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How to Do Batik for Kids (With Glue)

Author:

As a mother of two, Kathy has a bit of experience in the parenting department. She loves sharing her knowledge with other to help them.

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.

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 it's always great when kids are able to create something that they can use on a regular basis.

Supplies Needed

  • White Fabric (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 (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. Remember: Don’t use any paints that shimmer. The shimmering effect will wash out, and the color doesn’t bind as well to the fabric.)
  • Freezer Paper
  • Paintbrushes (Sponge paintbrushes work best if you are trying to cover a large area, but if the kids want to get detailed they can use small brushes.)

What Fabric Should You Use?

  • White or Light Color: Batiking is usually done on white fabric, but you could also use a light-colored fabric.
  • No Texture: 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.
  • Small Size: When selecting something to batik, keep size in mind. A young child is not going to have the patience to batik bedsheets. 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 pillowcases for our batik fabrics. They both seemed like something we would use, and the size of the project wouldn't be too great.

Step 1: Set Up Your Workspace

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 pillowcases, 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 whatever their imaginations can conjure up.

Start the process by letting your little ones "draw" on the fabric with glue. They can create whatever their imaginations can conjure up.

Step 2: Apply the Glue and Let Dry

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. Explain to the kids that the places they put the glue will become white in the final project.

The design can 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.

Note: 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 in paint in order for the batik process to work.

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

Step 3: Paint the Fabric and Let Dry

The next phase of the project is painting 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. Don’t hesitate to help them fill in the whole fabric if they start to get tired or are missing spots.

Note: Once the fabric is painted, it must dry completely. Again, I’d recommend overnight.

The painted fabric needs to dry completely before you move on to the next step.

The painted fabric needs to dry completely before you move 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.

Step 4: Soak in Hot Water and Remove Glue

After all of the fabric is dry, you are ready to make the magic happen.

  1. Fill up the sink with hot water.
  2. 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.
  3. After thirty minutes, you can rub the fabric together to get off any remaining glue.
  4. If necessary, you can also scrape off any remaining bits of glue with your fingernails or a toothbrush.
  5. If you have some huge gobs of glue remaining, put more hot water in and soak it some more.

Step 5: Run Through the Washing Machine

The project is now ready for a run through the washing machine.

  1. Use the hottest and longest water setting to assure that any missed bits of glue are removed from your project.
  2. Once it’s washed, dry it on the heat-only setting to set the paint color.
Awesome batik pattern. Yep, that's a Pokémon battle you see there.  The creativity of little kids is boundless.

Awesome batik pattern. Yep, that's a Pokémon battle you see there. The creativity of little kids is boundless.

Enjoy Your Glue and Paint Batik!

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.

Comments

cheeluarv from INDIA on September 06, 2014:

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

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on August 31, 2014:

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.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on August 30, 2014:

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.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on August 30, 2014:

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!

Kathy Hull (author) from Bloomington, Illinois on August 30, 2014:

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.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on August 30, 2014:

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!

Rebecca Be from Lincoln, Nebraska on August 30, 2014:

sure looks fun

Kirsti A. Dyer from Northern California on August 30, 2014:

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

lupine on August 30, 2014:

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.

June Campbell from North Vancouver, BC, Canada on August 30, 2014:

Good kid project. Congrats on HOTD

RTalloni on August 30, 2014:

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

Marcelle Bell on August 30, 2014:

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

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 30, 2014:

Congratulations for HOTD!

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

Robin from USA on August 30, 2014:

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

Claudia Mitchell on August 30, 2014:

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

Kathy Hull (author) from Bloomington, Illinois on July 23, 2014:

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

Victoria Baughman from Michigan on July 22, 2014:

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

Kathy Hull (author) from Bloomington, Illinois on July 17, 2014:

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

gingerka from Colorado on July 17, 2014:

I really want to give this a try. Thanks

Annie Messeri from Spain on July 17, 2014:

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

RTalloni on July 17, 2014:

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