Indigo Dyeing and a Wax Resist Experiment

Friday, August 4, 2017

Last month I had the chance to do some more indigo dyeing! It's become a summer tradition, and I look forward to it each year.

This year, I thought it would be fun to try combining indigo dyeing with wax resists. I first tried wax resist techniques back in 2011, and always meant to do it again. Thankfully I held onto all the supplies.

This technique uses a combination of paraffin wax and beeswax. It's melted and kept at a stable temperature, so that it remains a liquid. The wax is then applied to the fabric using a variety of different tools and techniques. I like to keep things simple, so I stuck to cardboard stamps and a paintbrush for the most part.

It is time consuming and messy, but it's really fun. Once the wax dries on the fabric it is dyed. After that the wax is removed and the fabric is finished! I highly recommend Color Your Cloth by Malka Dubrawsky if you're interested in learning more about this technique. I have constantly pulled for this book year after year.

On the dyeing side, I've been using the Jacqard Indigo Kits for each of my indigo sessions over the last few years. For more information on dyeing, check out my Indigo Dyeing Tutorial. I find dyeing fabric so magical and these kits make it so easy. I think the key is going in without expectations. Often times you don't know how a resist will turn out, and even when you think you do, it can still surprise you!

In addition to the wax resisted pieces I dyed this year, I also used resist techniques to dye two pieces of utility canvas and a piece of Kona white. At the last minute I threw in a piece of embroidered double gauze from a friend (thanks Anna!). I have before and after photos of each piece that I dyed below. For more of these, see my tutorial.

Machine embroidered piece with polyester thread. We weren't sure what kind of thread was used for the embroidery when it went into the bath, but the result tells me it wasn't cotton! The stitching stayed white, while the fabric took the dye.

Fabric was scrunched into big messy balls and then resisted with rubber bands.

Accordion folded, secured with clothespins.

This fabric was folded and then resisted with a square on the top and bottom held together with clamps.

Wax resist applied to fabric before dyeing.

Wax resist applied to fabric before dyeing.

Wax resist applied to fabric before dyeing.

Wax resist applied to fabric before dyeing.

I've got an indigo kit leftover from our retreat this year, so there will be another session for me later this summer. Lucky me!

Happy Dyeing!


  1. this is so fascinating--love your results...hugs, Julierose

  2. You made some beautiful fabric!

  3. This is a very interesting article. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and lovely fabric!

  4. I love this, Jeni. Your ideas are simple with such elegant results.
    Do you use Kona SFD? or a smoother more dense fabric?
    Your fabrics are absolutely stunning!!

  5. Okay, I just read your other page as suggested. Thank you for your great instructions and enthusiasm. It does look so fun

  6. WOW! When you're done, is there wax stuck to the fabric?

    1. It is! It has to be boiled off at the very end!

  7. Ficou maravilhoso , como sempre!!!
    Muito criativa!


Thanks for keeping this blog a positive place, I appreciate the time you are taking to leave a comment! I will answer any questions here in the comments section.

All comments are moderated to filter out spam. Your comment will appear after it has been approved.