Batik: How It's Made

Batik is a method of decorating cloth through “dye resistance”. In this method, designs are created by preventing specific parts of a fabric from being exposed to dye. 

General Steps

  1.  The cloth is washed repeatedly and then pounded flat to remove wrinkles. 
  2.  The design pattern is added to the cloth. 
  3.  The artist covers the design in wax to prevent it from being dyed the same color as the rest of the fabric. 
  4.  The cloth is immersed in a dye bath to add color. *This process can be done repeatedly to achieve complex and multi-tonal designs.

While this is generally what occurs in the process of Batik creation, there are several different techniques that can be used to create the beautiful designs that make Batik so special. These are:

Canting Tulis

This traditional technique requires the use of a canting: a small container made of copper and wood that used to dispense hot wax. The extremely small snout at the end of the tool enables the artist to have complete control over where the hot wax is placed and how much comes out. 

This technique requires a great deal of skill and artistry due to its complexity, and each batik created using this method is unique: no two patterns are ever the same. Thus, it can take up a year to create batik using the canting method.


Printing is popular technique used to mass produce batik. In this process, a printing machine prints pre-determined patterns onto the fabric. While this method requires less artisanal ability, it is much quicker and makes batik more accessible to the general public. Plus, because everything is done by machine, the batik created are flawless. 


The tool used to create Batik through stamping is very thin and has a very, very flat base. For this technique, hot wax is melted on a stove and then used to coat the entire design on the bottom of a pre-made stamp. This stamp is then pressed into the fabric with a great deal of care and precision to make sure that the design is clear and neat. This technique is quicker than the canting tulis, but still allows for a degree of artistry. Because it is also made by a hand, a great deal of care and passion goes into the making of each piece of fabric.


This technique is also known as the tie-dye technique. For Jumputan, the fabric is first tied and then dipped into colored liquid. When the fabric is untied, the batik pattern is revealed. Because the process is so easy – even though it is all done by hand – the batik can be sold at a very cheap price, making it more accessible to the general public.


This method is similar to Canting Tulis. In this technique, the artist draws batik patterns on top of the fabric using colored dye. The patterns created can be simple or very complex and detailed. The more complex the pattern is, the more skillful the artist (and the more expensive the batik will be). With this technique, every design is created by hand.


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