Batik Tulis Indonesia


Practical Notes on Batik Tulis Production

Charles Emile van Santen

Bogor, Indonesia

May 2007



– Definition

– Brief history

– Utilization

– Production


– The design

– Transferring the design

– Waxing the cloth

– Dyeing the cloth

– Making fringes


  1. References: Batik Tulis, Textile Art & Technical Issues
  2. Dyes: Recipes and Concepts
  3. Silk: Weaving, Dyeing and Concepts
  4. Photograph Image Gallery

4.1. Batik tulis production:                           27 images

4.2. Silk production:                                      18 images

4.3. Charles’ batik tulis collection:               74 images

4.4. Overview of fill-in motifs-isen-isen:       4 images



1.1. Definition: Batik Tulis, a textile art

Batik is defined as a piece of cloth which is dyed with the wax resist dye method, using specific batik motifs for the design.

A batik design includes geometrical and non-geometrical motifs, which generally have a cultural significance. The batik motifs on the cloth can be hand drawn by the batik pen or canting, which is called batik tulis or made by batik stamp or cap, which is called batik cap. Many types of cloth imitate the appearance of batik but use other techniques such as silk screen printing or painting and they are not considered true batik.

1.2. Brief history: Batik Tulis with special references to Indonesia

The origin of batik tulis and the dye resist methods is not known. Some authors believe that batik originated either from India or from China, where similar techniques have been known for a long time and where some of the same traditional motifs used can be found in Indonesian batik tulis. Others have observed that some of the same motifs used in batik can be found in some of the sculptures on the eight century Borobudur temple in Central Java Province.

Today the dye resist method to color cloth is used in many countries. Most researchers of batik recognize the high level of this form of textile art produced on Java Island. The invention of the canting or batik pen in the 17th century in the Mataram Court, Java, has been an important means to provide the Javanese batik artists with increased creative opportunities. The canting facilitates drawing the highly intricate and beautiful motifs for which Javanese batik tulis became famous.

The first systematic records of batik tulis are from Sir Stamford Raffles who was Governor General from 1811 to 1816 of the territory which is today known as Indonesia. Raffles ordered a systematic description of Indonesians art and crafts to be included in his famous History of Java, including a detailed account of the batik industry in that period. Batik tulis experienced a golden age from the early 1800’s to 1930, after which period, industrial imitations replaced batik tulis to a large extent.

President Soekarno, Indonesian’s first President, promoted “Batik Indonesia” during the 1950s with the assistance of the batik designer Hardjonagoro. However, a sustained revival started only during the late 1970s. The initiative was probably started by Iwan Tirta, a batik designer and collector, together with his collaborators. Today, people in Indonesia and elsewhere realize the beauty of Javanese batik tulis and its contribution to making life more beautiful.

1.3 Utilization: Batik Tulis

Batik tulis is used for clothing and interior decoration. It is also valued as art, and can be found in private collections and museums. It is used in many countries of the world, particularly in South East Asia, with Indonesia as the centre of production and use.


In Indonesia, batik tulis is used as formal attire for official and private functions as well

as for casual wear.

The official Indonesian national dress for women consists of batik cloth- a kain panjang or hip wrapper and a batik selendang or shawl thrown over the left shoulder. This is worn in combination with a kebaya or traditional blouse. The official modern Indonesian national dress for man consists of a batik safari shirt worn over dark trousers. The official

traditional male dress consists of a sarong or hip wrapper under a black coat.

In private functions in Indonesia, such as traditional marriage parties, batik tulis is used by both men and women, each wearing a kain panjang or hip wrapper. In addition, women may wear a batik shoulder shawl and the men a head cover made from batik cloth. A more modern adaptation would be an evening dress made from batik material for the woman and a safari shirt made from batik tulis for the man.

In traditional rural areas in Indonesia, especially on the island of Java, batik sarongs or short hip wrappers are still worn by older women. Often these cloths are prints with batik motifs, but occasionally one may see elder women still wearing a real piece of batik cloth.

Batik Collections

Many Indonesians own collections of masterpieces of batik tulis which are often shown in the main drawing room of the house in a special display cabinet, which is often beautifully carved in a traditional design. Some private collections may include hundreds of unique pieces, including antique pieces handed down through generations.

The value of such a batik collection can be substantial. A recent sale of a collection of some one hundred and fifty pieces of batik owned by an elderly Indonesian woman, provided the revenue to establish a fund to give financial support to art students, in line with the wishes of the owner of this collection.

Decorative use of batik

Since the latest revival of batik tulis in Indonesia in the 1970s, batik tulis is also used for decorative purposes, as home furnishings such as wall hangings, curtains, bed covers, pillow covers or as a throw-over. To day, people in many other countries own batik tulis collections and use batik for decorative purposes.

  1. Production: Batik Tulis

Types of cloth suitable for Batik Tulis

Creating a batik starts with the selection of a suitable piece of cloth, either cotton or natural silk.

For high grade cotton batik, often a piece of “primissima” cotton is used. Before a piece of cotton can be used for batik a special treatment is required to make the material suitable for receiving the dye, which includes boiling and beating.

In case silk is selected for batik, 2 ply silk with or without in-woven motifs is preferred. It is further important that the yarn of this silk has been cleaned before weaving, to result in a strong cloth. One ply silk is often not sufficiently strong to survive the rigorous process of waxing and cooking, which is necessary to remove the batik wax after dyeing. Natural silk is a very strong fabric, yet it looses temporarily up to 50 percent of its strength when wet and heated.

Main steps in producing Batik Tulis.

Making a piece of batik tulis includes four main steps, while for shawls with fringes, five steps are required:

4.1. The design

4.2. Transferring the design to the cloth

4.3. Waxing the cloth

4.4. Dyeing the cloth, including removing of the wax after dyeing

4.5. Making fringes, only applicable for shawls with fringes.

Note that for each colour included in the design:

Steps 3) Waxing and 4) Dyeing are to be repeated.

Details of the five steps and the additional activities are presented in:

Section 2: Technical Notes

Overview of process of batik tulis production

1.Design of the batik cloth Combining motifs, patterns and colour schemes.
2.Preparation of the fabric Preparing the cloth to receive the dye.

Silk: De-gumming & washing out impurities.

Cotton: Bleaching & beating the cloth.

3. Drafting the master copy of the


Copying the master copy onto tracing paper to scale
4.Copying the design onto the


Tracing the design with pencil & carbon paper onto the cloth
5 Waxing: covering cloth with


Covering those parts of the design which should be kept white during 1st dye bath
6. Dyeing and colour fixation Colouring the cloth
7. Removal of the wax Cooking and scraping the remaining wax from the cloth
8. Repeating step 5-7 for each colour One repeat for each colour indicated in the design.
9. Motifs with gold leaf -prada Paint with brush gold leaf, when indicated in design
10.Make fringes for slendangs/shawls


  2. The design

Designs for batik tulis are mainly based on traditional motifs, including main motifs and fill-in motifs or isen isen. Designs usually also indicate the colour schemes to be used. An initial sketch is produced of the design on paper, followed by a drawing of a master copy produced by a draftsman to scale.

Overview of the design steps

Steps Activities Remarks
1.Design Designer prepares

A. Overview sketch of the design

B. Worked out details of all main and isen isen motifs to be used & colour schemes

2.Master Copy Master draftsman prepares:

Master Copy based on design

3.Working Copy Copy draftsman prepares:

Working Copy on tracing paper

Process: tracing paper on top of Master Copy to copy the design
4.Copy of design

on cloth

Copyist copies Working Copy onto the cloth with carbon paper by tracing the design to be waxed Process: Working copy on carbon sheets, placed on top of

cloth to be waxed

Practical short cuts:

  1. Example in case of a design with large motifs such as bouquets:
  2. The master draftsman prepares to scale only a master copy of the main motif, a

bouquet and a section of the border motif. Alternatively the master copy is made for

50% of the cloth only and is used twice to make the working copy.

  1. The copy draftsman prepares a working copy from the design which is directly copied

onto the cloth, copying the master copy two times..

  1. In case of a simple design, the master draftsman may make a working copy directly onto tracing paper using the designer’s overview sketch and details of main- & filled-in

motifs. This working copy can be directly copied on the cloth with carbon paper.

  1. Fill-in motifs. These are in most cases not copied onto the working copy or the cloth,

because most women who are involved in waxing the fill-in motifs are familiar with

these motifs.

  1. Transferring the design onto the cloth

This process starts with making a copy of the master copy onto tracing paper, the working copy. Following this, the working copy is copied onto the cloth which is to be waxed or batiked. There are two methods of copying the design on the cloth.

In the first method, sheets of carbon paper are laid over the cloth to be waxed. The working copy is put on top of this and the design is retraced with a soft blue-coloured copy pencil. The result of this is a copy of the design on the cloth.

The second method uses a table with a glass cover and a lamp placed under this table. The working copy on the tracing paper is now put on the glass table and on top of this the cloth to be waxed. The light shining through the design makes it possible for the copyist to copy the design on the cloth with a soft blue-coloured copy pencil.

  1. Waxing the cloth

During the initial waxing of the cloth, all parts of the design which are to not to be coloured in the first dye bath are covered with wax, while motifs to be coloured in the first dye bath are left uncovered. The batik tulis worker, almost always a woman, uses a canting or batik wax pen for this work. The canting consists of a copper reservoir with one or more spouts and a handle made from wood or bamboo. For different types of motifs, different types of canting are used, depending on the width of the lines of the motifs, as indicated in the design. The spouts of the canting vary in sized according to their use. For example, when drawing the fine outlines, the smallest bores are used, and while drawing parallel lines or dots, a canting with multiple spouts is used. The copper reservoir of the canting is filled with hot liquid batik wax from the wax pan or wajang, which is heated on a small kerosene stove. After the batik wax has reached the desired liquidity level, the stove is adjusted to maintain an even temperature.

After dipping the copper head in the hot liquid wax to fill the cup, the batik worker grips the canting with her thumb, index and middle finger. She then follows the outlines of the design on the cloth, filling this in with liquid wax. Great care is taken not to touch the cloth with the spout to avoid unevenness in the thickness of the lines. To prevent spillage of wax the canting is always held horizontal. Great skill is required when using the canting because if the wax is too hot, it will flow too swiftly and if too cold, it will block the tube of the reservoir. To control the level of wax in the reservoir and to remove obstructions in the wax, the batik worker blows the spout of the canting. Wax, accidentally spilled on the cloth, is removed with a sponge and a thin heated iron. However, it is almost impossible to correct mistakes completely. After one side is completed, the cloth is turned over and the outlines of the patterns on the reverse side of the cloth are also covered with wax, so that the motifs on both side of a piece of batik are similar.

The most experienced batik workers are responsible for the intricate motifs and patterns, while the less skilled workers block in the larger motifs and surfaces. A result of this work method is that each piece of batik is unique, in the same way as every painting is unique. The cost of making a piece of batik tulis is relatively high as it is labour-intensive and requires special silk cloth or cotton.


Batik wax or malam

Batik wax is a mixture of seven ingredients:

-Paraffin- a petroleum product;

-Bees wax;

-Residue of pine-gum distillation or gondorukem;

-Cat’s eye resin or damar;

-Micro-wax- a special crystalline paraffin wax from petroleum;

-Recycled wax or lilin gladhagan;

-Coconut- or animal fat.

The exact combination of each ingredient depends on the purpose for which it is to be used and it is often kept secret to prevent competitors using this information.


Three types of batik wax by function:

  1. Lilin klowong- for drawing, the principal lines of the design and filling these in with

fill-in motifs;

  1. Lilin tembokan for blocking out areas which are to remain white;
  2. Lilin biron for covering blue-dyed areas.

Material needed for waxing

  1. Kerosene stove for heating the wax- malam.
  2. Round metal pan – wajang to heat the wax mixture
  3. Wax mixture suitable for hand drawn batik
  4. Batik pen-canting of various sizes according to the design
  5. Stand to hold the batik cloth when working, and small stools
  6. Piece of cloth to size according to the design


Application of the wax on the cloth:

-Light the stove and place the wax pan or wajang on the fire till the wax mixture

has melted. Reduce the heat by lowering the fire and keeping the temperature constant.

-Select the proper size of wax pen- canting, according to the thickness of the line to be

covered: thin, medium or thick

– Cover the cloth with wax according to the design.

Batik tulis on cotton needs to be covered on both sides with wax.

Batik tulis on single ply silk: one side waxing is sufficient.

For two ply silk cloth, both sides need to be waxed.

Note: In case large areas of the cloth need to be covered with wax, a brush can be used

         for waxing and later for dyeing if needed.



  1. Dyeing the cloth

Dyes used for batik can either be natural or chemical dyes. There are six steps:

  1. Soaking the cloth in a container or dye vat with a mixture of dyes and liquids

to facilitate the absorption of the dye mixture.

  1. Soaking the cloth in a second vat containing a dye fixing liquid for a specific

period to stabilize and fix the dye colours.

  1. Rinsing the cloth in ample water to remove the fixative. This will prevent damage

to the fibers of the fabric.

  1. Drying the cloth on a rack. Depending on the type of dye used, this is either in the sun

or in the shade.

  1. Removing the batik wax from the cloth by boiling the cloth in a container with water.

For some types of cloth and dyes, a specific liquid is added to the water to facilitate

the removal of the wax.

  1. After drying, the cloth is inspected. Remains of wax are removed with a blunt knife.

As required by the design step 3) waxing and step 4) dyeing are repeated for each colour.


Natural dyes

Natural dyes are mainly obtained from leaves, tree bark, wood, roots and rootstocks. Most of these materials are environmentally harmless, but unfortunately the mordant or the chemicals used for the fixation of natural dyes are often harmful. For example: Alum, potassium aluminum phosphate. Natural dyes will often fade more quickly, and it is also very time-consuming as well, so today not many batik-makers are still using natural dyes. Modern chemical dyes allow a much wider variety of colour choices.


Chemical dyes

There are a number of chemical dye methods of which the following are most often used for the dyeing of batik tulis: Acid dyes: For example Indigosol and Napthol. Reactive dyes: for example Procion. Details of the dyeing process vary considerably between types and more detailed information is given in annex 2 specified by dye type.


Direct coloring of small motifs: “coletan”

For some designs with many small motifs, a method is used to directly colour small areas with a small brush, using the same dye methods and colour fixatives. Examples of designs, which are directly brush painted: The small flowers of a bouquet; a field with flowers or small seascapes. In case a gold color or prada is indicated for selected motifs of the design, these motifs are also coloured with a brush.


  1. Making fringes or tassels

A batik-shawl or slendang often requires a fifth step to make fringes or tassels at both ends of the cloth- ronce or rumbai. Note that the fringes should be made only after the cloth has been dyed. Making fringes before the cloth is dyed will result in messy fringes. To make fringes, a strip of 15 cm at both ends of the cloth is left without motifs. These strips are dyed in the dominant colour of the cloth. After colouring, the fringes can be made by stripping away the weft threads and bundling and twisting the warp threads into the desired size fringe. A strip of 15 cm wide will result in fringes of 8-9 cm in length.



Batik Tulis, Textile Art and Technical Issues


  1. Batik art: Monographs, Exhibition Catalogues & Batik Motifs
  2. Textile art general: Indonesian Textiles, Batik patterns, Other Indonesian designs,

Other Asian & Laos designs

  1. Batik dyeing
  2. Silk dyeing
  3. Textile dyeing and colouring- general
  4. Fashion design: Batik and general
  5. Fabric production


  1. Batik art


1.Achjadi, Judi, Editor 1999 Batik, Spirit of Indonesia Yayasan Batik Indonesia Jakarta Indonesia
2.Achjadi Judi Knight & Asmoro Damais 2005 Butterflies & Phoenixes

Chinese Inspirations in Indonesian textile Arts

Mitra Museum Indonesia
3.Edleson M.J. & H.D.Soedarmadjii 1991 Yogyakarta Batik Himpunan Wastraprema

Jakarta Indonesia

4.Hamzuri 1981 Classical Batik Djambatan Jakarta Indonesia
5.Heringa, R & Harmen.C. Veldhuisen 1996 Fabric of Enchantment. Batik from the North Coast of Java Weatherhill INC

Los Angeles ,USA

6.Iwan Tirta 1996 Batik: A Play of Light and Shades & Collection of batik patterns and designs Gaya Favorit Press , Jakarta Indonesia
7.De Kat Angelino P. 1930 Rapport Batikkerijen op Java & Madura Weltevreden, Indonesia
8.McCabe Elliot ,Inger 1984 Batik Fabled Cloth of Java Clarkson N Potters- Publishers New York USA.
9.Hout , Itie van –Editor 2001 Batik, Drawn in Wax Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam Netherlands
10.Oss, F.W. 1996 Batik, The Soul of Java Textile Museum Tilburg


11.Raadt –Apell M.J. de 1980 De batikkerij van Zuylen te Pekalongan Terra, Zutphen Netherlands
12.Roojen, Pepin van 1993 Batik Design The Pepin Press Amsterdam Netherlands
13. Santosa Doellah. H 2002 Batik, The Impact of Time and Environment Danar Hadi, Solokarta Indonesia
14. Smend, Rudolf.G. 2000 Javanese and Sumatran Batiks from Courts & Palaces Galerie Smend-Koln Germany
15. Veldhuisen-Djajasoebrata Alit. 1984 Flowers of the Universe

Batik in Java

Sijthoff Amsterdam


16. Veldhuisen Harmen.C. 1993 Batik Belanda 1840-1940 Gaya Favorit Press JKT IND

Exhibitions catalogues

17.Achjadi,Judi 1998 Jakarta Textile Museum Jakarta Indonesia
18.Eiko Kusuma 1996 Indonesian Batik from the Eiko Kusuma Collection Toyama Art Museum ,Japan
19.Riyanto D No year Handbook of Indonesian Batik Batik Research Institute Yogjakarta Indonesia
20.Riyanto D. 1997 Proses Batik Aneka, Solokarta Indonesia
21.Riyanto D 1997 Katalog Batik Indonesia Batik research Institute

Yogjakarta Indonesia

22.Sumarsono J. 1985 Pesona Batik Madura Wastraprema Jakarta
23.Yayasan Batik Indonesia 1999 Gelar Batik Nusantara

Batik Exhibition Nov 1999

Jakarta Indonesia
24.Java Hokokai Batik 2000 The Japanese Influence on batik Japan Foundation Jakarta.
Batik motifs
25.Batik Research Institute 1973-1984 Kumpulan Motif Batik

Classical batik motifs 4 volumes

Jogyakarta Indonesia
26.Pepin Press 1999 Batik Patterns Amsterdam Netherlands


  1. Textile Art general
Indonesian Textiles
27.Hitchcock M. 1991 Indonesian textiles Periplus, Singapore
28.Solyom B & G 1984 Fabric Traditions of Indonesia. Washington State USA

Batak Patterns

29.Baginda Siriat Ed 1980 Traditional Batak patterns N. Sumatra, Medan Indonesia
30.Zuraida Tanjung 1992 Kerajinan Traditional Kain Songket Batubara or

Traditional Songkets

Provincial Government of

North Sumatra, Medan Indonesia.

31.Tampubolon C.B. 1985 Ulos Batak Medan , Indonesia

Other Indonesian designs

32.Fisher A. 1999 Decorative Arts of Sumba Pepin Amsterdam Netherlands
33.Pepin Press 1989 Indonesian Ornamental Designs Pepin Amsterdam Netherlands
34.Hoogerbrugge J &

S. Kooijman

1976 70 Years of Asmat wood carving Ethnological Museum

Breda Netherlands

35.Hoogerbrugge J. 1977 The art of wood carving in

Irian Jaya

Yayapura, Indonesia
36.Hoop A.N.J.Th v.d 1949 Indonesian Ornamental Designs Jakarta Indonesia
37.Sande J.S. 1991 Toraja in carving Makassar Indonesia
38.Anonym 1990 Dayak patterns
Other Asian designs
39.Garret V.M 1997 Collectors Guide to Chinese Dress Accessories Times Editions Singapore
40.Koops- Marcus 1997 1800 Decorated paper designs Pepin Amsterdam Netherlands
41.Kokyo Hatanaka 1993 Textile Arts of India Chronicle Books

San Francisco USA

42.Kyoto Shoin 1989 1990 Japanese and European style textile design Patterns Kyoto Shoin Publishers

Kyoto Japan

43.Morris W. 1988 Full colour patterns and designs Dover Publications

New York USA

44.Riboud K. 1998 Samit & Lampas Indian Motifs AEDTA Museum Paris France
45. Roojen Pepijn. 1999 Chinese patterns Pepin Amsterdam Netherlands
46. Roojen Pepijn. 2002 Persian designs Pepin Amsterdam Netherlands
47. Roxana L 1999 Folk designs from India Pepin Amsterdam Netherlands
48.Scott, Philippa 1993 The book of silk: Asia & world Thames & Hudson,London
49.Vollmer J.E. et al 1983 Silk roads –China Ships Ontario Museum

Toronto Canada

50.Wiltshire D & A 1997 Designs for the Japanese Obi C E Tuttle Rutland Vermont
51.Yang Sunny &

R.M. Narasin

1989 Textile Art of Japan Shufunotomo Tokyo Japan


52.Phaeng Mai Gallery 1990 Weave on our Great Grandmother’s Loom Vientiane Laos
53.Phaeng Mai Gallery 1990 Colour from Lao Forest Vientiane Laos
54.Connors M.F. 1996 Lao textiles and traditions OUP K. Lumpur Malaysia



  1. Batik dyeing
55.Batik research institute 1985 Soga-Soga Keluaran German; Soga –Soga Batik,

Arah Warna Campuran Indigosol

Batik research institute Yogjakarta, Indonesia
56.Belfer N 1992 Batik & Tie Dye Techniques. Dover Publ. New York
57.Procion MX Dyes Zeneca/ICI
58.Sewan Susanto S.K. 1980-1983 Seni warna   batik: Indigosol;Napthol;Soga batik-Teknologi Soga batik:4 volumes Batik research institute Yogjakarta Indonesia


  1. Silk dyeing
59.Chambers A 1995 Marbling on fabric Wellwood, Great Britain
60.Broughton K. 1995 Textile Dyeing Rockport Publications Gloucester USA
61.Buchanan C. 1998 Tie dyeing Chartwell Books Edison USA
62.Eaton J. 1995 Silk Painting Simon & Schuster London
63.Moeyes M. 1993 Natural Dyeing in Thailand White Lotus, Bangkok
64.Simmons J. 1999 Creative marbling on fabric Martingale &Co Bothell USA
65.Storey J. 1992 Dyes and Fabrics Thames & Hudson England
66.Tuckman D & J Janas 1992 Silk painting North Light Books, Ohio,USA
67.Wells Katie 1997 Fabric Dyeing & Printing Conran Octopus London


  1. Textile dyeing and coloring: general
68. Anonym Process of colour selector Hong Kong
69. Chijiwa H. 1987 Colour Harmony Rockport Publication. USA
70. Chimura M. 1990 The super colour collection Tokyo Japan
71. Jackson C. 1984 Colour for Men Piatkus Books London
72. Kobayashi S 1984 Book of Colours Kodansha Tokyo Japan
73. Kobayashi S 1990 Colour Image Scale Kodansha Tokyo Japan
74. Whelan B 1994 Colour Harmony 2 Rockport Publication USA
75. Stockton J 1984-90 Designers Guide to

Colours Volume 1,2,3&4

Chronicle Books

San Francisco USA


  1. Fashion designs: Batik and general
76. Bunka J 1991 Guide to fashion design Bunka Fashion College Jap.
77. Ireland P.J. 1982 Fashion design Cantecleer Netherlands
78. Ireland P.J. 1987 Encyclopedia Of fashion Batsford London
79. Rienzo S.D. 1992 Technica della Moda Padova Italy
80. Thames B. 1985 Drawing fashion Mc Graw Hill Inc. USA


  1. Fabric production
81. Brown R. 2000 The weaving, spinning &

dyeing book

Alfred Knopf New York
82. Gillow John &

Bryan Sentence

1999 World Textiles Bulfinch Press Book,

Boston, USA

83. Parker Julia 1999 All about silk fabric swatches Rain city publishing

Seattle Washington USA



Additional References

Ave Joop 2007 Grand Batik Interiors Bab Publishing Indonesia





Material needed to dye

-Four plastic containers size 60x40x20cm for dyeing

-Three wooden containers 130 cm length 20 x20 cm for dyeing of larger pieces

-Cooking pan to remove the wax mixture 40-60 cm diameter

-Wooden stick minimum length 130 cm to roll the batik cloth after dyeing

-Dye and chemicals: Napthol, Indigosol or Procion


Description of the process of dyeing batik cloth


Information based on publications from the Batik Research Institute in Yogjakarta, which has published papers on the process and the quantities of the dyes and other chemicals needed for specific dye work:

References 55 & 58. For actual dyeing consultation of these publications is recommended


  1. Napthol Dye
Dominant color selected: Dark blue
1.Container no 1

Fill container with 4 liter-4 000 cc clean water, add 2 gram TRO-Turkish red oil

to increase absorption of the dye

2.Container No 2 with beaker no 1( 500 cc (cc=centiliter)

-Napthol as fixate :10 gram- 2 full spoons

-TRO 1 gram (TRO=Turkish Red Oil)

-Caustic soda 1 gram

-300 cc boiling water

Dissolve ingredients in water

Pour water with ingredients with 2000 cc water into container no 2

3.Container no 3 with beaker no 2 ( 500 cc)

– Blue BB salt – dye

– 300 cc water at room temperature- 25 C

– Dissolve dye in water

-Pour dye in container no 2, with 2000 cc water

4. Container no 4

In case a 2nd color is needed, an additional container is required.

1st step Soak the cloth covered with batik wax in container no 1 with clean water till completely wet. To make the cloth better absorb the dye, add 1-2 gram of TRO
2nd step soak cloth in container no 2 with napthol mixture
3rd step soak cloth in container no 3 with dye mixture.
4th step soak cloth again in container no 1 with plain water & TRO.
Note that in case, the hue of the colour is insufficiently deep:

Repeat the process of step 1 to 4 one or two times.

5th step Heat the cloth in the large pan with ample boiling water till all wax has been melted. In case some spots of wax remain, remove these with a blunt knife by scratching these spots manually.
6th step Wax the cloth again on those spots which are to not to be dyed in the next dye bath and repeat the above steps 1 to 5.


  1. Indigosol Dye
Material needed
1. Container no 1 : Contains 750 cc warm water at 50 Centigrade
2.Container No 2 with beaker no 1 (500 cc)

Material needed per liter water

-Indigo sol: 2 gram dye per colour-

-Sodium carbonate/soda ash: 1 gram

-Nitrate 5 gram

-HCL -35% 10-20 cc – Chloral oxide

-250 cc boiling water


1.Soak cloth in water in container no 1 for 15 mins. in warm water.

2.Add 10 cc HCL to warm water and keep cloth for another 15 min in container no 1.

3.Mix indigo sol dye with nitrate and soda ash; mixture to container no 2.

4.Rinse with clean water in container no 1.

5. Dry in shade till cloth dry.

6.Repeat process to obtain proper hue.

7. Boil cloth in large pan to remove the wax.

N.B. Repeat the entire process of waxing and dyeing till cloth is dyed with all

colours as indicated on the design.


  1. Procion Dye

Procion Recipe from ZENECA /ICI:

Per liter dye liquid

Material needed Gram
Procion: 1.5 gram per colour/per liter 5
Sodium alginate: thickeners 500
Urea 150
Matexil   WA KBN –Functions: wets agent and prevents foam development 20
Sodium-bi-carbonate or baking soda 10
Water 315
Total 1000


Make paste with procion dye, sodium alginate & urea with some water.

-Dissolve paste in 1 liter water

-Soak cloth for one hour in water.

-Hang to dry in shade for 8 hours

-First rinse with ample cold water

-Second rinse with MATEXIL WN-PB 2 gram/liter & 1 gram /liter baking soda

-Third rinse of cloth again with clean water

-Dry cloth in shade





Recipe from Kate Wells Fabric Dyeing & Printing: chapter 4 p 45


  1. Make paste of 5 gram dye /liter;
  2. Soak cloth in liquid for 15 minutes
  3. Add 25 gram kitchen salt or 20 gram soda ash/liter
  4. Second soak of cloth in above mixture for 30 minutes
  5. Third soak in fixanol 10 cc /liter for 30 minutes.
  6. Dry cloth in shade


Dyeing recipes from Fejar Setia Batik Chemicals, Jakarta

Indigosol per liter water

  • 1-2.5 gram indigosol per color
  • 5gr sodium nitrite
  • 1 gram soda ash /sodium carbonate
  • 10-20 cc HCL (35%)
  • 250 ml hot water, 750 cc cold water
  1. Mix indigosol dye with sodium nitrite and soda ash
  2. Immerse cloth for 15 minutes in warm water
  3. Add 10 cc HCL, immerse another 15 minutes
  4. Rinse with clean water
  5. Dry in shade.


Napthol per liter water

–   3 gram Napthol

  • 5 gram caustic soda
  • Stimulating fluid 2 cc
  • Napthol salt 6 gram ( 4 varieties of napthol salt are available)


  1. Mix chemicals, wet cloth, submerge cloth for 15 minutes
  2. Dry in sun, submerge again for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse with clean water
  4. Dry in shade


Procion-(ICI): For direct dyeing of small motifs with a small brush


Per liter water for direct coloring of small motifs with a small brush: Coletan

  • Procion – 1-5 % of weight of cloth
  • Baking soda – 10-20 gram
  • Resisalt 10-20 gram
  • Squatter T 5 gram


  1. Make paste with dye, baking soda, resist salt & squatter T, add water
  2. Paint cloth with brush

When quick results are needed use 10-20 gram soda ash & hydro sulfate.

  1. Hang to dry in shade 8 hours.
  2. Rinse cloth with clean water.
  3. Dry in shade for 8 hours.


General information for cold dyeing paste dye-stuff:

To smooth the process, add urea 50-100 gram /liter.

For hard water add a 2-4 cc Lanapex HT (-from ICA), 2 gram Soda ash & 2 cc sodium chloride.


Removing the wax, after dyeing

Plain cotton: boil the cloth

Silk: to add natrium silicate- water glass to the boiling water and afterwards use

batik soap or tipol to remove any remaining wax.

Rayon cloth: rinse in washing benzene. For some synthetic fibers wax can only be

removed by adding starch or soda ash.


  1. For information on the amounts of dye per color needed, see the colour composition

of the lists prepared for Indigosol, Napthol and Soga prepared by Sewan Susanto,

Batik Research Institute, Yogjakarta


Concepts:Textile dyeing

Concept Description
Antifusants Antifusants are chemicals which control the spread of dyes & paints on the fabric by preventing these from moving.                Guta or a liquid resist, salt or wax can serve as antifusants.
Activator Soda ash or Tri sodium phosphate added to a fiber reactive dye bath gives pH range of 10-10.5 and results in improved cleaning of a fiber or fixation of a dye.
Alginate Soda alginate, a seaweed derivate, used as anti migrant and thickener in direct application of dyes on cloth
Alkali A soluble salt-potassium carbonate or sodium carbonate used to keep the dye bath in the desired basic pH range of 10.0-10.5.
Alum Potassium aluminum sulfate – mordant to fix marbling dyes
Ammonium sulfate A salt that improves leveling & exhausting of dye when using acid dyes
Anti-migrant Substance added to a dye to slow down the spread or bleed of dye.
Azoic colours

–ice colours

Azoic dyes are insoluble dyes which color the fiber directly by interaction of the azoic-diazo & azoic coupling components.
Bleeding The loss of colour from a dyed fabric caused by moisture
Bees wax Natural wax used in batik; melting point 130 F
Cellulose A cellulose fiber derived from plant: cotton, linen, rayon, hemp
Dye A dye is a water-soluble, transparent colouring agent, which saturates and is absorbed into the fiber.

To dilute a dye, mix it with water & alcohol.

Dye Types 1.Direct dyes                                                                                            A direct dye can be directly applied, without leveling or exhausting agents. Direct dyes have poor light-and wash fastness.                     Are usually applied in a dye bath containing an electrolyte
2.Acid dyes                                                                                                 Acid dyes are derived from salts & applied in acidic or neutral state
3. Reactive dyes                                                                                  A category of dyes that becomes part of the fiber and is applied in an alkaline environment.

-Reactive dyes have excellent wash and light fastness and brilliant colours.

-Reactive dyes are particularly suitable for protein fibers such as silk and wool.

-PROCION MX dyes from ICI: A fiber reactive dye that can be cured at room temperature. Very suitable for batik tulis.

Also: highly-, moderately- & slightly reactive dyes are available.

4. Substantive dyes                                                                                      A dye that does not need a mordant to make it permanent.



Exhausting Agent An additive to a dye bath which helps to fix the dye into the fiber. An exhausting agent is usually a salt or an acid derived from a salt.
Exhausting dye Immersion or soaking a cloth for a length of time in a dye mixture.
Exhausting The degree to which a fiber or fabric absorbs a dye stuff in relation to the amount that was originally available.
Fixing The process of setting a dye into a fiber. In other words, to fix the colour into the fiber. Fixing is usually done by either heating, steaming or air-curing.

In the case of batik tulis, only air curing is suitable as the batik wax melting point is at 130 C.

Glauber salt or English salt Sodium sulfate or Magnesium 4 sulfate

Note: ordinary salt is sodium chloride

Leveling agent A leveling agent is an additive to the dye bath which prevents the dye from being too quickly absorbed by the fiber. This minimizes streaking of the colour and improves the even distribution of colour.
Mordent A fixing agent used for natural dyes, usually metallic acetate, which binds the dye stuff permanently to the fiber.

Metallic salts used as mordent are:

1. alum-potassium aluminum sulfate;

2. chrome- potassium dichromate;

3. tin-stannous chloride

4. iron-ferrous sulfate;

5. copper sulfate- bluestone;

6. tannin- astringent vegetable component.

Mordents are often used together with cream of tartar & glauber salt as leveling agents.

Micro wax Blend of micro crystalline 25% & paraffin waxes 75%

Micro crystalline wax – a petroleum based synthetic wax, often mixed with paraffin to soften it; also called sticky wax

Paraffin A petroleum wax, which is very brittle after it dries on the cloth. For batik tulis it is therefore mixed with six other ingredients:

see page 8 of this paper.

Pigment An insoluble metallic color particle that is only fixed on the surface of a fiber with help of a mordent such as alum or through application of heat. Application of pigments may result in a stiff feeling fabric. Pigments colours are opaque.
Protein fiber A fiber derived from an animal source: silk or wool.
Resists A resist is a barrier used to block the penetration of a dye into a fabric, such as batik wax. Other resists are strings, clamps and stencils. Resists can be mechanical or chemical barriers
Silk dyeing Direct dyes, acid dyes and fiber-reactive dyes are the most practical dye types for silk
Soda ash Soda carbonate
Sodium bi carbonate Baking soda, weak alkali solution/ Indonesian: soda kue.



Sodium hydro sulfate Bleach
Urea Ammonium carbonate. An additive which assists in making the dye soluble and keeps the dye and the fabric moist- or humectant. Urea facilitates the penetration of the dye into the cloth.
TSP Tri sodium phosphate, a strong alkali used as an activator for fiber reactive dyes
Vat A container/vessel or tank used for dyeing and containing a reduced vat dye.
Vatting To dissolve a vat dye by the combined action of an alkali and a reducing agent
Vat dye Insoluble dyes that are fixed to the fibers by a substrate obtained through oxidizing it back to an insoluble form
Water-glass Sodium or potassium melted with soda or a NaCL solution of sodium/potash with a silicate or sand: can be used to remove wax from silk cloth & caps.
Wetting out Saturation of fibers or fabrics with water prior to dyeing is needed to ensure even dyeing.


  1. Silk: Weaving, Dyeing and Concepts  


Silk production

Silk fabric is made from yarns produced by silk worms. The silk worm spins itself into a cocoon during the cocoon stage. Silk yarns are drawn from these cocoons. Filaments from several cocoons are combined and reeled into yarn. This yarn is de-gummed and processed into silk yarn. Subsequently the yarn is woven into fabric.

Weaving silk fabric

Silk yarn is woven on hand or machine looms into silk fabric.



Thickness of the fabric depends on the thickness of the yarn used for warp and weft, resulting in two ply up to 6 ply.


The texture

Often Thai silk is used for batik. The texture of Thai silk is slightly coarse, with some uneven slightly knotty threads. Thai silk is usually woven with a tight balanced weave.

Some types of Thai silk are characterized by in-woven patterns. This makes this type of silk suitable for geometric designs which coincide with the in-woven pattern, giving an additional dimension to the batik design.


Characteristics of silk fabric:

Silk contains two properties which make it superior to any other fiber:

  • Triangular fibers which reflect light like prisms
  • Layers of protein that lend it a smooth sheen.

Silk fiber is lustrous, smooth, supple, lightweight, elastic and strong. When viewed longitudinally, filaments of de-gummed silk appear smooth, lustrous and translucent, whereas raw silk, still in gum, looks bumpy and irregular.

De-gumming silk cloth

-Fill a large container with 20-30 liter of water.

-Add 100 gram of grated green soap and 40 gram of soda ash

-Boil the water

-Wet the silk cloth

-Boil the silk in the water for 3-5 minutes

-Rinse silk cloth 3 times by hand, gentle handling the cloth: avoid wringing.

-Dry cloth in shade


Washing silk batik cloth

-Wet the silk batik cloth

-Soak cloth in silk soap for 15 minutes. Use silk soaps such as lerak or tipol

-Rinse cloth two times.

-Soak in vinegar for 15 minutes

-Rinse cloth again two times.

-Remove water very gently and softly wring out the cloth.

-Stretch the cloth gently, to regain its original length, while the cloth is still humid

-Dry the cloth in shade

-To iron the cloth: use the position of silk. Iron on top of a piece of white cotton cloth

to cover the silk cloth to be ironed.

-Some types of silk require to be lightly starched

-To starch a silk cloth: Use a medium size container- 5 liters. Add three table spoons of

starch together with three or more spoons of cold water.

-Stir cloth gently in the starch liquid and add hot water to the mixture


Taking care of silk

To ensure that silk remains in good condition and keeps its original luster and texture, it should preferably be dry-cleaned. Silk can also be washed in lukewarm water with the mildest type of soap, such as baby soap. Silk should be rinsed but never wrung dry, as during the wet stage the yarn loses some of its strength. A spoonful of clear vinegar added to the final rinse, will help maintain the original luster. When hung to dry, silk should be placed in the shade. Silk should be ironed on the inside of the garment, just before it is dry. If thus properly treated, a silk batik will always be admired for its beauty, and its rich, exotic, oriental and unique appearance.


Dyeing batik tulis on silk


Silk and wool are protein fibers. Cotton, linen and hemp are cellulose fibers.



  • Direct dyes
  • Acid dyes
  • Fiber reactive dyes/ reactive dyes
  • Natural dyes
  • Pigments/fabric paints.


Dyeing silk batiks, one has to consider two aspects:

  • The characteristics of silk
  • The fact that a batik cloth covered with wax can not be heated as the wax covering large parts of the cloth would melt when heated.


An essential aspect of dyeing is the fixation of the dye into the cloth. The most common way of fixation of the dye is by heat. This is however not possible for silk batiks. Colour fixation of silk batiks has to be based on cold fixation methods. Cold fixation is possible with direct dyes, acid dyes and fiber- reactive dyes, examples are:

  • Indigosol- an acid dye
  • Napthol – an acid dye
  • Procion MX- a fiber reactive dye


Dye recipes for silk dyeing


Indigosol per liter water

  • 1-2.5 gram indigosol per color
  • 5 gram sodium nitrite
  • 1 gram soda ash or sodium carbonate
  • 10-20 cc HCL (35%)
  • 250 cc hot water, 750 cc cold water


  1. Mix indigosol dye with sodium nitrite and soda ash.
  2. Immerse cloth 15 minutes.
  3. Add 10 cc HCL, immerse another 15 mins.
  4. Rinse with clean water.
  5. Dry in shade.


Napthol per liter water

–   3 gram Napthol

  • 5 gram caustic soda
  • Stimulating fluid 2 cc
  • Napthol salt 6 gram ( Note there are four varieties of napthol salt )
  1. Mix chemicals, wet cloth, submerge cloth for 15 minutes
  2. Dry in sun, submerge again for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse with clean water.
  4. Dry in shade.


Procion per liter water

  • Procion – 1-5 % of weight of cloth
  • Baking soda – 10-20 gram
  • Resisalt 10-20 gram
  • Squatter T 5 gram
  1. Past dye, soda kue, resisalt & squatter T, add water
  2. Immerge cloth 15-30 minutes in mixure.

In case quick result are needed:

Use 10-20 gram soda ash and hydro-sulfate.

  1. Hang cloth and dry overnight.
  2. Rinse cloth with clean water.
  3. Dry in shade.


General information for cold dyeing:

To smoothen the process add urea 50-100 gram/liter

For hard water: Add a 2cc Lanapex HT & sodium chloride with a 2-4 grams of soda ash.



Concepts relevant for silk used for batik tulis

Weaving concepts Description
1. Brin Single filament drawn from cocoon after de-gumming or removal of the sericin
2. De- gumming De-gumming -removal of the sericin by cooking
3. Fibrion Amino acid ejected by silk worm to form fiber element of raw silk
4. Filament Extreme long silk
5. Frill/fringes Franje or tassle Indonesian:ronco or rumbai
6. Harness and shafts Plain weave: 2-4 shafts. Pattern weave: up to 16 shafts
7. Kericin or sericin

or silk gum

A gelatinous or gummy protein, in the silk filament, that holds together fibroin filaments of the cocoon and later in raw silk prevents the dye to enter. Silk gum is to be removed before dyeing by immersion in an alkaline solution or by cooking with soda ash.

Silk gum forms 25% of the total mass of silk.

8. Loom types Wooden hand loom & dobby loom
9. Reeling Reeling : the process of unwinding silk cocoons and converting this material into raw silk yarn.

Threads from 2 or more cocoons are formed into a continuous, uniform & regular strand that constitutes commercial raw silk yarn.

10. Silk properties -1 mm thick yarn can support a weight of 43 kg;

– A cocoon weighing 3 gram gives 1000m yarn;

-Silk is highly absorbent, rot resistant & non conductive.

11. Warp /Schering Threads that run lengthways in a woven fabric. Also:

The group of parallel threads that are held in tension during the weaving process. Indonesian: Lengkungan

12. Weave types Plain weave, square structures & geometric patterns
13. Weft or woof


Threads that run wide-ways in a woven fabric. Also:

The independent threads woven across the warp in such a way as to join them together to make a fabric.

Indonesian: Pakan

14. Weft inlay The process of weaving a supplementary weft in with the ground weft.
15.Width of fabric Ranging from 26”-66cm to 55” -140 cm
16.Yarn count Ranging from 20 – 800 D NB D=Denier- weight unit =8.5troy grains; 24 grains =1.555 gram me
17.Yarn thickness 1 ply = 180 D 2 ply = 360 D



Silk types
1. Boucle With secondary weft, usually a metal thread
2. Charmeuse Very heavy and shining
3. Chiffon Transparent silk, woven like muslin. Organdie, voile grenadine. Georgette, all taffeta groups of fabric, made from twisted yarns/with transparent fabrics
4. Crepe de Chine Mat silk velvety feel, difficult to dye, mat surface, twisted yarns
5. Damask Early Chinese patterned weave, predating brocade; using two weave structures to achieve pattern in a single colour.
6. Dupion/

Douppion /Thai silk

Dupion silk is characterized by patterns, stripes, checks & ikat designs, slubbes, irregular textured, tangles thread, using double cocoons, containing male and female pupae, producing a tangled thread resulting in a slubbed irregular texture.
7. Fancy silk Woven patterns and textures, metallic threads also Jacquard silk
8. Habotai Chinese/Japanese smooth silk
9. Habutae Plain woven silk from Far East, used as lining material
10. Mousseline Very light silk
11. Noil Made from waste silk, looks like cotton, surface uneven and nubby, with slight sheen.
12. Organza Sheer fabric, yarn dyed before gum is removed. Transparent dull, luster, mesh-like flat, firm, stiff texture’s
13. Pongee Stiff & transparent
14. Raw silk Silk retaining its natural gum, sericin. Lusterless, but strongest & most durable state. Dye does not penetrate evenly. Raw silk need to be degummed for batik tulis use.
15. Satin Opaque fabric, bright luster on the face side, smooth, soft or firm texture as desired.
16. Schappe silk 90% of gum serotin removed
17. Shantung Chinese wild silk fabric. Opaque, semi dull luster, woven with doupion wefts, results in soft slubbed texture.
18. Sheer silks Chiffon, georgette fine semi transparent silk
19. Taffeta China silk, stiff heavy silk with dense weave
20. Tussah Indian silk with uneven weave, heavy but with texture
21. Twill Slightly patterned





4.1 Overview of the batik tulis production process.


01. Batik workshop
02. Drafting the working copy
03.Copying design on cloth
04.Copying design on cloth detail
05. Alternative method of copying with light table
06.Cloth ready for waxing
07 Canting or batik pen
08. Batik wax
09.Heating batik wax in wax pan or wajang on stove
10.Preparing the canting
11.Waxing the cloth
12.Drying cloth after first waxing
13. Batik dye stuff
14.Weighing the dye stuff
15. Making dye past
16. Mixing dye with liquid
17. Dye bath
18. Dye bath detail
19. Removing excess dye
20. Drying cloth after dye bath
21. Cloth ready for next waxing
22. Second waxing
23. Second waxing detail
24. Dyeing small motifs with brush: “coletan”
25. Drying after second dyeing
26. Drying after second dyeing detail
27.Workers returning home




Steps in the process of producing silk

01  Silkworms eating mulberry leaves
02     Silk worms on screen
03     Mulberry shrubs
04     Cocoons ready for reeling
05     Bags with silk cocoons
06     Reeling silk by cooking
07     Spinning- twisting silk by hand
08     Tool for twisting silk
09     Machine for twisting silk
10     Silk yarn newly twisted
11     Loom for weaving silk
12     Weaving silk
13     De-gumming through cooking with neutral soap
14     Silk with in-woven pattern A
15     Silk with in-woven pattern B
16     Silk with in-woven pattern C
17     Making fringes A
18     Making fringes B


4.3 Batik Cloth Collection Charles van Santen


Origin Period
Yogyakarta batiks 1930-1940       no 01-08 Kain panjang & sarong: 8 pieces
Pekalongan batiks   1900-1910     no 09-20

With the exception of no 15 which is a sarong from 2004

Kain panjang 6 pieces

Altar pieces   4 pieces

Sarong           2 pieces

Lasem batiks   1970-1980               no 21-24 Four sarongs
Gorga batiks 1998-2002               no 25-38 5 sets of Kain panjang & slendang

4 pieces slendangs or stola

Gorga batiks 2003-2005                no 39-51 Kain panjang , sarongs & matching slendangs
Gorga Batik 2003-2005               no 52- 68 Nine shawls & eight scarfs
Post Gorga 2005                         no 71-74 Two Kain panjang, one sarong and one slendang


4.4 Fill-in motifs or Isen isen

An overview of fill-in motifs or Isen isen:

Source pages 214-217 of Batik, Spirit of Indonesia, Yayasan Batik Indonesia, Editor Judi Achjadi, 1999, Jakarta.