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Step by step on how to do a quick batik with flour and water as opposed to wax, presented by: Crafty Corner

For any questions contact: Winnie

complete batik

What you need to do batik:

  • 80 cm X 80 cm 100% pure cotton
  • Flour, make sure it is NOT self raising flour
  • Plastic craft bottle with pointed spout
  • Fabric Paint and one colour (choose a dark colour so it contrasts the color of your fabric)
  • Paint brush (quite thick for easy coverage)
  • Masking tape
  • Fabric Marker
  • Pattern
requirments for batik

Read through all the instructions first before starting this craft. It is recommended before completing this project that you read through the Fabric Painting Basics.

Step 1

Pre-wash your fabric. It is very important that the material be pre-washed in hot water, and then dried and ironed before painting.

Step 2

Print the design you going to be using. Go over the design with a dark koki or marker so it is easily visible through the cloth.

trace design

Step 3

Use masking tape to stick your design onto a window where the sun is shining through. The window will act as a light box and make tracing your design much easier. Remember not to leave anything that is stuck down with masking tape for more than two hours as the masking tape will become very hard to remove from the window.

stick design on window using masking tape

Step 4

Use masking tape to stick your cloth over the design. Pull the cloth relatively tight so that it does not move around while you trace the design.
Trace the design with a fabric marking pen, you can use the one that fades after a certain time, but the one that disappears when wet is better as it gives you more time to finish your work.
Do not trace the design with a pencil as the pencil is very difficult to remove and in most cases you will be stuck with lead mark on your finished product.
Work from one end to the other, and working away from your hand so as not to smudge the markings.

tracing design onto fabric

Step 5

Mix two heaped tablespoons of flour with about two tablespoons of water. You need to end up with a well mixed stodgy mixture that is just thin enough to be pushed out the spout of your bottle. You can add more flour or water if it is too runny or too thick.

Step 6

Now we need to fill up our bottle. The easiest way to fill the bottle is to take the spout off, and turn it upside-down. Then squeeze the bottle as tight as you can to push out all the air. Push the top of the bottle into the flour mixture, and slowly release the pressure. This will cause the bottle to expand and suck the flour up into it.

Turn the bottle the right way around and bump it on a counter top to push the flour mixture to the bottom of the bottle. Then squeeze your bottle again until the flour is about to come out the top, turn the bottle upside-down and suck up more flour.

fill bottle with flour mixture

Step 7

Take your fabric off the window and remove your design as well.
Lay the fabric onto a plastic sheet and place it on a table. Turn your bottle upside down and let the flour mixture run to the tip. Then gently squeeze the bottle so that the flour mixture comes out slowly.

Proceed to fill your design in all the places you don't want to change colour. The trick with batik is you need to think in reverse, so all the places that you do not paint now will eventually be where the colour is.

batik flour fill using plastic bottle

Step 8

Once you have completed painting the entire design, leave it to dry. Be careful not to fiddle with it, as it becomes quite crinkly as it dries and if you move it or bend it the flour will crack and the fabric paint will get into the cracks. This is sometimes used as a technique for special effect, but if you are not wanting cracks, then don't fiddle!

Step 9

You now need to paint your cloth very carefully. Try not to flatten the cloth or press too hard with your paint brush or you could cause cracks while painting. Apply the paint quite thickly, making sure to give the entire cloth good cover.

Leave the cloth to dry overnight. Make sure not to leave the cloth in the sun,as it will cause undesirable marks on the cloth if it dries too quickly. Once dry, apply another coat of paint if you think it is necessary, and then leave for three days before proceeding on to step 10.

fabric paintpainted batik

Step 10

Run a basin of cold water and submerge your cloth in it. After an hour, gently rub all the flour off the cloth, making sure to wash off all the flour.

wash batik cloth

Step 10

Hang the cloth to dry, and once dry your batik is complete!


After care

Proper after-care is probably the most important part of any fabric-painting project that is undertaken. Please see the notes below on heat setting and washing.

Heat Setting

Leave the finished cloth for a couple of days to dry completely before heat setting. There are a number of easy ways to heat seat fabric, which we have listed below:

  • Tumble dry the cloth for at least 45 minutes on high heat
  • Thoroughly press the cloth using an electronic press iron.
  • Preheat an ordinary household oven to 130 deg. C. Fold the painted side of the cloth inwards and place it on a baking tray. Place the tray with the cloth in the oven and immediately turn the oven off. Leave till the oven is cool.


Since dirt does not readily penetrate fabric-painted articles but only really attaches itself to the surface, it is usually only necessary to rinse the article in luke-warm soapy water and then with clean water. Do not use strong detergents or bleaches to wash fabric-painted articles as the colors will fade and the product will look washed out.

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