The concept is simple enough even if the process itself is not.  
You dye in steps from light to dark covering all that you wish to
remain light with wax before proceeding to the next darkest dye.  
Actually Batiking is a very involved, messy and dangerous
process and I would never introduce it to children.  I’ve had
paraffin fires with high school seniors so I don’t exactly know
what the appropriate age is for this process.  The solution to the
danger and a good deal of the mess is crayon batiking or instant
batiking.  
Batik is an ancient art medium and methodology used for creating
design, usually on cloth and usually used in clothing.  It has
enjoyed many periods of revival but in America it had its greatest
heyday in the 60's.  Batiking is a form of wax resist, a technique
that is used in several well known processes.  One of the best
examples of a particularly meticulous wax resist method is found
in the folk art of Ukrainian Easter eggs.
 
As a teacher, I felt it was important that every now and then you
give the children something they are proud to take home and say
they did.  Don’t think kids don’t realize that their art projects are
what we adults euphemistically call primitive when we really
mean awful.  I don’t know when educators decided that art class
was an hour of entertainment in which the child could freely
express himself and was just supposed to have “fun”.  None of
the great artists studied art that way.  Musicians, writers,
athletes all have their exercises to do, rules to learn and
techniques to practice.   Why then should it be different for an
art student?  I know it is heresy to say so, but when a child is
given his first coloring book and box of crayons, I think someone
ought to tell him to stay within the lines and no, a sun cannot be
purple or a tree pink.  A sun is yellow or orange if it is setting and
trees have green leaves, unless of course it’s autumn, and
almost always have brown trunks.  There is time enough for them
to “express” themselves once they learn the basics skills.  Even
Picasso took life drawing and could draw the human body as well
as any artist before he took off into his blue period or cubism.  
This project requires that the student follow directions and keep
working at it until he gets it right.  As a teacher, I felt it was
important that every now and then you give the children
something they are proud to take home and say they did.    So if
you are working with mentally or physically handicapped people
this project may be too challenging.  If not, this art project can
teach basic application and execution skills, concepts of design
and color usage and of course the opportunity to introduce the
history and cultural background of Batik.
I love this project because it was the most successful I ever
presented to elementary students.  Here is a little quiz.  Which of
these two sample batiks was done by a 4th or 5th grader and
which was done by an adult and theoretical artist with a degree in
art?  
1 - Draw a design or free form shapes onto the paper.  For
children keep the page small because every inch must be
completely covered in crayon.  You have to press hard so the
area is completely covered without one bit of paper showing
through.  It is difficult to get children to color this darkly but it
will be an exercise for them in following directions and
keeping at the project until it is completed properly.  There will
be a good deal of crayon shavings so make sure you work on
newspaper.  

2 – Once the paper is completely covered in the manner
described it has to be crumbled up just as though you were
going to toss it in the waste basket.  Try to do this as gently as    
possible to keep from tearing the work.  A child’s face falls a bit
at this part of the process.  

3 – Un-crumple the work and lay flat

4 – Dilute India ink or black acrylic paint with water

5 – Brush the black wash over the entire surface and blot excess

6 -  Lay flat on layered newspaper, lay a scrap piece of smooth
cardboard on top and weight to insure flatness and allow to dry
completely.  

7 – Matte the finished work because the presentation is
everything with this project.
For the more ambitious crafter, below is an example of crayon batik
on cloth.  Using cotton cloth does provide a sturdier more durable
foundation but the process, while still easier than actual Batiking, is
more complex and requires hot wax and paraffin, fabric dye, ironing
and of course sewing if you plan on making pillows.  I have
provided the
instructions for the Batiked pillows and the design
templates for those who are interested in giving this a try.  Or you
could use the designs on paper and make wall hangings using the
easier paper method instead.
Because this project is about wax resist I am including an example
of a portrait done using this method.  In the usual  drawing process
the artist shades in the darkest areas.  The process is reversed in
this ink wash.  The light areas are defined and covered with wax
and then a very diluted wash of India ink is applied laying the first
shade of gray.  Then after the first wash has dried the artist covers
that part of the face that he wishes to remain that shade and
repeats the process until he gets to black.  
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