Natural rubber latex as a resist medium for batik production
To reduce the dependency of the exportable Paraffin wax, as a major resist component in batik making, the study examined the possibility of using the locally available natural rubber latex extracted from the natural rubber tree as a resist medium for batik production. A series of experiments were conducted using the rubber latex on mercerized cotton as a resist via stamping, tjanting and screen printing techniques. The experimental and descriptive methods under the qualitative research approach were the main instrument deployed. It was realized based on the various experiments conducted, that the natural rubber latex coagulates when expose to air, making its application difficult to adhere well on the fabric. To resolve this, a concentrated ammonia solution and poly vinyl acetate were added to the freshly tapped natural rubber latex to prevent coagulation, prolong its liquid state and improve its viscosity to make it applicable onto the cotton fabric. Though the unpleasant smell remains after de-latex, the project proved successful after a series of washing to reduce the smell of the turpentine. Further research is suggested to examine how the smell of the turpentine can be reduced to avoid eroding the brightness of the dyed fabric, especially when dyed with lighter colours such as orange and yellow.
Keywords: Natural rubber latex; ammonia solution; poly vinyl acetate; mercerized cotton; batik