prepare all the tools, and most importantly, a piece of lovely fabric and high-quality batik wax.