The art (or craft as you like) of batik is originated from Indonesian region. In fact, it is still uncertain where actually the art of batik was born. Many historians believe that batik came into Indonesia from India or Iran while others are sure that it was born in Indonesia. The word batik itself has an Indonesian origin "titik" that means dot because in many cases dots are used to form a complicated batik pattern.
The technology of batik is quite simple. Some areas of fabrics are covered with a protective means. In most cases hot wax is used and after that fabrics is dyed in a regular way. After the dyestuff dries the wax can be removed forming a complex picture on the fabrics. This procedure can be repeated several times to achieve a more complex pattern.
Batik technique is very simple and can be used at home what made it very popular with people who love hand dyeing. There are many different books and article about batik, so it is not that hard to find needed information. Internet is also full of different web sites that are dedicated to hand dyeing in general and to batik technique, in particular.
They have a great number of batik making tips and tricks, so it is pretty easy to start if you want to try batik technique by yourself. All that you need is wax, a piece of cloth and some sorts of wax resistant dyestuff. A special device called canting (or tjanting) can also be very helpful for batik.
It is a special tool that has a glass or metal cup with a thin spout for melted wax. This device allows drawing on fabric with melted wax forming a complex pattern. But some simple patterns can also be established with a simple brush. The technology is pretty similar to the hand dyeing technique in general with only exception that fabric is covered with wax before dyeing.
Most of the dyestuffs that are used for hand dyes are wax resistant, so they will suit well for batik. In the art and fabrics shops you can find different batik starting kits that already contain all the needed instruments (including canting), special fabrics and dyestuffs. So, with such a kit you have nothing to worry about when adopting batik as a hobby.
With a brush and canting a great number of different pictures can be made but if you can't think of your own design you can easily choose one of the publicly available batik patterns. Different hobby magazines have such patterns or you can search for them at the batik web sites on the internet.
Just melt the wax and apply it to your fabric with a brush or canting according to the desired pattern. Let the wax cool down and the dye color your fabrics. After drying you can remove all the wax with a piece of paper and a hot iron. If you do not have an iron at hand you can use a hot water, just add a little soap into it for better result.
After that you can repeat all the steps as many times as you wish and that will form a pretty complex picture. You can also come across a description of the so-called "cold batik". In that case instead of hot wax some other sort of resistant is used. That can be more complex and it is better to start your hobby with the hot wax batik technique.