Introduction: Easy Batik Using School Glue

About: Artist and crafter that makes creepy cute creatures... BFA from SAIC + MA in Art Education from ISU... Find me on insta, etsy, + pinterest @xxmedium
a method (originally used in Java) of producing colored designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first applied wax to the parts to be left un-dyed.
"a visual artist specializing in batik"

Teaching batik to a large group of kids would typically be a dangerous endeavor, using glue instead of wax as a resist works just as well and much safer!

This project was designed for a lesson in a textiles summer camp.

This activity was taught to campers 8+ yrs but could be taught to younger.


  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Black Marker
  • School Glue (I used Elmers)
  • Fabric (I used old cotton bedsheets)
  • Fabric Dye
  • Large-ish Containers for the Dye Baths
  • Salt
  • Scrubby Sponge
  • Dish Soap
  • Lightbox or Window

Step 1: Draw Your Design + Prep Fabric

Sketch out the design you would like and outline in black marker.

This will make it so you can see the design through the fabric when drawing with the glue.

Prep your fabric by cutting it into a preferred shape.

(I realized after I dyed my fabric that the ribbon and the end of "FUN" looks like an "S"... oops!)

Step 2: Dye Fabric (1st Time) *optional*

Mix the dye by following the directions on the container (i'm using rit dye)

I watered my dye down a bit to make it lighter (likely a mistake... the fabric didn't dye dark enough so it was hard to see in the end)

Use containers that you don't care about! There is a potential for them to get ruined by the dye. (I'm using aluminum containers, you can get them cheap at most stores.)

Dampen your fabric with water and place into the dye letting sit for ~10-15 minutes.

I wanted a more scattered dye pattern so I placed the fabric in the dye randomly.

Rinse until water runs clear and let dry. (I used a hair dryer to quicken the drying process)

Step 3: Add the Glue Resist

Place the design under the fabric

If it is too difficult to see your design you can use a light table


tape it to a window and lightly trace your image with a pencil

Using school glue trace over the design.

The glue acts as a resist which prevents the dye from penetrating the fabric.

Anywhere the glue is placed the fabric won't dye so take your time and be careful where you place the glue!

Set aside and leave to dry completely. (I let mine dry overnight)

Step 4: Dye + Scrub the Glue Off

Follow the directions on the container to make the dye baths.

This time I made the colors darker and created a fade/ombre from blue to pink by letting the dye creep up the fabric and dipping it slowly so there wouldn't be a harsh line. I placed the top portion of the flag into the pink and let it soak.

Soak for ~15 minutes

Rinse out until the water runs clear.

Remove the glue with the scrubby side of a sponge. Making sure that all the glue is off before setting out to dry.

Let dry (can use the hairdryer again to quicken the process).

**For a different look try filling spray bottles with dye or sponge brush dye onto the fabric!

Step 5: Enjoy!

Using a dowel rod and some embroidery floss I turned my design into a flag to hang on the art drawers at work.

In the second picture you will notice how only some of the dye from the first soak shows up. If I wanted it to be more noticeable I would let it soak longer with a less diluted dye bath before adding the glue resist.

You can draw more designs in glue and re-dye for a multi-colored effect!

The best part about dye is the variety of designs you can achieve by layering different colors and placing the resist in different areas.

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

Participated in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest