How To Make Batik Fabric With Glue
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Making your own fabric designs is a lot of fun. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make batik fabric with washable glue! This is a great project even for the kids. Included are two free patterns to get you started!
Creating your own batik fabric is much simpler than you would think. This project uses washable glue and a simple design to create beautiful batik fabric. This is Suzy from Suzy’s Sitcom. Both the fish and the turtle designs are my own, and I’d love to share them with you. Create your own batik fabric with glue and make something amazing!
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What is batik fabric?
Traditional Batik fabric is made with wax and fabric dyes. The process takes time and you have to deal with things like hot wax and tough dyes. That is why batik fabric can be a bit more expensive than regular fabric.
An easy way to make batik fabric
I want to share with you a process that I discovered to create Batik fabric with simpler materials such as washable glue and fabric paints. The results are the same and much more kid-friendly.
Since we are full-time travelers living in our RV, my designs are always influenced by my current surroundings.
We are currently living on a beautiful island in upstate New York on Lake Ontario called Association Island. We love the fact that we are so surrounded by nature here. Fishing is the number one sport here and you can find huge beautiful fish right on the shore. Another interesting fact about the island is that it is home to hundreds of Mapping Turtles who come to shore in the evenings to lay their eggs.
The turtles, fish and amazing sunsets here inspired my two free patterns for this project. It is a great way to remember the island long after we leave.
How to Make DIY batik fabric with glue
What you need:
- Washable Gel School Glue
- White cotton fabric
- Fabric Paints
- Wax Paper
- Free Fish and Turtle Pattern
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1. choose a pattern for your batik fabric
I created two patterns for this project, a fish and a turtle. You can find the link to both patterns in the supply list. Or, you can use your own! Even a coloring book page would work as a pattern.
Select a plain white cotton fabric for your background. I used a fat quarter of white for each pattern in this project.
2. outline the design with washable glue
Lay the fabric over your pattern and trace the design with the washable gel glue. I used about half of a bottle on this project. Add the glue in thick lines.
Once all the lines of the pattern have been traced, place the fabric carefully on a protected surface to dry overnight. Be sure to use wax paper to cover any surface for the drying process so that it does not glue itself to your table.
By the way…living in a RV means there are not many flat spots that the husband and the dog don’t traipse over. I had to be super creative to find a place for this one to dry!
3. add fabric paint for a batik look
Before starting this step, be sure to protect your workspace! Add wax paper to your tabletop. The fabric paint will seep through your fabric and will stain your work surface if you do not protect it.
I used fabric paint for this project, but acrylic paint would also work. The main difference is that fabric paint has a softener in it. The finished project will still feel like soft fabric. Acrylic paint will result in a canvas-like feel to your project.
Any colors will work. I chose blues, purples, and greens for my design. I added water to blend them and give them a watercolor look. Paint over the whole design and around it to create a colorful fabric background.
Did I mention protecting your workspace? Unfortunately, I got a bit aggressive with my painting technique and my pallet flipped over onto the carpet below. One thing to note about fabric paint is that it is pretty permanent to fabrics!
Looks like I’ll have to replace the throw rug under my dining table now. Such are the trials and tribulations of a crafter on the road.
4. allow the fabric paint to dry completely
Time to find another flat spot for this project to dry! Again, be sure to protect your surface! I used wax paper to protect my countertop and allowed the project to dry overnight.
The husband was still traumatized by my carpet mishap and watched closely to be sure that I wasn’t dying his counters too. Hey, I’m a professional! I don’t make mistakes! LOL!
5. Soak the fabric to remove the glue
The final step is to remove the dried glue. This is surprisingly simple! Soak the fabric in a sink of hot water for about 20 minutes. The glue will become slimy and then is easily removed with your fingers or a soft brush. Rinse the fabrics and hang them to dry.
Once dried, you can iron your batik fabric and create anything you would like with them! The fabric paint is permanent and should be fine in the washer if needed. And if you do use fabric paint, your fabric will be soft and pliable, just like professional batik fabrics!
DIY Homemade Batik Fabric Ideas
After you make your own batik fabric at home, here are some ideas of things you can make with it.
I created two pretty pillows with my batik fabric! A great way to remember our time on the island! Every time I look at them, I smile and remember the fun times here on Association Island.
There are lots of other things you can do with this beautiful fabric. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Sew a quilt
- Make batik curtains
- Hang them up as wall art
My husband said that the carpet should bring back memories also. He can be a bit dramatic when he wants to be. LOL!
Creating batik fabric with glue is actually a simple process, but do keep in mind that you need to allow for drying time and protecting your surfaces. The end result is a beautiful piece of fabric!
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More Fabric crafts from suzy’s sitcom!
Do you enjoy creating with fabric? Here are some more fun fabric crafts from Suzy’s Sitcom!
How to make Batik Fabric with Crayons!
How to make Beautiful Fabric Wall Art! (Free pattern!)
Hooty Owl No-Sew Quilted Wall Art
You may also enjoy these DIY Fabric ideas on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry® –
Have you tested this with regular PVA / white school glue? I just bought a gallon of PVA glue yesterday for making cold porcelain clay & paper maché sculptures, so would like to use what I have on hand, if possible.
Thanks very much ?
Beautiful results you got BTW. Your pillows are beautiful. I’m a big lover of traditional batik as my other half is from a country which batik originates from & have watched the older women there experienced in this art laying out their designs on fabric using wax & the old traditional tools. It’s really quite amazing, painstaking work.
I plan on experimenting using natural plant dyes I’ve made myself from my wild foraging to add color to this project, as was once traditionally done. I’ve got some of my own sketches I’m going to use for this, then hang them as tapestries.
Thank you again ?
HI Sandra! I have not tested with any other types of glue. I would assume that any washable glue would work, but I would test on a small piece first before tackling a larger project. Hope that helps! suzy
I’d love to see what you make!
Hey Suzy! Thanks for the Batik making instructions. I’m gonna give it a go and try my luck. They would also make the outer fabric for making bags (purses). I bet you could whip up a cute sea horse.
Sorry you spilled your paint. Have you tried using Folex? It works really great on all kinds of things. It comes in a spray bottle and it,t easy to use. I live in Oregon so if you can’t find it where you are maybe you could Google it and find out if you could order some. Or you might want to take a road trip and come to see our beautiful coast. 🙂
Love your fun and creative site. You always give me some inspiration. Thank you so much.
I am wondering if you put one color on, dry, then add the glue let that dry
(Somewhat like if you were to use a colored piece of fabric.) hope I made sense.
Thank you, Danielle! I will definitely try the folex. I’ve never heard of it! And as for the Oregon coast, well it is on our list! We might be out that way one day! Suzy
That is a great idea! I would make the base color much lighter than the other one for good contrast, but it should work. Would love to see what you come up with!
Hello! I teach middle school! Every year I do tie dye w my kids and they love it! Wondering if this technique would work on tee shirts for tie dye?
Hi Amy! I did some research, and yes you can! Just be sure that the glue is completely dry before you start the dyeing process. Would love to see what you come up with! Suzy
I love this activity and plan to do it with my seniors at the nursing center where I work. What is a fat quarter? Is that a quarter of a yard? What size square do you use?
Great question! Fat quarters can vary in size, but they’re typically 18 by 22 inches. Basically it’s when fabric manufacturers take one yard of fabric and then cut it into four squares. Instead of buying a quarter of a yard which would be if they took one yard of fabric and cut it into four long vertical strips. At many fabric stores, you can actually buy packs of “fat quarters” of fabric in a variety of coordinating colors/patterns. Fat quarters are especially useful for smaller sewing crafts and quilting.
Hope this project is a big hit with the seniors you work with! Suzy and I would love to see photos from your craft day.
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I work as an Out of School Care Educator and wanted to use this activity to implement with the children but the time limit for the activity is about 1-1.5 hours. The main issue is the glue drying and I wanted to ask, is there another way or another glue that could dry faster? Is there anything you recommend for me?
Hi! I have not experimented with any other types of glue and you would definitely need something that is water soluble. It is very important for this project that the glue be dry and then easily removable. That said, what if you made it two different classes? The first class to create the glue patterns on fabric, and then the second class to add the paint and complete them.
May I dry the glue then use tie dye on the fabric?
I have not tried that, but I imagine it might work. The only issue would be that the glue is water soluble. If you dip it into the tie dye, you would have to move fast. If you decide to do it, let me know how it comes out.
Thanks for sharing this idea! I will definitely give it a try.
You are so welcome, Susan! We hope it turns out great for you!
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I was just reading your article on how to make Batik fabric. It sounds great! I really want to try it with my granddaughter. My question is, is it OK to use alcohol inks instead of fabric paint? I have lots of inks because of other crafting I do and I could use them if they work. Also, does it have to be gel glue? I have the largest container Elmer’s Glue makes, but it is the white school glue. If not, I guess I will just have to go shopping…darn…I so hate going to craft stores (not).
Hi Lila, I have not tested with alcohol inks or any other types of glue. I would assume that any washable glue would work, but I would test on a small piece first before tackling a larger project. Hope that helps! suzy
I’m not an experienced artist / painter. How did you get the watercolor effect with the acrylic paints? Did you use a wet brush or add water to the paints? Something else?
Yes, Suzy added water to the paints to give it the watercolor effect. Take a look at her explanation under step 3 in the tutorial for more information. We’d love to see photos of how your project turns out.
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Love this idea. Sorry to hear about your rug but you could always go that one step further and die a pattern onto it and make it your own artwork. Just a thought before replacing it. Keep these great ideas coming!
I am very happy to have found your site to make these.
We’re so glad you found us, too, Christine!
When you put on the pain, how do you apply it? Do you use a brush or spray it on?
Great question, Linda! I would recommend using a brush.
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