By General Crafts Contributor Michelle
Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing originating in Indonesia. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to color selectively by soaking the cloth in one color, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colors are desired. Here is a much modified version of Batik using blue gel glue and acrylic paint which gives similar results for much less mess and hassle. This is a fun project for adults and kids alike!
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
- White or natural colored cotton muslin fabric.
- Elmer’s School Glue Washable No-Run Blue Gel.
- Acrylic craft paint of various colors.
- Mixing container.
Using your blue gel glue, begin drawing your design onto the fabric. Do your best to use constant pressure on the bottle to make a continuous line of glue.
There’s really no wrong way to do this though, you just want to get the glue onto the fabric in your desired pattern. You can free-form your design, or even trace something by placing a bold, black printout or drawing of the design under your fabric. You can get quite a bit of detail, but the glue will spread out a bit as it dries, and your line will only be as thin as the glue comes out of the glue bottle, so don’t make your design overly intricate. Remember, whatever you block out with the glue will resist the paint, and remain the color of your fabric. Keep your fabric flat, and let it dry completely; it may take all day or overnight, you want it totally dry before proceeding.
Mix your acrylic paint with enough water that it becomes the consistency of heavy cream. Paint the fabric with your various colors of paint, don’t worry about going over the glue, it will resist the paint.
Try blending colors while they are wet to get add variation to your design. Your paint color will lighten a bit in color as it dries (due to thinning it with water), so make it darker than your desired final result. Let it dry completely.
Soak your fabric in hot water until the glue softens, it may take an hour or more. Gently scrub the glue with your fingers, and by rubbing the fabric against itself, to remove all of the glue. Continue to soak and scrub until all traces of glue are removed. An old toothbrush, or sink water sprayer can aid in removing the glue. Rinse well, and let dry.
Even just using a single color of paint can make a striking final result, as in this black and white moon wall hanging I made for Halloween. What kind of designs could you make with blue glue batik, and what could you make with the resulting fabric?