Batik Paper Creations for Kids
Ancient Painting Technique
Batik is a very old art form. It goes back maybe for thousands of years. Usually, the wax was applied to the fabric to prevent certain areas from receiving the color when the dye is applied. For paper batik, the same concept is used, only with crayons to create a drawing. When the watercolor is applied, it will not stick to the waxy crayon portion. It's that simple. Ready to start? Photo credit: All photos were taken by me in classroom or homeschool settings unless otherwise noted.
An Artist's Technique
I have used this technique for many years in my fine art. I like the way the wrinkled paper looks like stained glass. I have found it perfect for my "Angel" series. I have also used the technique for flower paintings. It creates it's own background that way. In some of my work, I use little to no wax and just use the watercolor on the wrinkled wet paper. However, this takes a great deal of patience to master as the paint wants to "bleed" where you don't want it to go.
Heavy white cover paper or Watercolor paper
Watercolors and a large brush
Step 1. Drawing
Draw in pencil and then color with crayons anything you desire: trains, planes, cats, dogs, family, florals, fantasy. Press hard with the crayons. Any light coating will disappear with the wetting and watercolor part of the project. Here I am starting with a cat. Using lots of round lines and half circles, I drew the cat first in pencil then began coloring.
Color your cat any way you want, but I made mine a black cat with a white face, like my favorite cat, Whiskers. Remember to press hard with the colors. Light coloring will disappear when you paint over it. This is the key to the effect. Crayons are made of wax. Watercolor won't stick to the wax. So when you paint, you can paint right over the waxy drawing because none of it will stick, if you have colored heavy enough. Think about the colors you want to make the background. If I wanted the background to be black or dark colors, I probably shouldn't color my cat black. In that case, I should color the cat orange or light brown. If the background is going to be light colors, then I should make my cat dark colors. Try not to make the background and the main subject the same color or value. Contrast is the key.
Step 2. Wrinkle the Paper
Run water over the paper. Carefully, wad the paper up like you are going to throw it away. Gently, straighten out the paper on your painting surface. Remember it is wet paper and could tear if you are not careful.
Step 3. Painting
When you open the box, your paints will be dry in the cups. If you just stick your brush in the water and swirl it around on the color you want, you will not have much paint on your brush and the color will look weak and washed out. Try adding a drop or two of water in each of the paint wells before you begin. Give them about 5 minutes to soften up. The colors will then get darker and richer as you paint with them because they have absorbed the water and gotten soft.
Don't try to "DIG" the paint out with the metal part of the brush (the sleeve), this won't work because it is watercolor, not thick paint like acrylic or tempura. Watercolor needs water, (it says so in its name), so wet your brush, scrape off the extra water so there won't be drips, and swirl the brush over the paint. The bristles or hair of the brush picks up the color. The more you swirl, the more color the hairs pick up. The metal part won't do this. Only the hair of the brush does this.
Use more than one color in the background. I used purple, then red, then orange and even yellow. Paint right over the crayon drawing. The paint won't stick to it. If it beads up on your coloring, you can wipe it with a paper towel so there won't be dots of color sitting on top of your wax coloring.
Paint the paper any way you choose. Allow to thoroughly dry. It is ready to proudly display.
Try a Sun Picture
Do steps one through three over again with new drawings. On this one, I created a happy sun using yellows and oranges.
Run water over the picture. The water won't bother the waxy crayons. Don't leave it in the sink long. It only needs to get wet, not saturated. Wet both sides, then turn the water off and wrinkle it up as before.
Just as before with the cat, be careful how you open the wrinkled paper. It is very fragile because it is wet and can tear. Don't worry if it does a little. I usually do tear a little on the corners but no one seems to notice the tears when it is dry and framed. Paint right away while the paper is still wet. Notice the paint seems into the wrinkles and makes them darker, giving the picture a stained glass look. This is because you have bruised the paper in those places. The paint will soak into the bruises and stay on the surface of the paper that isn't bruised. To have as many bruises as possible, make sure you really crinkle the paper well.
My young friend is creating a batik race car. He drew the picture, chose his colors and is coloring away.
Wet the Paper
Next, he wets the picture over the sink. Both sides.
Ok, it is a little scary to wrinkle up your hard work like you were going to throw it away. But my young friend made it happen.
And there it is. Good and wrinkled. Ready for the next step. Painting!
And who doesn't love the painting part?
Wait for it to dry thoroughly and it is ready to be proudly displayed. Awesome work!
Wax Batik Without the Wrinkled Paper
Draw a picture of your house. Then you can batik the sky and grass.
Make sure you color the house a color other than the sky color. In this one, the house and the sky are almost the same and so the house begins to disappear when painting the sky. The possibilities are endless. Dream up your own picture and batik it today.
This is one of my "Angel" series. Don't you love how the wrinkles create its own background for you? Lots of patience goes into this because I painted the background first and then had to wait till it dried to paint the angel.
I'd love to hear your opinion on my project. Have you tried it with your children? How did it turn out?