Soya Wax Batik

There are several waxes that can be used for making batiks, all of which will produce slightly different results. Standard Batik Wax is a blend of beeswax and paraffin wax but soya wax makes a good alternative. Soya wax is more sustainable, plant based, natural and petroleum free wax. Our soya wax comes from renewable sources.

There are a few differences between making a batik with paraffin and beeswax and making a batik with soya wax – soya wax melts at a lower temperature and
is easier to remove from the fabric when the batik is finished but soya wax is more vulnerable to dye and soda ash so dye can occasionally spread under
the wax. Here’s a project to show some of the pros and cons of soya wax: 

Start by stretching your fabric over a frame. We’re using Prima,
a light weight white cotton, with a wooden batik frame and silk pins


Heat the soya wax in a Tixor Malam Wax Pot. The soya
wax will start to melt quicker than batik wax. Be sure to use different tools and a different pot when using soya wax. To use tools than have been
used with other waxes, wipe them clean with a solvent to remove any wax residue. 

Use a tjanting to outline the inside edge
of your frame. Different tjantings have different sized spouts so choose a mid-weight line like a size 2. For larger spouted tjantings you may need
to move faster along the fabric to avoid blobs. Try a few tjantings to get a feel for which suits your drawing style and speed. Holding the tjanting
spout against the fabric at a slight tilt (but not so much that it spills!) should produce an easy line. It can be useful to have a piece of kitchen
towel or a rag in your other hand to catch the drips. 


You can also use brushes to apply the wax. Use only natural bristle brushes as plastic bristles will melt in the wax (!). Keep the brushes hot in the wax
pot and transfer them quickly to the cloth to paint your wax. Keep dipping into the wax pot so it doesn’t cool down. 

Use empty kitchen rolls and tape rolls to stamp wax onto the fabric. Dip the tools into the wax for a couple of seconds and then stamp onto the fabric.
Don’t leave these in the wax pot. 



After your first waxing you’re ready to dye. Mix 5tsp of urea (colour
brightener), 2 tsp of soda ash (fixative) and 1/2 tsp of calgon (if you’re in a hard water area) with 1/2 litre of warm water. This is your chemical water. This solution will work for
a couple of hours and will need to be replaced after this time in order to fix your dyes. 

Separately, mix 1/2tsp of Procion MX dye with 50mls of cold
water. Do this for each colour you would like to use. 

To mix a colour, use a pipette to select the liquid
dyes and mix into a pot. Top up the dye with the chemical water. You want at least an equal amount of chemical water to dye but you may want more for
a paler colour. Once you’ve added the chemical water, the dye can be used for a couple of hours. 

Use your dye to paint the fabric. The dye will naturally spread and flow to the wax edges so it’s better to use less dye and let it spread naturally, coaxing
it to the edges if it does not reach. 

When your fabric has been dyed it needs to dry completely before your next layer of wax can be applied. If you can, leave your dye to dry naturally over
night so that the dye can properly fix to the fabric. If you’re in a rush, use a hair drier on a cool setting so as not to melt the wax. 

Your second waxing will preserve any areas of colour that you want to keep and all remaining unwaxed cloth will be open to another layer of dye. 

You can tell that the wax has penetrated the fabric if it appears darker than the cloth. If it looks white it is sitting on the surface of the cloth and
dye will be able to get underneath. If this is happening, either your wax is too cold or your fabric is damp. Make sure your fabric is completely dry
and dip your tools into the wax often, leaving them to heat up in between uses.

Soya wax seems slightly less suited to heavy layering than batik wax. The subsequent layers of wax seem to sit on the surface more and are more susceptible
to flaking off. 

After your second waxing, add another layer of dye. Remember that dyes are translucent and the base colours will come through. Here, turquoise dye is being
painted over magenta to produce purple. The pink lines left behind have been waxed.

Soya wax is more vulnerable to dyes so some dye may start to seep into the wax and get onto the cloth underneath! To avoid this where possible, it’s best
not to pool the dye on the fabric. 

A paler pink has been added to the background to make purple. 

Again, it’s better to leave your dye to dry naturally as the dye will fix better. 

When your batik is dry, iron between pieces of newspaper to remove as much wax as possible. If you want to remove all of the wax, soya wax can be removed
with warm water. Watch this space for updates after we wash this one! We’re also going to experiment with crackle and dip dyeing using this wax and
will update with the results… 

When choosing your wax, here’s a few things to remember:


  • Soya wax melts at a cooler temperature than standard batik wax.
  • Our soya wax is manufactured from renewable sources, more sustainable, plant based, natural and petroleum free. 
  • Soya wax is more vulnerable to soda ash so dye can start to seep into the wax. It’s therefore not ideal for dip dyeing or crackling – watch this
    space for the results!
  • Soya wax is easier to remove from fabric than batik wax as it does not need to be boiled out. It is therefore well suited to batiks on silk. 
  • It’s more difficult to build up layers of soya wax than batik wax as it may start to peel off
  • All tools used for Soya Wax batik should be used just for Soya Wax and cannot be used with Paraffin/Beeswax without cleaning with solvents.

For this project you will need:

Meet the Maker: Amanda Colville of Mangle Prints

My name is Amanda Colville. I’m a printmaker and artist from Kings Lynn in Norfolk.

Describe your printmaking process.

I mainly use linocut as a medium. However I also dabble in monoprint occasionally.

How and where did you learn to print?

I’ve always appreciated print and illustration, so decided to take a printmaking evening course about 7 years ago. I enjoyed it so much, I was determined
to carry on at home. I started off using a back of spoon, then managed to obtain a washing mangle, which I still use as a relief printing press. It’s
been very much an issue of trial and error, sometimes working, and sometimes things failing. It does make the process unpredictable but enjoyable.

Why printmaking?

My father used to collect antique books and also worked in a printing press when he was younger. His passion for all things ink really rubbed of on me
as a child.

I also love being able to produce a piece of artwork fairly quickly and easily at home.

Where do you work?

From my home in Kings Lynn.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

The day starts with coffee, emails and the radio. If I’m working on carving the lino, It really helps if there is music or a play to listen to. Usually
work involves moving one of the cats out of the way!

How long have you been printmaking?

For about 8 years now.

What inspires you?

Lots of things! I get drawn to anything with pattern, fabrics, textiles. Also my garden, plants, and all the wildlife in it.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

It has to be the ink itself. My favourite at the moment are the current range from hawthorn printmakers. They have an amazing range of stay open inks with some stunning colours.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

There are a few prints that I am really proud of, but one of them is my Four crows Lino print. It took a long time to carve, but I am incredibly pleased
with the finished print.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I have an Instagram and facebook page. Prints are available my Etsy shop.

What will we be seeing from you next?

I’m currently working on a new series of folk inspired prints. Drawing heavily from Eastern European folk art

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Be creative, have fun and original. Don’t be afraid to experiment and to fail at things sometimes. That’s how we learn.


See more of Amanda’s work:

Etsy: Mangle Prints

Instagram: mangleprints

Facebook: Mangle Prints

Block Printing onto Fabric with New Textile Rollers!

We’re very pleased to have a brand new roller available for block printing onto fabric! We love using screen printing inks to block print onto fabric as it
creates fast-drying washable prints. Screen printing inks are too slippery for standard rollers so up until now we’ve liked using Sponge Rollers to
print our fabrics. Sponge Rollers are great at rolling
out screen printing inks but leave a bubbly texture on the print and can sometimes be uneven. Our new Textile Rollers are slightly spongy and less absorbent – this means we can roll out slippery inks and print evenly onto fabric!
Here’s our first print with these great new rollers:


The new Textile Rollers roll out the ink evenly. When rolling out inks, try to create a thin layer of ink that looks like orange peel and isn’t squelchy. We’re using Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink in Green straight out the pot.

Because the roller is not too soft, it is easier to roll onto a carved block without picking up lots of carving lines and edges. 

We’ve printing with a piece of Mounted Lino onto our Heavy-weight Cotton. Press your block face
down onto pinned out fabric. Printing onto a slightly padded surface helps to get an even print. 

This little block can be rotated to create a repeat pattern of circles.

To see the difference between the new Textile Roller and the Sponge Roller,
we had a go using the same ink, block and fabric. The Sponge Roller works really well at rolling out the ink but is more absorbent – you need to press lightly to avoid all the ink going into the sponge. 

The resulting print is bold and the fabric is soft but the print has more of a bubbly texture and is uneven. The softness of the sponge also adds ink to
the carving lines that we may not want to show.

The following circle has been printed with the Sponge Roller on the left half and with the new Textile Roller on the right half. You can see that the new roller has picked up less of the carving lines and gives a cleaner print,
especially in the open spaces in the corners. The print is more even and has less of a texture – the only texture seen comes from the weave of the
Heavy-weight cotton. 

We’re always on the lookout for new ways to print and this new Textile Roller really improves the results when block printing onto fabric! To print your own fabric you will need:

Meet the Maker: Mariko

Hello! My name’s Mariko and I’m an illustrator and printmaker. I grew up in Hong Kong, went to school in London, travelled around for a bit, and have just moved from California to Tokyo, although I do still travel all the time. I work on commercial illustration commissions such as cookbooks, window displays and packaging, as well as spending as much time in the print studio as I can.

Describe your printmaking process.

I primarily do etchings, but am spending more time on Japanese woodblock (mokuhanga) printmaking, especially now that I’m in Japan. For my mokuhanga prints,
I start with sketches, and try to develop a simple idea in lines and shapes. I carve the woodblock slowly and carefully. This is my favourite part!
I love the feeling of the wood slowly revealing its shapes as I carve. Then I print.

How and where did you learn to print?

I did my first monoprint at kindergarten in Japan, developed basic lino-cut skills in highschool, and did my first etching on my foundation course in London.
I spent a lot of time printmaking at art college, learning silk-screen as well as developing my etching skills. I studied mokuhanga at the Nagasawa
Art Park (now Mi-Lab) residency in Japan in 2004 and fell in love with working with wood immediately.

Why printmaking?

As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved the feeling of ink and paint on paper. But I’ve never been that into painting. Somehow print adds another
dimension to how I make art, another layer of process that adds a tiny element of chance. I love that I’m not totally in control of the outcome. An
added texture there, a little highlight here, it adds up to a sometimes-unexpected beauty.

 Where do you work?

I do etching either in my printmaking co-op the Graphic Arts Workshop in San Francisco or at the London Print Studio when I’m in the UK. I do mokuhanga
at home, as there’s no need for a printing press and I can sit at my low Japanese table on the floor to work.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

There aren’t really typical days in my life, but on a day that I’m going in to the etching studio to print, I’ll start by doing any drawing prep at home,
make myself a packed lunch and flask of Japanese tea, and then drive to the studio, about twenty minutes away in Dogpatch, San Francisco. I’ll choose
a table with lots of sunlight to work at and set out all my tools. I tend to work very quickly, so I can usually cut a plate, put ground on it, draw
it, etch it, and print tests from it all in one day. If I decide to edition it, I’ll come in again and print the edition in one day.

If it’s a mokuhanga day, then I’ll stay at home and sit at my low table, and if I’m carving, will probably be there for the whole day. And the next. And
the next. If I’m printing, I like to get it all done in one day, so the paper doesn’t have the chance to dry out.

 How long have you been printmaking?

I’ve been printmaking seriously since art college, so around twenty years. Today I looked at two of my prints side by side and realised that there were
forty years between them. So maybe the answer should really be forty years!

What inspires you?

I travel all the time, visiting museums and galleries, and looking at the world around me for inspiration. I’m constantly drawing what I see, and my sketchbooks
then fill up with inspiring things. I collaborate regularly with friends on various printmaking projects and they also always inspire me.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I love my carving tools. Both my grandmother and mother also carved from wood, and I’ve inherited all their tools. My grandmother even made some of her
tools by hand. I sometimes buy old tools from Japanese flea markets if they look interesting. My prints are quite small, so I love tiny-bladed carving

I also love the barrier hand cream I got from Crown Point Press in San Francisco, for when I’m etching. It smells nice! I should really learn to use gloves,
but I can’t give up the feel of the ink of the metal plates, so barrier cream is pretty important for me.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

I often look back at the first print I made when I was around 3 or 4 years old: it’s a single rose, and I find myself trying to recapture some of that
simplicity. It’s quite similar somehow to my newest mokuhanga print of a peony.

I’ve illustrated five cookbooks for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage in the UK, each one with a slightly different style and technique, and
the most popular by far has been River Cottage veg. I made the illustrations for that book from prints of actual vegetables: it’s next level
vegetable mono-printing. I love how they came out, and am now an expert on which vegetables print well!

I’m also very proud of the project I did about fifteen years ago for the Hong Kong subway system: I made over one hundred and fifty multi-plate etchings which were then reproduced on a large scale on vitreous enamel panels to renovate an entire underground station. I sometimes go there and marvel at the sheer scale of it.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

My HK subway project is permanent and open to the public, just pop along to Cheung Sha Wan MTR station. My illustration/print work can be seen in the River
Cottage cookbooks and I try to exhibit my prints at least once a year, in various galleries. I occasionally put prints for sale into my online shop and my ceramics are for sale from faux in Hong Kong:

What will we be seeing from you next?

I’m going to spend the next year concentrating on honing my Japanese woodcut skills, being inspired by Tokyo everyday life, and making more artwork. I’m
working on several big illustration projects, so hopefully more printmaking will balance out the computer work. My collaborative printmaking project
wood + paper + box is also ongoing and a spin-off project from that, into the fold, will be touring and showing in three separate
locations this year: Philadelphia, Kansas and Tokyo.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Work hard and be determined! Find other printmakers and support each other. It’s really helped me a lot to work collaboratively and get advice whenever
I get stuck. I love going to the mokuhanga conferences and listening to the experiences of other printmakers and seeing their work first-hand. Being
able to do what you love is such a privilege, enjoy it as much as you can!

Find more from Mariko:


Instagram: @mariko.jesse


Mariko’s collaborative printmaking group: