Today we are going to learn how to do glue batik, a simplified and kid-friendly version of a classic technique used to dye fabric.
If you are looking for an easy fabric craft to do with kids, then glue batik is for you! I geek out over all things handmade and batik is one of those gorgeous fabric arts that is impossible not to love. Traditional batik is done using wax but this method using glue is a tried and true favorite amongst crafters AND perfect for kids!
What is Batik?
Batik is a method for dying fabric that originated in Java, Indonesia. The traditional batik process features a resist style technique where wax is applied to fabric and then the fabric is dyed. The wax is applied using tool called a canting which is similar to a pen but with a cupped area on top in which hot wax is placed. After the wax is applied, the fabric is placed in a dye bath. The areas with wax resist the dye. The wax is then scraped or boiled off revealing the original fabric color below. If additional colors and designs are desired the process is repeated.
An interesting fact is that batik is a very ancient tradition in Indonesia. The Sundanese have been using this technique as far back as the 12th century. Batik designs often include symbols and certain designs are meant to bring good luck to babies and brides and bridegrooms.
To read more about the incredible tradition of batik head over here.
Before You Start
When doing glue batik the one thing I recommend is that you DO NOT USE GLUE….wait, what? I mean white glue. White glue is incredibly hard to apply evenly but Elmer’s Blue GEL GLUE is the perfect alternative! It flows easily out of the bottle and dries fairly quickly and is the only type of glue I recommend when using this technique.
If doing this project with kids I also recommend using smaller bits of fabric. My daughter and I once tried to glue batik t-shirts and it took FOREVER to cover them in glue which did not hold my daughter’s interest for very long. For this project we used small canvas bags which are perfect for short attention spans AND spring- take them along to an Easter party! To “springify” our batik we used an egg motif for some of the bags!
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How to Do Glue Batik
- Gel Glue
- Canvas Bags, T-shirts, or fabric
- Acrylic paint
- Foam brush
Glue Batik Instructions
Time needed: 45 minutes.
Time does not include drying and washing.
- Sketch your design
Sketch outlines of your design in pencil on the fabric or canvas.
- Draw with glue
Draw over the pencil design with the gel glue. TIP: Keep designs simple, the glue will spread out as it dries. If the lines are too close together they will blend.
- Let Dry
Let glue fully dry. This may take several hours or overnight.
- Paint the fabric
Paint over the designs with acrylic or fabric paint. Let dry completely for several hours. If you are using a canvas bag, place a piece of cardboard between the two layers of canvas to prevent the paint from soaking through to the back of the bag.
- Wash off the glue!
Wash the fabric in hot water in the washing machine to remove glue. Be sure to wash it separately from other laundry.
Glue Batik Ideas
Once you have this glue batik method down it’s time experiment! Here are some other fabric items you can try this on:
- White T-shirts
- Canvas Tote Bags
- White Fabric Quilt Squares (or pieces of white fabric)
- Canvas Zipper Pouches
- Small Banners
- White Pillowcase
Glue batik is a wonderful way to introduce kids to fiber arts. Couple this with a lesson or slideshow on the ancient art of batik and you have an incredible art project for kids.
Because it requires a couple of days for drying and washing, it’s ideal for doing this at home, art class, or in camp. When we did this with our campers a few years ago we started on Monday, painted on Tuesday, then out everything in the washer so it was ready by Wednesday.
More Fabric Crafts for Kids
If you enjoyed this fabric craft here are more kid-friendly fiber art projects to try:
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