Introduction: Fast, Easy, Wax-free Batik

About: I am a year round outdoor educator traveling around the world taking youth into remote places to do cool stuff. I have been doing leather work since I was 8 at my parent's leather shop and love making things…

The look of batik without the headache of melted wax. I love the look of batik, but I don't want to mess with the wax or the stamps. Instead, use Elmer's washable school glue to create my designs. 
Here is what you need:

-an item to batik and dye- I used a t-shirt. You want something that is mostly natural fiber like cotton. If your item has any polyester stitching, the stitching will stay the original color, My shirt had white polyester stitching so they didn't take the dye
-fabric dye
-Elmer's washable school glue- I used a double tipped liquid glue stick by Elmers which rocked. I could use one end for wide lines and the other for narrow ones
-a pot you don't care about
-a piece of wood or cardboard
-clothes pins
-a stove
-tongs or gloves
-a washing machine

Step 1: Prepping Your Fabric and Batiking

It's probably a good idea to wash your fabric before you glue and dye it. I was too excited and didn't bother. Sorry the photos are blurry, I used my iphone because I couldn't find my camera charger. 

Next, stretch your fabric over the board or box and use clothes pins to hold it taught to make it easier for you to draw on your fabric with glue. 

When your fabric is taut and stable, draw your design on your fabric with glue. It feels very similar to drawing with puff-paint.  NOTE: Don't get too overzealous with the glue- you need a light to medium layer. If you put too much on, it won't wash out and you'll have to wash it several times and then scrape off the remaining bits which is annoying. 

My design is called the "viking's compass." Vikings drew it on their foreheads as a charm to keep them from getting lost and enable them to find their way home. I'm a sea kayaking guide and world traveler, so I naturally love this symbol. 

Step 2: Dyeing the Fabric

Follow the directions on your fabric dye to dye your fabric. 

I used Tulip brand fabric dye. The package said that the hotter the water was, the darker the dye would be and told me to leave the fabric in the dye solution for 45 minutes. 

I wanted a darker blue, but I was worried that really hot water would dissolve the glue and I would just end up with an all-blue shirt, but that definitely did not happen. I ended up putting the pot on the stove to keep the water hot enough. The glue didn't dissolve away, and the shirt ended up lighter than I anticipated. Next time I'll turn the heat up and leave it in there longer. 

The pot I used was an old aluminum one I found lying around. I would definitely suggest using one you don't plan on eating out of again if you are using a commercial chemical dye. 

Step 3: Wait Impatiently As Your Shirt Spins in the Washer...

After you are happy with the color, use tongs or gloves to take the fabric out of the dye bath and put it in the washing machine. Wash it in warm (or hot?) water with detergent. Washing it in a machine with detergent removes the glue and leaves you with a cool batik look. 

I had to wash my shirt several times because I used a very heavy layer of glue. After washing it three times, chunks of glue were still on the shirt. I ended up scraping them off with a knife. Next time I won't over do it on the glue. 

Step 4: Rock Your New Stuff Out

'nuff said...

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