What is wax print fabric?

I use a lot of wax print fabric in my designs for a few reasons.

1. I love the bright vivid colors and patterns.
2. The fabric has a great feel to it, is washable and usually doesn’t require lining.
3. I have a good friend who travels to Africa often and brings me back amazing pieces she finds. Yes, I am lucky (and so are you!).

Given my heavy use of wax print fabric, the term gets thrown around a lot, and I figured it was time to some explaining.

So. What exactly is wax print fabric?

Wax print fabric is characterized by bright, colorful prints and designs that look exactly the same on both sides. It is most associated with Africa, particularly West Africa, as it is the most common fabric used there. The technique for creating wax print fabric designs originated over 1,000 years ago in Java, Indonesia, and they refer to it as “batik”. However, the Dutch are responsible for bringing the look of “batik” or “wax print” to the masses, as they were the first ones who attempted to imitate the Javanese batik fabric design using machinery. The quality of the mass produced fabric at the time was said to be sub-par and cheap.

How is wax print fabric made?

The traditional Indonesian Javanese batik method involves applications of wax to create patterns in dyed cloth. This method yields beautiful works of art, but is time intensive and can be costly. Check out a video of how to make batik prints here:

Most wax print fabrics you find available for sale are not made the traditional way, but rather for a mass audience. A variety of manufacturing methods are employed, which greatly affects their quality, however many companies still manufacture and dye the fabrics themselves.

What makes wax print fabrics unique?

Majority of wax print fabrics and designs are limited in production. Each piece is marked with producer, product name and registration number of the design are printed on the selvage.

What should I look for when buying wax print fabrics?

Make sure it is 100% cotton and try to find smaller batch operations that produce the fabric close to where they sell it.

A short overview, but hopefully helpful none-the-less!

4 thoughts on “What is wax print fabric?

  1. I am really please with your comments in related to the wax textile.
    Hi guys just to inform you that our new ready made african is coming in live soon

  2. Dear friends,glad to find you are the related fabric distributor,we are the specialized manufacturer of Wax fabric printing which located in Jiangsu China,we have exported our products to many countries,especially Africa.Our advantage is the full penetration printing,it’s our best selling point.There are less factory can do same high quality with us in China.If you are interested in any of our products,pls feel free to contact me with Email yolandayue321@163.com.Iam
    I am looking forward to your feedback.

  3. Dear sir,

    As I can see from your website that you are a big company dealing WAX PRINT FABRICS;

    Our company can provide you any type of Cotton Greige Fabric or even Wax printed Fabrics catering to your needs.all kind of other fabrics
    We are a big supplier of such fabrics to Chinese & African market and exporting millions of meters since past many years.

    Relating to specific needs of Wax Print related qualities, we can offer you following qualities in 100% Cotton (Guaranteed)


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