Glue Batik Technique

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By General Crafts Contributor Michelle

Glue Batik Technique

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!

Glue 2

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

Glue 3

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.

Glue 4

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.

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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.

Glue 6

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.

Glue Batik

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.

DIY Glue Batik

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?

Happy Crafting!


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5 thoughts on “Glue Batik Technique

  1. Michele

    This is a cool project idea. Prepare me For what to expect as far as stiffness please. Does the acrylic paint make the cotton it is painted on stiff after it dries? Do I have to iron it to Make it stay colorfast? Can it be washed ?
    Thank ewe for your info, I am a wool craft person but moving on to cotton

  2. Michelle

    Hi there! Thinning the acrylic down with water keeps the acrylic from going on too thickly, and thus keeps the fabric from getting overly stiff. I’d say the muslin fabric that I used just feels like it has been lightly starched, it’s still very flexible and fabric-like; it’s more like dyeing the fabric, rather than painting on it. I haven’t tried machine washing what I made, as I made wall hangings, but based on past experience with acrylic and fabric (I’ve made t-shirts), acrylic stays very colorfast for a long time. I would imagine the fact that the paint has been thinned, and is really soaking into the fabric, that it would stay colorfast with machine washing. However, if you are making a garment, or something that is going to be washed a lot, I would recommend adding some textile medium to the paint (follow the directions on the bottle for how many parts paint, to how many parts textile medium to use), and THEN thin down the paint with some water until it is the consistency of cream; the textile medium helps the paint bond with the fabric, and makes it stay more flexible, rather than stiff. There are usually directions on the textile medium for how to heat set your painted items.

    I hope this helped! Happy crafting!

  3. Pingback: Glue Batik – Fall Project | Do It And How

  4. Jessica

    If I were to make an outdoor hanging should I make the paint thicker and then wash and iron it? Love this technique by the way! It’s amazing!

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