Soy Wax Revisited

I’ve not written a tutorial for soy wax batik for years, so I thought it was time for an update. So let’s get started.

Let’s get our supplies together.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Melting pot – An electric skillet works great and can be picked up at thrift or discount stores. Make sure it has a temperature gauge.
  • Soy wax – Purchase this at ProChemical and Dye or Dharma Trading.  I would be hesitant to buy soy wax from candle companies, but that’s my opinion.
  • Covered padded surface and pins
  • Tools – These can be anything except plastic which might melt. Tjantings are great to make thin lines and write with, but are not necessary.
  • Fabric – I recommend washing and drying before use.
  • Drip catcher – I am using a piece of cardboard as a catcher. This prevents the wax dripping on the fabric as I move it over my piece.
  • Dye-Na-Flow paints -for this tutorial I’m using these paints which I love, but you can use other fabric paints or dyes!
  • Foam brushes –  I love how these spread the paint over the fabric.
  • Small bowl – This is for pouring paint out or you can also add water to the paint if needed.
  • Iron and Ironing Surface
  • Newspapers


Pin fabric to padded board.

Dip the paint brush or whatever marker you want to use into the melted soy wax. I started with a brush and made brush strokes on this piece.

It’s a good idea to look at the back of the piece to make sure the soy has gone all the way through the fabric.

Now you need to wait for it to dry which doesn’t take long at all. Then it’s on with the painting. Everywhere there is wax, it wlll appear white. When adding color, it’s always a good idea to start with a lighter shade than the colors you will be adding.

Once finished painting, let dry. This may take an hour or longer depending on the temperature of the room and humidity. That’s why it’s always a good idea to work on several pieces at a time.

Once it is dry, you could stop here and proceed with setting the paint and washout, but I like more texture and depth. So now it’s time to add another layer. I’m using this old biscuit maker to make wax circles on the fabric.

And let the wax dry.

Once the wax is dry, then we add another color.

Let’s do another layer with a container that makes a larger circle.

And now an even darker paint.

I stopped there, but I could have added more wax and black.  Once the fabric is dry, cover the ironing surface with newspaper. Place the piece waxed side up and cover with newspaper.

Now iron on the newspaper. The wax will come off on the newspaper so you will have to change it when it gets saturated. Keep ironing until no wax shows up on the newspaper.

Turn over the fabric and iron on the back side. This is to make sure the paint is set. Once this is done you can throw it in the washer and then the dryer.

Here is the finished piece. I needed to be light-handed on the first brushing. Not sure I like all of those white globs!

Here are some other pieces. This first one I used those brush strokes for all of the wax layers except the last one. I started with yellow, and then added two different reds.  With the final black layer I paint wax over the entire piece, put in the freezer for 10 minutes, crack and then paint over with black. It’s kind of scary but if you’ve covered it completely with wax, you won’t end up with a totally black piece.

Here is another piece using two blues and black.

With this last piece I used the Tjanting tool and wrote on the piece twice.

I think four layers is about the limit, or it was at least my limit! I had to push myself to continue. I wanted to stop after the first layer on the first piece. This is so much fun, and I love the results. Hope this tutorial is clear. If you have any questions, please let me know.

I’ve really have enjoyed playing with this and other resists these past couple of months. I put together a slide show to share with SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) members to go over the various types of resists I like to use, and presented it to the Indiana group last month. If your group is meeting through Zoom, I’d love to come and present this talk. It’s called Creating Fabulous Fabrics with Resists. I allow plenty of time for questions and answers at the end. Email me at if your group would be interested.

More to show, but wanted to get this tutorial I posted today. Have a fun and creative week. Thanks for stopping by.