Monthly KidART Resolution: Batik Fabric

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner


Homemade Batik Fabric

As parents, we’re always telling our children to be careful not to make a mess of the fabric that makes up their clothing, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that giving children permission to paint on fabric gets them all sorts of excited.

My children have always been a big fan of making tie-dye shirts mostly because of the wonderment that it involves as they await the final reveal. This kid-friendly homemade batik fabric project is no different. So, for this month’s KidART craft project we’ll be using Gel Glue to create a mask on fabric, and then painting the fabric. Once the fabric is put through a minimal soaking and rinsing process, the glue will dissolve and the original fabric will shine through. It is quite fun and very magical for the young set to see. Here’s how:

First, you’ll want to sketch out a rough draft of the design you’d like to create onto a piece of paper. If you have a child that is more of a perfectionist, you’ll find that the Fiskars Shapes Templates are perfect for helping them to create a balanced design with recognizable shapes.


Sketched Design and Templates


Next, cut your fabric to your desired size square using your cutting mat and rotary trimmer.  If you’ll be using your fabric to create another project when you’re finished keep in mind that your fabric will shrink up a bit since the final step involves soaking in hot water.


Elmers Gel Glue and Waxed Paper


Then, line your work surface with waxed paper, taping together at the seams to get the desired size. Your waxed paper should cover an area slightly larger than your fabric. Tape the waxed paper to your work surface to hold it in place.


Applying Gel Glue


Lay your fabric over the waxed paper and lightly pencil in your design using the Shapes Templates. The light pencil markings will wash away. Then apply Elmer’s Gel Glue over the penciled lines.


Design Covered In Gel Glue


Once the entire design is covered, let the glue dry overnight.


Acrylic Paint


Mix 1 part acrylic craft paint to 1 part water in small containers. I find it easiest to use small disposable food-service containers with lids, so the paint and water can be mixed by simply shaking the container until it is distributed evenly.


Painting Fabric


Have the child paint in the design just like they would color a page in a coloring book, making sure to rinse the brush completely between each color. Since the paint is rather watered down, it is best to have the paint pot close to the area they are painting to minimize dripping. Remind them that it doesn’t matter if the paint gets on the glue lines since the glue acts as a resist.


Painted Fabric


Once the entire design is painted, allow it to dry overnight.


Fabric Soaking In Hot Water


Once dry, peel fabric from the waxed paper and soak in a hot bath of water for 15 minutes. Gel glue should release from the fabric during this time. Feel around all the areas where the glue was applied. If it still feels a little gooey, give it another 10 minute bath. This second bath is completely dependent on how thick the original glue lines were. You may also try rubbing the fabric lightly together to loosen glue or use a toothbrush. Gently ring excess water out of fabric and lay flat to dry. When completely dry, run a hot iron over the design to remove wrinkles.


Homemade Batik Fabric


If you have smaller children that don’t have the ability to follow pencil markings, whether that be from a short attention span or lack of hand strength, allow them to ‘draw’ on the fabric with the glue. Follow the same steps for protecting your surface, dry time, etc Allowing them to paint in a random fashion (i.e. painting outside the lines), will go much faster and they can still enjoy the same magical reveal after the hot water soak when the project is complete.

Supply List

Bleached Muslin Fabric
Acrylic Craft Paint
Disposable Condiment Cups with Lids
Paint Brushes
Waxed Paper
Masking Tape
Elmer’s Gel Glue
Utility Bucket or Small Bowl (optional)
Toothbrush (optional)
Ironing Board