Magic Frogs Rising  detail with wax build up before ironing out

Magic Frogs Rising detail with wax build up before ironing out

When the Batik has gone through all the waxing, dyeing and rinsing stages desired it is time to remove the wax. See my photos of batik before the wax is removed. You can see quite a build up of wax.There are several ways to remove wax. First, many scrape the loose wax from the fabric before anything else is done. (This is not necessary). The wax can be then be reused if heated and strained through cheesecloth. Wax can be removed by immersing in boiling water, when cool, the wax on the top can be picked off and the fabric dried and ironed free of wrinkles. (I feel this method to be risky to use on a detailed batik image.) I iron the wax out of the fabric. As with all heating of wax processes, the fumes should not be inhaled. So iron out only in a well ventilated area. Industrial masks with filters are available as well to protect against fumes. Dry cleaning solvents are available, but should be used after most the wax is ironed out.

When I iron the wax out, I first prepare a flat table with several layers of old printed newsprint, then a layer of plain newsprint or paper towels. Do not let the batik touch printed newsprint or the headlines may become a prominent part of the image. Place the batik on top of these layers and then cover first with plain newsprint or paper towels, then several layers of printed newsprint. The printed paper helps to keep the costs down and all plain newsprint can be used if desired. The iron now moves over the whole image until the paper is saturated with wax. Then all the waxed paper is removed and new is placed under and over the batik. The process is repeated until no more wax is absorbed into the paper. The time it takes varies depending on how much wax is in the image and the size of the batik.  Always keep in mind the flammable nature of wax. Dispose of the waxed paper carefully.

Ironing Magic Frogs completed

Ironing Magic Frogs completed

Batik paintings that have the wax removed always come with surprises from the interaction of wax and dye. It is fascinating to me. With ironing, the batik always have a wax residue that gives a slightly stiff parchment like feeling to the cloth. After ironing, dry cleaning may be used to remove the rest. Solvents are available, but I do not want to have to work with or dispose of them. A finished batik can be ironed and should not be displayed in sunlight as in time all things will fade. Museum glass gives good protection here, but is very expensive.

The batik can now be mounted on a wooden hanger, another large piece of fabric, be dry mounted and framed or stretched on canvas stretches over a cotton backing. Enjoy the brilliant colors and unique veining in the wax where ever you decide to hang your batik.