Ever travelled to Indonesia or Malaysia with the family and picked up some gorgeous, traditional prints, some done in funky patterns, usually spotted on clothing and other fabrics such as pillowcases.
Today, a lot of Batik artworks come from such countries, and the word batik is actually Indonesian. It means ‘wax writing’ because they use wax to draw the print onto plain or dyed fabric before adding in the colour. Some argue that this art actually started in Egypt a few thousand years ago!
You may also spot Batik art in other countries such as India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines!
PS: Hi parents! We hear the struggle of having your kids at home and the horror that can be homeschooling. If you’re looking for an easy activity for the kids to do, feel free to print this out for a fun and education activity!
Let’s make our own Batik prints!
If you forgot to grab your own Batik T-shirt whilst visiting Bali or Kuala Lumpur, or perhaps you just want to have fun with a creative project, we’re here to help!
What do you need?
– T-shirt or a large piece of fabric (If you don’t have any fabric, you can always use thick cardboard paper) – Large piece of drawing paper, at least the size of your fabric, for a stencil – Wax paper – Pencil – Permanent marker, e.g. Sharpie – Washable School Glue (Blue school glue preferably as normal white glue doesn’t wash out well) – Fabric or Acrylic Paint – Note: both paints don’t wash out of fabric, so wear clothes that can get messy. – Paintbrush – Glass of water – Paper towel / napkins
When you are happy with your drawing, draw the final picture on a large sheet of paper and trace it with permanent marker.This is what you will use for your stencil.
(If you love art and feel comfortable drawing free-hand, you can always skip Step 1 & 2, drawing your picture straight onto the T-shirt with the glue)
Step 3: Set up your t-shirt and drawing
Now, find a flat surface for your T-shirt and art space.
Next, place your drawing inside the T-shirt (or on a table if you’re using a piece of fabric), laying it flat, and cover the drawing with wax paper. Then let the fabric fall back over the drawing and wax paper.
Step 4: Trace your design with glue and leave overnight to dry
Now comes the fun part! Trace your picture with the washable school glue (Remember, all the places where you have used glue to draw your picture will turn out white at the end!)
Make sure you use enough glue to cover your lines, but not too much so that it runs all over the place! 😋
Once you have done this, leave your T-shirt overnight (leaving the wax paper and drawing there) and let the glue dry nicely.
Step 5: Paint your design and leave to dry
Couldn’t sleep with excitement??? 😃
So now our glue is nice and dry. It’s time to paint your shirt!
If you have a painting apron now’s the time to put it on, or make sure you are wearing old clothes that mom won’t mind getting dirty! 👍
Make sure to have your glass of water and paper towel / napkins nearby, and grab your paintbrush, we’re now going to paint our material (fabric).
Put paint to your brush (not too much) and off you go, filling your picture with colour.
Remember, you are allowed to paint over the glue, as the glue will wash out later.
Again, leave your T-shirt to dry overnight.
Step 6: Wash out the glue from your T-shirt
Wakey wakey! It’s time to wash our batik T-shirts!
[You can either do this in the kitchen sink, washing machine (with no other clothes in the machine or detergent!), or outside in a bucket.]
Grab your dry T-shirt, taking out the wax paper and drawing, and give it a good clean. You will need to leave it to soak in hot water for 30 minutes. This will dissolve the glue on the T-shirt.
(If some wax paper sticks to your shirt, don’t worry, you can soak the shirt for a few minutes in water with the wax paper on, and then peel it off.)
Soak: To leave in water for some time
Dissolve: To slowly disappear when in a liquid, e.g. Sugar dissolves in water.
Step 7: Dry your T-shirt!
Now leave your t-shirt to hang and dry and ABRACADABRA you’ve made your very own Batik print! Neat, huh!
QUIZ TIME. Let’s see how well you know your history…
1) What does ‘Batik’ mean in Indonesian? 2) We used glue to create our white spaces on our t-shirt, do you know what they use in Indonesia instead of glue? 3) List two countries where you can find/or have seen Batik prints.
Now, let’s learn! 🙂
– What do you know about the history of Batik art? If you want to learn further, why not do a quick google search so when your friends ask about your epic t-shirt, you can tell them all about it! – New words I learnt today: Batik, traditional, fabric, soak, dissolve
Wasn’t that cool? Now you can wear a T-shirt that YOU designed, and don’t forget to share the idea with your friends!
So kids (and parents) tell us! What traditional arts and crafts do you like to get up to? Is there anything you’d love to learn?
Do let us know by leaving your comments below, and don’t forget to send us your designs, we’d love to see how your very own Batik artwork turned out! ❤️
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PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you! Tell us
I live to travel and I travel to live. I'm a traveling Gypsy with a passion for the English word, being inspired daily by the different cultures and colours, scents and scenic overloads, sensory explosions and mind-awakening experiences. The ones that take your breathe away. Walking along the earth, one country at a time, it's what I live for; a life full of adventure, sharing my thoughts and experiences through literature