Batik For Kids With Glue
What is Batik?
Batik is a method of dyeing cloth. This ancient method involves applying a design of hot wax onto white fabric; the fabric is then dyed with beautiful colors. After the fabric has been dyed, the wax is removed. As if by magic, the area where the wax was applied resists the dye and a lovely batik pattern appears.
Although kids and hot wax really don’t mix, batiking can also be done in a not so ancient method using glue and paint. The results of this glue and paint batiking can be stunning, and its always great when kids are able to create something that they can use on a regular basis.
- White fabric to batik (see below for some guidance on what to use for this project)
- Elmer’s washable blue gel glue (yes, it HAS to be this kind)
- Acrylic paints
- Freezer paper
- Paint brushes
Batiking is usually done on white fabric, but you could also use a light colored fabric. The type of fabric is really not important, as long as you do not select something like terry cloth or velvet. The fabric really cannot have a textured surface. Also, when selecting something to batik, keep size in mind. A young child is not going to have the patience to batik bed sheets. They would, however, have the patience to do perhaps a pillowcase, t-shirt, fabric napkin, or dish towel. If you are at a loss of what to use, some craft stores sell a variety of blank canvas items at reasonable prices that would work perfect for this project.
We chose kitchen towels and pillow cases for our batik fabrics. They both seemed like something we would use, and the size of the project wouldn't be to great.
Instructions for Glue and Paint Batik
Before we begin, it’s prudent to mention that this is a several day project. There are several phases and each phase has to dry completely before moving on to the next. That being said, you will need a workspace where you can just leave your batiking project to dry for a few days. Prep the area by putting freezer paper (plastic coating side facing up) underneath each piece of fabric you plan on using. If you decide to batik on pillow cases, put the freezer paper inside the pillowcase so that the glue and/or paint does not absorb through to the other side of the pillowcase.
Phase one of this process involves applying the glue to the fabric. Use the Elmer’s gel glue to draw a design on the fabric. The design and be anything the kids can imagine. My son created many different images on his, and my daughter wanted to create a stained glass effect. Seriously, anything goes. Explain to the kids that the places they put the glue will become white in the final project.
Tiny tykes may not be able to squeeze the glue out of the bottle. No worries, they can still do this project. It might just be easier for you to apply the glue for them, and let them do the painting part of the project.
Once the glue has been applied, it must dry completely before beginning the next part. Just plan on letting it sit overnight.
The next phase of the project is painting the fabric. We used plain old acrylic paints that you can buy at your local craft store. It takes quite a lot of paint to cover the fabric, so plan on having several bottles on hand. Also, don’t use any paints that shimmer. The shimmering effect will wash out, and the color doesn’t bind as well to the fabric.
Completely cover the fabric with a layer of paint. The kids must even paint over the glue lines. They can paint it however they want, just remind them that the whole fabric space must be painted. Sponge paint brushes work best if you are trying to cover a large area, but if the kids want to get detailed they can use small brushes. Don’t hesitate to help them fill in the whole fabric if they start to get tired or are missing spots.
Once the fabric is painted, it must dry completely. Again, I’d recommend overnight.
After all of the fabric is dry, you are ready to make the magic happen. Fill up the sink with hot water, and let the fabric soak in it for thirty minutes. The hot water will soften the glue and make it fall off of the fabric leaving the batiked design.
After thirty minutes, you can rub the fabric together to get off any remaining glue. If necessary, You can also scrape off any remaining bits of glue with your fingernails or a toothbrush. If you have some huge gobs of glue remaining, put more hot water in and soak it some more.
The project is now ready for a run through the washing machine. Use the hottest and longest water setting to assure that any missed bits of glue are removed from your project. Once it’s washed, dry it on the heat only setting to set the paint color.
Your kids will be amazed at the outcome of this project, and they will love using whatever lovely item they have decided to batik. If they are anything like my littles, they will want to do it again.
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