30 June 2017

Handling soy wax and thickened dye

I had a lot of comments about washing the table cover so I sprayed it with soda ash water then folded and placed it in a zip lock bag. Then I added a splash of soda ash water and sealed it. It had been raining all day but there was a cessation and although cloudy I ran out side and hung it on the line. The sky cleared and a nice breeze dried the "former" table cover.

Let me tell you a bit about this process. 

It is actually very informative if you follow it through. Judith and I do a of of batik using thickened dyes. Early on we learned that trying to wash out still wet or even damp thickened dye could be a disaster. Smear city with the colored dyes bleeding all over the piece. This is what we do with impeccable results.

  • Many times we batik on fabric that is NOT pre-treated with soda ash. So when finished with our session we spray the front and back of the piece which was JUST FINISHED with soda ash water. We feel that within 15 minutes the fibers have soaked in the dye. This does not mean we don't batch. Next:
  • After spraying the piece, we cover it in plastic bin bags (I wash mine and use them over and over). Then I fold the piece covered in plastic into a small bundle making sure the wet sprayed fabric is touching plastic. Many time I cover the piece in bin bags flip it over and cover the other side at least partially so that wet fabric always touches plastic. Now it is a plastic covered bundle. I usually just throw it on the floor for batching or if it's cold in a warmer sunny place.
  • After an hour (minimum) or days if it's raining I take the plastic covered bundle out side, peel off the plastic as I open the bundle and peg it out on the clothes line.

  • After the piece (covered in soy wax and dried dye) is bone dry I take it off the line and back into the kitchen. I place it in a plastic basin from the Dollar Tree (a store) and boil a kettle. On a piece this size (45 X 96), it requires two kettles of boiling water. I pour the first electric kettle (2L) in the basin and immediately boil another 2 L. When that is done, I place the fabric in the boiling water and pour the second kettle over it. Then I add Ivory dish washing liquid (generous amount) over the whole thing. **Note the soap will not dissolve the wax but it will disperse it. I use tongs and move the boiled soapy fabric around until I feel that the wax is melted. Then I roll the fabric around the tongs (like spaghetti on a fork) and press it all around against the side of the sink. 
  • I may or may not rinse it in the hottest water but after rolling as much liquid out of the fabric as possible I transfer it holding something under it because it will drip into the washer and do a short (30 min) washing with cold water. I would suggest Synthropol or Prosopol (ProChems version of Synthropol). 

  •  After drying it (you can feel there is no wax left), I iron it. I have used this technique successfully even with heavy linen which I use a lot. 
This is the washed, dried, and ironed table cover:

It is "OK" but I will either add another layer or two or use it as background.

I took this picture because it looked like wax was still on it but it is clean and waxless cotton

A new 45 X 96 cotton cover going on.


  1. Great tutorial of your process! Thanks.

  2. Thank you for such a great tutorial.


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