Batik For Kids With Glue

It's easy for kids to create batik fabric with just glue and paint
It's easy for kids to create batik fabric with just glue and paint

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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.

Supplies needed

  • 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.

Start the process by letting your little ones "draw" on the fabric with glue.  They can create what ever their imagination can conjurer up.
Start the process by letting your little ones "draw" on the fabric with glue. They can create what ever their imagination can conjurer up.

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.

It's very important for the fabric to be completely covered for the batik process to work.
It's very important for the fabric to be completely covered for the batik process to work.

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.

Painted fabric needs to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Painted fabric needs to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Waiting for the glue to dissolve is the hardest part for kids waiting to see their works of art.
Waiting for the glue to dissolve is the hardest part for kids waiting to see their works of art.

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.

Awesome batik pattern.  Yep, that's a Pokemon battle you see there.  Creativity of littles are boundless.
Awesome batik pattern. Yep, that's a Pokémon battle you see there. Creativity of littles are boundless.

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21 comments

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for sharing your process with photos. The kids' examples are delightful! Pinning to my Children's Activities/Books… board.


Healthyannie profile image

Healthyannie 2 years ago from Spain

Great article, I just realized how much I miss this.


gingerka profile image

gingerka 2 years ago from Colorado

I really want to give this a try. Thanks


Krysanthe profile image

Krysanthe 2 years ago from Bloomington, Illinois Author

I'm glad you all enjoyed. We had such fun making this project!


Victoria Baughman profile image

Victoria Baughman 2 years ago from Michigan

I love this idea! With 2 children and 6 nieces and nephews this should be a fun project. Thank you for sharing this!


Krysanthe profile image

Krysanthe 2 years ago from Bloomington, Illinois Author

They will have so much fun Victoria. My littles loved it.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

Well deserved HOTD! I love this, and all of your projects. Thinking this would be a fun rainy day weather project.


Robin Marie profile image

Robin Marie 2 years ago from USA

This looks like a fun project to do with the kids. Congrats on HotD!


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Congratulations for HOTD!

Sounds like a very creative work for children. Voted up and thanks for sharing the details.


My Bell profile image

My Bell 2 years ago

What a great craft to do with the kids! Congrats on HOTC!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Back to say congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this neat art project idea.


junecampbell profile image

junecampbell 2 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Good kid project. Congrats on HOTD


lupine 2 years ago

Great way to preserve kid's creativity. I learned how to batik with wax and dyes. This was an arts and crafts project in high school, many years ago - still have them. There are several steps...sounds easier with glue and paint.


HealthfulMD profile image

HealthfulMD 2 years ago from Northern California

We did traditional Batik with wax when I was a kid. This looks waay easier. Even easy enough to do in the classroom.


firstday profile image

firstday 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

sure looks fun


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 2 years ago from Western New York

What a great idea! I will probably try this with my cub scouts. This is a very clever method of doing Batik - I never thought about using glue!


Krysanthe profile image

Krysanthe 2 years ago from Bloomington, Illinois Author

It was really easy all! My kids had a ball.

Thanks so much for all your well wishes. It's quite an honor to be named HOTD.


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Congrats on HOTD for this well-described wonderful craft-- I can hardly wait to do it with my granddaughters who are incessant draw-ers and will love to make their own MLP (My Little Pony) pillow cases I'm quite sure-- or if they did MLP tea towels, perhaps they would want to dry the dishes more often? hmmm... Voting you up and sharing!


sallybea profile image

sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

Congratulations of your well deserved HOTD. I love this idea which is a lot safer than working with hot wax and a tjanting which I used as a youngster. It does seem that children are becoming more interested in the arts again. I do hope so. This hub gives them yet another idea to explore.


Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

This is an awesome idea. I did batik many years ago and have wanted to do more ever since. I've checkout Dharma Trading for supplies more than once but not gotten off my keister to get started again. I think I'll try this in the meantime as it's given me an idea for making zabuton pillows.


cheeluarv profile image

cheeluarv 2 years ago from INDIA

Absolutely brilliant ,inspirational idea on batik.,...going try this weekend.Congratulations on HOTD.

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