What are Wax Prints?

AFFASO shirts are high quality digital reproductions of original African wax prints.

What are Wax Prints?

Wax Prints are colourful cotton fabrics produced using a mechanised wax-resist printing technique inspired from the Indonesian hand-crafted batik method.




In the late 19th century, the British trader Ebenezer Brown Fleming introduced the prints to West Africa where the consumers embraced the exotic, colourful patterns together with the random  imperfections that imbued the fabric with an attractive, unique signature.

The Wax Print Process



Wax prints are produced using 100% cotton grey fabic which is scoured, washed, bleached and mercerised to remove impurities and prepare the cloth for wax printing.




The design is etched on to two copper rollers which are mounted on to the wax printing machine. The molten wax resin will be picked up in the etched roller and impressed on to both sides of the cloth.




Wax printed cloth

What the industry refers to as ‘wax’ is actually pine resin that serves to resist the dye.




Dyed Indigo

The cloth is dyed using Indigo or other coloured dyes. The dye penetrates the cloth in the areas that are not protected by the wax resin



First washing removes most of wax

The dyed cloth is then washed to remove most of the wax from the cloth but small random spots of wax remain.




As the first colour is applied to the cloth, the random spots of wax will resist the colour and leave small pearls of white when all the wax is washed from the cloth.
First colour print (tange) all wax removed



An optional second colour may be added to the pattern when all the wax has been removed.
Second colour print (yellow)



What Makes Wax Prints Unique?

There are various random wax resist effects that can occur during the wax process according to the nature of the pattern, the dyes and washing processes.

Indigo Crackle effects occur when the cloth is washed vigourasly and the wax resin breaks allowing the indigo dye to penetrate the cloth through the cracks in the wax.





Marble effect occurs when the pattern allows larger bubbles of wax resin to remain on the wax and resist parts of the first colour application.






Small bubbles or pearls of white usually occurring when the pattern is more detailed and small spots of wax remain on the cloth following the initial washing process.




The random wax resist effects are what makes wax prints unique.

AFFASO uses digital printing techniques to preserve the beauty of the original prints and produces its shirts on high quality cotton fabric with a comfortable and contemporary fit.

Digital printing is a more environmentally friendly production process compared to the traditional printing and dyeing methods. It allows us to produce smaller volumes and increase exclusivity across a wide range of high quality designs and colours.

We strive for excellent quality and sustainability at each stage of our production process. You can learn more through this link to our blog.

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