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The Basics of the
Watercolor Batik Process

With watercolor batik, hot wax is used as a resist. The wax blocks the areas that aren’t intended to receive paint. The batik process uses a type of rice paper, watercolor paints and melted wax. With this method, there will be unintentional drips of wax and spreading color. These unexpected additions can actually add to the look of the art. 

Video of the Batik Process - Time Lapse. 

Batik Supplies 

Type of rice paper, watercolor paints, designated wax brushes (used for only wax), watercolor brushes, electric frying pan with temperature control, permanent - waterproof pens, iron, paraffin wax, newspapers or newsprint paper, freezer/wax paper, pastel pencils.

Preparation for Batik Process

  • Cut the paper to size leaving extra on all sides.

  • Prepare a sketch and place it under the  paper. Use a permanent, waterproof pen to trace the design.

  • Melt the paraffin wax in an electric frying pan.

  • Place a piece of freezer paper to cover the board for beneath the art paper (shiny side up).





Apply Wax

Dip a dedicated wax brush into the hot wax and spread it onto the paper starting with the lightest or white areas.

Add Watercolor

The wax dries almost instantly, so the paper will be ready to paint the lightest value on your painting. Paint must be completely dry to progress. 


Keep alternating waxing and watercolor layers until the desired result. Choose lightest values to darkest values.


When all the layers of wax and paint are complete, let completely dry. Cover the entire surface of the paper with another coat of wax. When this layer of wax has completely cooled, gently crumble it up. Small cracks will form in the wax. Open it up gently and allow the loose wax fall into a garbage can. Flatten the paper gently and apply one more watercolor wash with a stiffer brush dedicated to this process - not your good brushes. Some of the wash will settle into the cracks and some will sit on top of the wax. Apply another layer of wax over the entire surface sealing the wet paint into the wax.

Take Wax Off

Create a “batik sandwich” by laying sheets of newspaper/newprint on top and under of your piece. Use  an iron set to hot (the cotton setting) and press the pile. The heat will melt the wax and the newspaper will soak it up. When the newspapers become fairly saturated, replace them with fresh papers above and below. Repeat this process until the newspapers remain clean and all the wax has been removed.


There are several options for editing after the batik process is complete. Pastel pencils work well for highlights or shadows. Even coaxing more watercolor into small areas will work even with small amounts of wax residue still in the rice paper.

tape freezer paperIMG-2384.jpg
Gatorboard paper tapingIMG-2385.jpg
trace artworkIMG-2387.jpg
Choose colorsIMG-2389.jpg
First wax WHITEIMG-2388.jpg
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