Batik originated in Indonesia. It is a wax-resist dyeing technique used to make traditional wrap clothing featuring unique patterns identifying a person’s social station and local origin.
Although batik fabric was traditionally made in earthy shades of brown, gold and indigo from natural dyes, in current commercial applications batik fabrics are frequently dyed in many vibrant colors.
The process involves drawing out patterns in hot wax on the fabric. The wax resists the dyes leaving the waxed areas free of dye. The waxing and dying process can be done more than once to produce more complicated patterns and multiple colors.
Since the wax is hard, it cracks during the dying process leaving the dye to seep into the patterns. This crackled appearance makes Batik easily identifiable. Although, the look of Batik is often replicated with modern printing processes on commercially-produced fabrics. So, while a fabric may look like Batik, it may or may not have gone through the actual wax-resistant dying process.
Batik is often used in Bohemian and boho chic decors because of its exotic look.