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:
get the 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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