By Rain Blanken
Microwaveable soy wax is changing the way many crafters do batik. Soy wax is becoming more common among dye enthusiasts because it’s so much easier to work with than the traditional paraffin and beeswax mix. Here are some of the truths behind soy wax and how to use it in your batik projects.Why Use Soy Wax?
- Soy has a lower heating temperature, so it cuts down on the risk of burns.
- Soy is clean burning. It doesn’t produce the toxic fumes that paraffin and beeswax mixtures do.
- Microwave soy flakes do away with the use of double-broilers and electric skillets that are required for paraffin/beeswax mixes.
- Soy wax washes right out of your clothes in hot water, removing one of the most time-consuming steps of batik.
- Soy wax gives you the option to crackle or not. For a crackled look, bunch up the fabric once the soy wax is dry.
Tips for Using Soy Wax
- Never heat the soy wax until it smokes. Soy wax heats at a low temperature and should never smoke.
- In addition to the microwave, you can use an electric skillet or crockpot to melt the wax.
- Use only natural tip brushes if you are painting on the wax. Synthetic brushes will melt in the hot wax.
- Never apply wax to damp fabric. This will prevent the soy from penetrating the fibers.
- Use an embroidery hoop to stretch your cloth if you do not want any crackle. The soy wax will be brittle when it cools, so any handling will cause a crackle effect.
- As with any multi-step batik design, start with lighter colors and work your way to the darker ones. If you have already dyed an area dark blue, an added yellow will not show up.
- To wash out soy wax, you can simple chuck the clothing in the washer. Wash clothes on hot. Synthrapol is a detergent most recommended by batik artists, but most any detergent will work to dissolve the soy. Alternately, you can use a pot of water and 1 tsp of detergent or Synthrapol.
If you would still like to try the traditional paraffin and beeswax batik mixes, check out our guide tomixing batik wax.