Sunday, February 3, 2008

Soy wax resist

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try more surface design techniques. Tonight, while the rest of the world was watching the Super Bowl, I tried out soy wax resist. I purchased the “Microwaveable Soy Wax” chips at Michaels craft store in the candle-making section.

It only took a few minutes to melt the chips in a small glass bowl in my microwave. I used a small plastic medicine measuring cup, dipped it in the wax, and randomly stamped it on white fabric. I did not use PFD – “prepared for dyeing” – fabric. This was just cheap white cotton I had on hand. After the wax cooled, I applied yellow and green Jacquard Textile Color straight out of the jars. I brushed it on first, but found it easier to manipulate with my hands, like finger paints. (It washed off my hands and from under my fingernails easily.)

The instructions say to let the fabric dry and then iron it to heat set, but of course I was too impatient for that! I tried heating the fabric in the microwave on a few layers of paper towels. This seems to have done the job of heat setting (since when I rinsed it out under hot water, the color stayed very strong), with the added benefit of making some of the wax melt out into the paper towels. After that, I rinsed it in very hot tap water, and pressed it.

The effect is similar to batik, but without as much crackling as with other waxes. It was easy and fun, and I'll be eager to try out some other tools for applying the wax, different patterns, and using other fabric dyes and paints on top of the wax resist.


  1. nice work! If you want crackling... freeze the fabric and wrinkle as woon as you remove from the freezer!

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