Batik 101: Where It Comes From, How It’s Made, and How to Use It in an Interior

Explore Batik Art

Learn the basics of the age-old technique—and how to make batik fabric sing in a modern home.

Celebrated by designers, tastemakers, and pattern-lovers for centuries, batik is both a type of fabric and an ancient dyeing technique with a long and complicated history. Often grouped with other historically significant, patterned textiles like ikats, suzanis, and chintz, batik has played an important role in several different cultures over the ages.

What is batik fabric?

Generally speaking, batik fabric is a textile that has been colored using one of several different dyeing methods (which are also known as batik). There are many different batik styles, each incorporating their own decorative methods, tools, and materials. But the defining feature of true batik fabrics is that their patterns are created via wax-resist dyeing, a process where artists apply hot wax to certain parts of a cloth, soak it in various dye baths, then peel off or boil away the wax to reveal where the fabric has “resisted” the dyes.

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