Let’s create our Singapore batik!

This is the step-by-step instructions to creating your own Singapore batik. Register here to get your free kit!

Batik Simbut is an old textile dye-resist technique using glutinous rice paste from Indonesia. This is a surface dyeing technique without dye-resist penetration like its batik sibling with hot wax. Hailing from the old Sundanese kingdom from West Java, this technique is gaining traction for its more environmentally friendly materials and process.

You will need to prepare the following (not included in the kit):

  • A piece of paper
  • A pencil and an eraser
  • A thick marker
  • A cup of water for washing the brush
  • A ruler, a compass and protractor (optional, for the fans of geometric shapes)

 

Here are the instructions to make your own batik:

  1. Drawing patterns
  2. Transferring patterns
  3. Setting up medium
  4. Adding dye resist
  5. Adding colours
  6. Removing dye resist

Drawing Patterns

  1. Sketch on a piece of paper of the design that you feel best represents Singapore.
  2. Trace using a black thick marker so that it is visible when transferring on to the cloth.


Tips:
  • Do not draw with too many fine details in close proximity.
  • It is recommended to limit the field to within the embroidery hoop in the centre of the bag.
  • Looking for inspiration? You can start by exploring how you feel when you hear about “Singapore”. How would you express that feeling using simple shapes (lines and dots are a good start), thickness of the strokes, colours, etc? What object comes to mind?
  • Abstract/realist? Geometrical/irregular? Monochrome/colourful? It’s YOUR Singapore!

Transferring Patterns

  1. Place the paper with the drawn patterns underneath the medium that you are working on. You may need to fold and insert the paper inside the bag.
  2. Trace the pattern lightly using a pencil.

Setting up Medium

  1. Place the smaller circle of the embroidery hoop inside the bag.
  2. Place the bigger circle of the embroidery hoop outside the bag to overlap the smaller circle, ensuring both circles fit perfectly.
  3. Tighten the bolt until the cloth is taut.

Adding Dye Resist

  1. Uncap the applicator bottle.
  2. Turn the bottle upside down and squeeze gently to remove any air bubbles and until a drop of dye resist flows out of the tip.
  3. Wipe off the excess resist and the dye resist is ready to use.
  4. Like decorating a cake, push the sides of the bottle gently, while dragging along the tracing line.
  5. Continue until all the pencil lines are traced.
  6. Let it dry until all the resist turns transparent.


Tips:
  • Do not be discouraged if the lines are uneven. Keep on practising.
  • Hold your breath when tracing. This could help with more steady strokes.
  • Cap the bottle after each use to prevent resist drying and blocking along the metal tip.

Adding Colours

  1. After the resist is completely dried (i.e. it turns completely transparent), we can start adding colours.

  2. Shake the dyes before pouring it out onto the palette.
  3. Mix in the colours in the palette. The world is yours, mix it, lighten it, darken it, colour it to your heart’s content.
  4. Paint using the brush gently, especially near to the resist line where you might accidentally break off the resist.
  5. Let the dyes dry and rinse the brush for the next colours.
  6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 until all colours are completed.
  7. Repeat steps 2 to 6 for stronger shades of colour.
  8. Once everything is dry, you may add details, such as shadowing and blending of colours.



Tips:
  • Use the dropper and count the exact number of drops when mixing, in case you run out of dyes and need the same shades.
  • Rinse dropper and brushes in between colours to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Start with the light colours and work your way to the darker layers.
  • Push the brush and scrub the bristles onto the cloth in circular motion for a better absorption of dyes onto the cloth.

Removing Dye Resist

  1. Once all the colour is set and dry, wash the cloth in cold tap water to remove the dye resist agent completely.
  2. Hang dry away from direct sunlight



Note:
  • Do NOT wash your canvas in warm/hot water as raised temperature will wash off the dyes.
  • Once everything is dry, take a photo and upload it for submission into our exhibition!


Want to create your own Singapore tote? Register here and get your free* kit delivered to your house!