Class Details for Batik

Number of Lessons: 5
Price: US$ 50.00
Tutor: Marjorie McWilliams
Start Date: To Be advised
Weeks Open: 7.5

This course will teach you the traditional (and a few not so traditional) methods of the ancient art of batik. We will not be using soy wax but paraffin, bees wax, or a combination of the two along with Procion MX dyes. These five lessons are a combination of two batiking courses Marjorie taught at Quilt University with the addition of video so you get a bird's eye view of how she works. The lessons will encourage you to look at art making, fabric designing, and perhaps life itself in a little bit of a different manner. This could be the springboard you have needed to bring something unique and exciting into your quilting projects. Are you in a creative slump? Try your hand at batiking and see if that doesn’t trigger your brain to bigger and bolder color and designs!

Supplies and Outline

Procion MX powdered dyes and the proper fabric is absolutely essential to your success in this class. Do NOT substitute other kinds of dye or supplies. They will NOT make you happy and confusion will follow. Please buy what is on this list. If you have questions, contact me BEFORE you spend the money and then wonder why your projects are turning out different from the pictures.

Supplies marked with an asterisk (*) are available online at these fine stores:

You will need:

Procion MX powdered dyes: Do NOT buy liquid Procion! I recommend that you buy a total of 8 ounces of powdered dye for each color. You can buy a minimum of TWO 2 ounce jars each if you want to be on the conservative side, but if you plan on dyeing more than what is in each lesson or will be taking more of my dyeing classes, buy the 8 ounce jars.

I strongly urge you to use the colors listed below as your primaries. Other dye instructors may use different primaries, but please note that all recipes in this course are geared towards these primaries. Substituting other colors will give different results so be prepared for that.

Here are the names and numbers used to identify the colors at these major companies:



Sky Blue #26

Fire Red #10

Bright Yellow #2


Medium Blue - PMX072

Fire Red - PMX030

Lemon Yellow - PMX004


Red #412

Sky Blue #504

Yellow #214


Brilliant Yellow 


Royal Blue


Bright Royal MX - 2R

Scarlet Red MX - 3G

Lemon Yellow MX - 4G

A minimum of three yards of 100% cotton, UNBLEACHED muslin: Be sure that you buy muslin that is free from wrinkle guard or perma-press treatments. No blends. No BLEACHED white cotton.

Prepared For Dyeing Muslin (PFD) is fine but know your supplier because not all PFDs are created equal. Contact me if you are uncertain about what you have or what you are contemplating using. 

WARNING: You may be tempted to use muslin from your stash, or something inexpensive in the sale bin at your local fabric store. Most cotton muslins these days are a blend or have perma-press or wrinkle guard finishes. These additives will block the bond that the dye makes with the fibers resulting in pale colors or colors that will wash out or fade.

A thermostatically controlled fry pan or old double boiler. (You can often find these at thrift stores or buy one new for less than $30.00.) Using a thermostat is the safest way to heat flammable wax. I highly recommend this tool. Best to have the lid with it too in case there is the need to snuff flames……..

Old cookie sheet or a metal tray to go under your fry pan and catch waxy drips

Fire extinguisher and the knowledge of how to use it.  Be safe!

Paraffin, bees wax, or batik wax. About 2 blocks will be plenty. If you buy a pan of Dharma’s "Batik Wax", order 2 pans.

Stretcher bars or an old wooden picture frame that will accommodate a piece of fabric that is 45" wide. Your local craft store probably has stretcher bars that can be assembled, too.  See Note below.

Push pins

Access to water

Plastic tubs that hold 1 gallon of water or more.

Old paint brushes in various sizes and widths.  No nylon bristles! New ones are nice, but understand that once they are dipped in wax, they are batik brushes for the rest of their little lives.

1 box of plain salt (grocery store). Non-iodized, please.

Washing soda (aka: Soda Ash/Sodium carbonate). Most dye houses sell this but it can also be bought at a pool supply store or at the grocery store.  Made by Arm and Hammer…yellow box.  Buy the kind that does NOT contain bleach.

Note:  For students in Europe, sometimes you can find a product called “Natron” in supermarkets. “Holste Wasch Soda” is another product you can order online from

Small plastic yogurt cups, baby food jars, or other containers suitable for mixing dyes. (Do not use containers that you would like to use again for food preparation.)

Paint thinner. 1 gallon should do it.  Do not buy the low emissions kind, as it does not work as well as the regular paint thinner.  (See note below)

Area with good ventilation for working with the hot wax and paint thinner.

Note:  If you have an allergy to paint thinner or would like a more natural way to remove the wax, I will show you an alternative process that simply requires a large pot for boiling water on the stove.

Large funnel, if using the paint thinner technique mentioned above.

Measuring spoons. (Do not reuse these spoons for food preparation. It is very nice to have a 1/8 teaspoon for mixing dye powder but if not available, using good guessing techniques will do.)


#2 pencil

Rubber gloves

Dust mask.  (The cheap kind you buy at the hardware store that has a bendable metal clip at the top is fine).

Iron.  Use an old iron.  Do not use your good one…if you must, then so be it. I will show you how to clean it well when we are done with the class but I am warning you, it may never quite be the same again. Thrift Stores are a batik artist’s best friend.

Wooden paint-stirring sticks

Ironing board

Lots of old towels

Several roll of paper towels

Lots of pads of newspaper

Clothes line

Access to a light table or bright window

Plastic kitty litter pan – (optional)

Knee high nylon to filter the dyes

For removing the batik wax we will need one ream of non-glossy, cheap computer or typing paper. If you can get your hands on the ends of the rolls of newsprint, do it! Several extra rolls of paper towels will work, too. Other paper that can be used for wax removal: paper grocery bags, pages from old phone books, and recycled computer paper.

Note about Stretcher Bars: These can be purchased at the online stores mentioned or made out of 1" x 2" pine. Old wooden frames work well to stretch your fabric and secure with push pins. 

A very easy stretcher bar solution is to use wood strips held together with "C" clamps at each corner.  It‘s fast, easy and user friendly.  Be sure to paint or varnish the wood before use. Fabric dyes will stain the wood and this dye can stain future projects.  You can also simply wrap the wood in packing tape to keep the wood free from dye.

Optional Supplies

Tjanting needles of various sizes. Size 1= small, 2= medium, 3= large. Tjanting needles are metal scoops attached to a wooden handle that hold hot wax. There is a small spout that allows wax to come out in a steady stream, creating flowing thin lines on your fabric. They are fun to play with if you want to get a few for some interesting effects. Cost:  $2.50-$10.00. (If you want to buy just one, get the #3 size.)  I do not recommend that you buy the least expensive ones found at Dharma Trading. They leak and are not going to make you happy.  

Dye journal-Binder paper or blank books are handy for taking notes. If you are serious about hand dyeing fabric, it is critical that you take notes regarding how much of this and how much of that went into making that sumptuous color!

Fabric pens/pencils- If you would like to get fancy and buy pens or pencils that fade or wash out with a damp cloth or washing, I would cautiously recommend these products made by Dritz:

Water Soluble Marking Pencil

Disappearing Ink Marking Pen

Mark-B-Gone Marking Pen

Fine Point Disappearing Ink Marking Pen

Always test a portion of your muslin before blazing forth with new tools.

These pens and pencils are available at most fabric stores for under $5. Anyone have other brands they like to use?  Suggestions are most welcome.

Marjie’s favorite batik tools

Left to right:

upholstery foam shaped into a point

Tjanting tool that had the spout knocked off. Now used as an extra large tool for a fast, steady stream of wax. Barrel is not brass but some other metal.

#3 (large) - brass

#2 (medium) - brass

#1 (small) - brass

double spout - brass


amazing 40+ year old nylon brush with melted handle and duct-taped wire to keep it from falling in the wax pot

1" inexpensive brush from paint store

tapered natural bristled brush, medium size

flat small natural bristle brush

small rounded natural bristle brush

flat natural bristle brush, large