I Just got back from a little short 10 days vacation around Indonesia and Malaysia. I haven’t had any real vacation in the past two years as most of the time I am busy with my job and part-time study. I just simply needed the time off because I am pretty much burning myself with stress.
This particular article is an indirect inspiration from my vacation. Malaysia and Indonesia are quite popular with their Batik, a form of traditional fabric printing by using hot wax using an apparatus called a Canting, drawing designs on the fabric and dipping said fabric into dyes, producing magnificent works of art often worn by the local men and women. I did not visit any Batik making workshops when I visited these countries, neither did I went to a factory making these kind of fabric, not even stepping into a shop selling them!
But when I got back home. the day after, I went to the local mall and I found plain white scarves on sale. Suddenly an inspiration came up – what if I make my own custom scarf using the batik making way?
Of course, i do not have access to the full-fledged traditional batik printing materials and equipments, but like a true (or even a half-hearted) DIYer, I try to find a simpler alternative to the ancient method. Sure enough, when I researched the internet, I got plenty of suggestions using simple materials and equipments that probably most of us already in possession.
The materials and equipments needed include –
- Fabric – I did not actually buy the scarves on sale at the store, but as I was just experimenting, I am using a worn cotton tee-shirt. You can use any fabric you like, but it is best to choose natural fabric as opposed to man-made material because this method will not work well on these kind of fabric.
- Template or draw your own design – You can use a template like I did ( This was the left over material from my last project, the backing of a vinyl sticker sheet) or you can simply design yourself. Note though it wont have clean sharp lines, but using a template would help slightly to achieve cleaner lines.
- Paint – you can use any kind of paint but I think fabric paint would be best. I am using poster paint that was diluted with a little bit of water.
- Pencil – If you want to make a design without a temple, a pencil is useful to draw your desired design on the fabric.
- While Glue (PVA glue) – This is simply your typical primary school glue. It dries clear and washable. Use this to make your design on the fabric.
- Scissors – This is not essential as I am using this only to cut a piece of fabric from the tattered tee-shirt.
- Brush – Of course, you need a brush or two for this project. I am using this wide brush for colouring the fabric, but you might need a smaller fine tipped brush for your glue. I did not a different brush as the glue has an applicator inside.
First, you ‘paint’ your design on the fabric using the white glue. Again, you can do this with a template, or simply brush the design onto the fabric directly. I am using a template so the design looked sharper. When you finished designing, let the glue dry. This wont take long. Be careful not to let the fabric stick to anything or itself as it would mess up the design. Once the glue is dried, you can start painting the fabric. You can use many kind of paint – watercolour, acrylic, poster, fabric paint – depending on the strength of colour you desire. I am using a heavily diluted poster paint in Sky Blue as this is the only paint I have in hand. I just had to dilute the paint as it was dried and needed quite a bit of water to loosen them. However, if you have a fresh poster paint that is still malleable and in liquid form, you can simple use it with just a few drops of water. When you are finished, let the whole thing dry again, preferably overnight so the colour can set it. When it is dry and you are satisfied with it, you can then rinse the fabric to remove the glue and reveal the design. Iron the fabric with the glue side on a tissue or parchment paper so the excess glue can be transferred on the paper. The finished product. As you can see, the colour on this experiment is not as vibrant as I wanted, but it is merely because I was using heavily diluted poster paint and I did not wait overnight for the color to set in. But in a way the experiment is a success, and I am eager to use this method to make scarves in my own design.
This is a great DIY project to do on any fabric you wanted your own touch of creativity.