Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crayon Batik - Guest Post

(It's fabric dyeing week over here at Seamstress Confessions! Yesterday you saw my trials and tribulations with solid color dyeing... today my good friend Shaylynn is going to introduce you to a mock batik dying with crayons!)

Hey, everyone! This is Shaylynn from Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe. Thanks so much to Elena for allowing me to guest post! Today I'm going to teach you how to dye fabric using crayons. You can make something like this:

It all began with Ukrainian eggs! A couple of months ago, I was excitedly talking to my art teacher about pysanky, in which eggshells are decorated with bright dyes using a wax-resist technique. This made her remember a project that she did in art school: batik.

Those of you who frequent fabric stores might recognize that word. The really pretty, brilliantly colored fabrics with intricate designs at around $15 a yard? Yup. Those are imitation batik fabrics. Traditional batik is even more expensive because of the ardourous handmade process. A swath of fabric is dyed in a light color, and then beeswax designs are drawn onto the fabric by hand to "lock in" the light color. The fabric is then dipped in a darker color and waxed again, and the process is repeated many times before the dye is allowed to set and the beeswax is removed.

Just as I made Sharpie Easter eggs because I didn't have the tools for pysanky, we figured out how to "cheat" at batik using crayons! (It's not an original idea-- I had seen it done once before on a blog called Suzy's Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom).

This is definitely a do-and-learn project. If you attempt it and have any tips for me, please share!

DIY Crayon Batik
Crayons (the perfect way to use up that old box of broken crayons-- my family had two shoeboxes full, but we only used half a box in art class, shared between six or seven batik projects)
Muffin pan (mini muffin pan recommended for lots of colors/mixing)
Heating tray or oven
White cotton fabric
Cold water dye (hot water will melt the wax) and gloves
Cheapie paintbrushes

Now, the whole idea is that you paint the crayon wax onto the material, crumple it, spray the black dye into the cracks in the wax, and iron the wax off the material. The dye from the crayon will remain, all pretty and bespeckled with the black dye.

And as a bonus, you get these weird flat crayon discs.

I've all sorts of pictures to help you along. :)

Start by peeling the crayons and putting them in a muffin pan. Melt them on a heating tray (or in the oven-- beware that they will cool quickly in that case). Then prepare your design on the cotton.

(At this point I'm going to point out that my Celtic knot is not a real knot because I made several mistakes in the over-under pattern!)

Use cheap paintbrushes to paint the melted crayon onto the cotton (the paintbrushes will be ruined). Once the wax is on, there is no getting it off-- so be careful! Start with the main design first.

Make sure that the crayon has completely permeated the material. I set the cotton on the heating tray between each color to make sure that the dyes really "set."

This is important! We ruined our first attempts because crayon cools quickly and cool wax just sits on top of the fabric. The color didn't set.


Continue this process until the entire piece is covered with crayon.

This was my first project, a pseudo "Dan-Cheong" based off a Korean style of architectural painting.
 I did not heat the material between colors. Instead, I melted everything all at once and made the colors run.
Be sure to melt the wax between each color and pay attention because you don't want the colors to run together.

Then wrinkle it up!

Every time you wrinkle the fabric, it creates cracks for the black dye to seep into. Don't wrinkle too much or else your final piece will be almost completely black. (Yes, another thing learned the hard way.)

Spray the dye onto the material and let it set as per label instructions.

Next, place the material between layers of newspaper and heat the iron to the highest setting.

Iron the wax out of the cotton.

This is a tedious process. DON'T keep ironing after the wax is showing through the newspaper or you will do what I did and re-melt the wax back into the material, creating a big mess and making colors run. Change the newspaper several times a minute.

Iron until the fabric loses its stiffness. Rub the material with a paper towel. If no color rubs off, you are good to go.

I haven't tried putting this through the wash. I figure that as long as no color rubs off, it isn't going to stain anything.

Do whatever you want with your handmade art fabric! I turned mine into a decorative pillow, proving that I cannot sew a straight line (it's horribly loppy!). Now my Celtic-knot obsession gets to live on my bed! It even matches my curtains. :)

Enjoy! Thanks for having me over here on your blog, Elena!

By the way, you should totally check out Elena's SUPER GEEKY AWESOME guest post over at my blog! I'm not going to tell you what it is. Drop whatever you are doing and go check it out.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to the writer of this article. I appreciate your effort in making this informational blogs. I know it's not easy to do this but you have done a really great job. I'm pretty sure your readers enjoying it a lots.


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