Vintage Textile Lesson: Batik

In celebrating this week where we look at Vintage Linen and Textiles, we thought we would share a unique style and technique that is used in dyeing different textiles and goes back many centuries while lending to being known as very ancient tradition.

The process is properly named Batik (pronounced Bah-Teek) But, what is it? It is the a unique process of utilizing hot wax and different dyes to create a very artistic look to fabrics. The word Batik itself originates from the word “Tik” which means to dot. Batik goes back many centuries in places such as Indonesia and Malay – where it is still practiced and perfected with some of the best quality pieces of textiles today.

In this process, hot wax is applied on different areas of the fabric while manipulating the effect of the dyes. The process may even include other hand painted work to achieve the look the artist or maker is going for.

While this process often occurs on many different fabric mediums such as wools or silks, it has transformed over time to even be included in other items such as wood or metals. Here are a couple modern day examples of the Batik process being used on items such as furniture, clothing, and even pillows:



Some of you will notice, that this process on textiles currently floods today’s marketplace. With the resurgence of the “Boho Chic” style in fashion – purses such as that one pictured above are currently selling like hotcakes. While re-purposing vintage furniture, such as the 1920’s wood trimmed couch shown above, takes on a whole new look while utilizing a vibrant textile that features this process.

However, the true vintage – even antique (items dating 100 years old or more) – Batik textiles have now reached a new audience including devoted art collectors and enthusiasts. With the recent jump in the collector’s market of Chinese and other export items along with the booming economy in China – pieces such as the 1920’s Batik textile shown below could likely go at auction for thousands. Let’s take a look at two exceptional pieces:


This piece originated during the 1920’s and was sold recently for over $2000
Here is a piece that is featured at the Met Costume Institute. It also originated during the 1920’s and is a stunning evening dress made from Batik print over Asian silk.

There was recently a wonderful appraisal featured on the Antiques Roadshow which featured a $12.99 Goodwill find that was done in the style of Batik and originated in 1965 by a very famous artist, Chuah Thean, who is often featured in museum collections. You can watch the appraisal yourself by clicking on the link provided below:

Today, there are a number of amateur techniques that follow in this artsy style that are very easy to do. You can even find kid-friendly craft projects using Elmer’s Glue that recreate a Batik-like effect. There are a number of different examples provided on Pinterest located by clicking HERE.

We hope you will go on to share this post to others you think may enjoy it. We at Got Vintage? would love to have you join our group if you are a vintage dealer or seller – even a buyer. Follow along on our For Sale pages though Facebook if you love buying vintage or re purposing antiques. You can even enjoy viewing our creative boards located on Pinterest. You can connect with us through all of the following social media links:

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