Tag Archives: batik

Welcome One, Welcome All!

The new students arrived on the 8th! It was so nice to see everyone after spending the past six months working with their files and the whole first week of September in Residence Life training… it was almost a relief to finally have people out and about campus. I decided that I wanted to have a welcome sign to hang in front of Merlin on move-in day. I threw a batiking party in the spring and thought I might be able to make some quick bunting using the same technique.

I printed W-E-L-C-O-M-E out on heavy cardstock and cut letters out to make stencils. Then I cut 7 pieces of white cotton fabric into roughly 8×11 inch rectangles. I held the make-shift stencils somewhere towards the middle-bottom of the fabric squares and, using a thick paintbrush, brushed over the stencils with Elmer’s Water Soluble Gel glue so that I had an even, thick layer. For the “O” and two “E”s I just held the centers of the letters in place with one hand and painted the glue on with the other.

I think painting the glue on worked much better than drawing onto the fabric straight from the nozzle of the glue bottle. It’s less wet and meant that the letter’s didn’t smudge or drip as much.

I set them on a wire rack to dry for a few hours then I got out my acrylic paints and a foam brush. I mixed some colors that I liked and watered them down to about 50-60% their original paintiness. I spread some newspaper on the sidewalk and, making sure the glue-side is up (I forgot on the second “E” and had to paint BOTH sides. It’s a little duller, but still legible) I just painted right onto the fabric. I hung each square on the clothesline and let them dry.

After three hours I filled a sink with hot, soapy water and hand washed each piece of fabric. It was so much fun watching the letters re-appear bright white from under the paint when the glue washed out! Instead of waiting for the to dry I took a hot iron to them and quickly dried them that way.

To make them an even size with actually measuring anything I cut a rough piece of cardstock in a 4×7 inch rectangle. Then I flipped the first letter over so that it was right-side down. I put the paper rectangle on top of the fabric so that the white letter was where I wanted it on the end rectangle and folded each side over the paper, as if I were wrapping a present. I pressed each side with iron and then slipped the paper out so that I could use it on the next letter. When all of the panels were pressed, I quickly sewed up along the edges with the sewing machine. Easy peasy!

I just tied them to a piece of string along their tops so that I could reposition them along the length if I needed to. And voila! It only took me an hour of actual crafting. It doesn’t get much easier!

Dorm Batik

So. I threw two batik “parties” (I’m using that term lightly… there were brownies involved) and this is what those crazy kids made (more or less). The fabric is about 4 feet long (shorter in some cases because, as the glue was drying, two strips got stuck together so firmly that they had to be amputated) and roughly two feet wide. We used elmer’s glue, watered down acrylic paint and plain ole white cotton fabric. It doesn’t get any simpler.

Now these beauts are hanging around the common rooms. The process and results were awesome, but I’m not quite sure that these are as impressive as I’d imagined them turning out. Ah well…

Batik Madness

I’ve been wracking my brains, trying to come up with an easy, fun and social dorm activity that everyone can do AND that results in a product that will leave the common spaces much, much prettier than they are right now. They’re rather barren and no fun to hang out in. Then I read about how to do batik with kids.

Traditionally, batik is a method of dying fabric that utilizes hot wax on fabric to create a design that remains white once the fabric is dyed and the wax is removed. It’s a beautiful technique but hard to do because of the hot wax, hot dye and large amount of time and skill that is required…

Until you replace hot wax with washable Elmer’s glue and dye with watered down acrylic paint. Then it’s a fast, easy and immensely teachable technique! I got the idea from Craftzine who got the idea from the blog This Artist Woman. I got enough materials for everyone in the dorm (21 people) to make two murals, one per floor. At less than $20 this wound up being a really easy and inexpensive way to get everyone together. Now, we haven’t done it yet but I did do my own test swatch so that I have something to show everybody when we do start to roll up our sleeves and get cracking. This is the example of batik on Craftzine that caught my eye in the first place:

This is a really pretty example. All of the white lines were created by drawing that pattern out with glue on the fabric, letting it dry, painting acrylic paint on, letting that dry, washing the glue off and then voila! It’s done! So I gave it a try…

This is a small swatch of fabric, about five inches wide and two feet long. I’ve applied the glue and the paint here and I’m waiting for it to dry before I wash the glue out.

And here is the finished piece! The white areas really glow when the fabric is held up to the light and I think this would be a great way to make some curtains later on down the road.

I would really recommend this project and the tutorial over at The Artist Woman. It’s concise, easy to follow and the process is easy enough for school children to do. Plus the finished product looks so good, it’s hard not to get excited about the whole idea.

I can’t wait to see what the dorm winds up painting on their fabric murals. I’ll be posting pictures as soon as they get going!