Batik (pronounced 'Bah-Teak') is a technique used to dye fabrics. Batiking is a relatively straightforward process that often produces beautiful results.
First, melted wax is applied to the fabric in the areas that are to be free of dye. There are various methods used to apply the liquid wax, but brushing or directly pouring the wax are the most common. Once the molten wax cools, it hardens and penetrates into the fabric. Next the fabric is soaked in dye. The wax prevents dye from penetrating onto the fabric and therefore keeps those areas of fabric in their original color.
To remove the wax after the dyeing process, a solvent can be used. Alternatively, the hardened wax can be pressed out with an iron; the hot surface melts the wax it is pressed through the fabric. If a multiple-colored design is desired, the process is repeated for each color.
Many fabrics can be used for batiking, but plain, light colored cotton seems to work best. Cracks in the wax allow thin lines of dye to penetrate through to the fabric which gives batik its characteristic appearance.