There are several different types of batik dye that can be used in the batik process. In this section we will cover the pros and cons of the most commonly used dyes, their common uses and a brief explanation of the process for using each.
Uses: This type of dye is best used in projects that will not be repeatedly washed.
Pros: It can produce a wide range of shades. It is very inexpensive. It can be found at most grocery stores.
Cons: It is not very washfast. May not be able to achieve bright, bold colors.
Process: This dye comes in either liquid or powder form. The powder form is mixed with water and salt to create the dye bath. The liquid form can be mixed directly with water.
fiber reactive dye
Uses: This type of dye is best used on fabrics made of cellulose fibers including cotton, rayon and linen.
Pros: Long lasting dye with excellent washfastness. Can achieve beautiful, bright and vibrant colors.
Cons: Requires additional chemicals other than the dye to create the chemical reaction necessary to dye the fabric. Can be pricey and usually has to be purchased in an art supply store or special ordered online.
Process: Using fiber reactive dye involves first mixing the dye with some type of softener, typically urea in order to fully dissolve the dye. The dye is then mixed with the desired amount of water and the fabric then added to the dye. After the fabric has sufficiently soaked up the dye then soda ash is added to the dye to help develop the color. This is the most basic method of using fiber reactive dye, there are other methods that produce different effects, which I encourage you to explore.
Uses: Can be used for fabric made from all types of natural fibers.
Pros: Can be inexpensive if you already have, grow or can wildcraft the materials needed to dye.
Cons: Can be extremely expensive if you have to special order the dye. Does not produce the bright vibrant colors that other synthetic dyes can produce. Tends to fade over time, although some find the fading adds character to their work.
Process: Using natural dyes requires several steps. First, the dye must be extracted from the material from which it is derived. This typically involves simmering the plant material for several hours to extract the dye. The fabric must be pretreated with some type of mordant to help develop the dye. The most common type of mordants include salt, vinegar and alum. The fabric is then placed in the dye and often simmered or left for several hours or days to create the optimal color.
There are other types of dyes that can be used for batik including acid dyes which work best for protein based fibers including wool and Kool-Aid dye which can be used as a fun part of batik projects for kids.
batik dye tips
- Before you use any type of dye on a major project it is always advisable to create a sample swatch so you know how the fabric reacts to the dye before you dye your entire project.
- Remember to wash your fabric before dying to remove any sizing or oils that might cause uneven penetration of the fabric.
- It also advisable when using powder dyes to wear a face mask so that you do not inhale toxic dye powder.
- You will also want to wear gloves when dying to avoid dying your hands or coming into contact with harsh chemicals.