Easy Batik – the verdict!


Some little while ago I got all buzzed up about an idea to do some batik. A trawl through the web came up with Dylon Easy Batik and as I couldn’t resist (HA! geddit!!) giving it a go.

I have to say firstly, it is a lot of fun.

With the consistency of cream (shake well – I forgot one time and it does separate unshaken), it paints on nicely. I was using cotton sheeting, and found it absorbed and spread, so even the finest lines came out a bit chunky. In that sense it’s limited in comparison to real batik, but something to build into the design I guess. The other main difference is that unlike batik wax it is flexible when it’s dry, so none of that lovely crackle effect. But other fabrics need testing on!

First easy batik doodles!

This is the underside of a freshly dye-painted sample. The eagle eyed amongst you might notice the batik-stuff appears speckled. It isn’t. This only happens if you use a fluffy-with-velvet-trimming-fuzz-covered surface to paint on. Oops. No matter, it all comes out in the wash.

Now that leads me on to another thing. If one were to follow the instructions one would paint on the stuff and allow to dry, pref overnight, then iron to fix (did all that), then to place the fabric flat in the dye for 30 mins (longer and the resist loses resistance), not aggitating it for fear of loosening the stuff from the fibres.

If, on the other hand, one is me, one might choose to go off recipe at the point after the ironing…

I had planned to paint and drip procion dyes, swish with water, get a nice watercolory-effect then fix with soda ash per dying instructions on the bottle. Building up by layers, some more batik-stuff, more drying-ironing-inking cycle, etc…

But, surrounded as I was by so many delicious colored inks (not fixable), I ended up using a mix of procion dye (unfixed, didn’t bother since all the other ingredients became involved), ink, dylusions spray, coffee, tea…
It was a giddy whirl of color, it was really out of my control altogether. i just decided these samples would be ingredients for non-washable creations. Simple as!

But sometimes, just knowing something won’t work is not reason enough not to give it a try. After all that ironing a certain amount of fixing must have happened. Plus I knew full well if I’d been wearing white when I did this, no amount of laundering would have got the splashes out! So I *washed some edge snippings to see what happened… just how much color loss and more importantly, washability of the stuff
Surprised by the results – less color loss than I expected, and total stuff removal (speckles n all!)
*washing: hand washed in cool water, no detergent, just til the water ran clear.

words and colors


If you’ve visited here before you’ll have to noticed two of my favourite things are words and colors.

So dying a dictionary seemed the obvious thing for me to do.

Flamboyant through to Flat, multiple ink stains

30 years ago this month I began high school.
Plea to Plough

30 years ago? Lordy!

ink soaked paper napkin squashed between Shun and Side

Equipped with the essentials dictated by the school, I now owned a Pocket Oxford Dictionary.

from Irk to Irresponible. Coffee painted on with teabag.

(At over 1000 pages and a good 2 inches thick, the average pocket size of an eleven year old child negated its title.)

Lure to Machine. Dripped inks and dye water.

Nonetheless this book has travelled with me through the decades.

Abbreviations to A. Squished inky paper

Repay through to Reproach. More inky goodness.

Battered, dog-eared, with scribbled notes in the margins here n there…

from Pylon to Quandry. Squashed strip of inky paper

… the spine went first but now it’s cover has separated totally from its papery wordfilled heart.

dip dyed dictionary

In it’s new incarnation – a colorful version of the former – it will one day become collage ingredients.

Encode to Engine. Colorex inks

As an aside, I sometimes catch a glance of myself in my art room, as if from an outsiders perspective. I’m ironing torn, stained scraps of paper. Phrases like ‘not doing anyone any harm’ in bemused but sympathetic tones echo in my head. I smile. They just don’t understand. Anyway, I do it cos I have to and it makes me happy. Nuff said.

paper dying – new techniques!


I really thought that stash of dyed papers would last a long time, but supplies are getting low, so last night I began another batch, and in so doing I’ve streamlined the process a bit.

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It’s the same ‘lasagna‘ of paper and ink/dye, but instead of leaving it to marinade for ages, once it had a good soaking (1-2 hrs I guess) I spread the bits out on some more ‘scrap paper’. I used a super-cheap watercolor pad – v low quality and rubbish for painting on – but nice and absorbant, so just the job for this! Given a good squash (I stood on it, then danced about a bit) the colors soak through to the watercolor pad the bonus of more dyed paper than I’d bargained for + far quicker drying time. Result!

They’re drying right now – will show you the pics tomorrow. Meanwhile I’m planning another batch in different colors. I’m torn between blues, greens and purples next… What d’you reckon, folks? 🙂

happy accidents in colors


I’ve been dying threads and fabrics for a project I’ll show you soon, and in turn I’ve had some happy accidents I think you might like.

Here are the dyings…



Having given them a good long soak in procion dye I left them to dry out, and naturally didn’t want any off the delicious color juice go to waste. So back to the fruits of the paper dying project


The cord made especially interesting tigery patterns



Sometimes the pigments react, separate, and make wonderful patterns

tissue paper runs!


Just a little by the way from usual antics, you know how the color in tissue paper runs when it gets wet?

Scrumpled up and spritzed with water, then squished between sketchbook pages and left to dry overnight got these results

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I used dark and mid blue tissue, so as well as staining the book pages they also added color to each other and have gone in the collage-scraps box …. another time I think I’ll try this on watercolor paper, got a feeling that’ll be a cool effect.

pink rice beginnings


Wednesday’s page started out with the results of playing with dye and rice. I poured rice onto the puddles of dye that’d spilled onto the page


As the rice absorbed the water in the dye, the concentration of the pigment outlined the grains.


I’ll post what happened to this page later…