We have a yearly tradition of decorating cloth napkins for Fen to take to school in her lunch. The first year we tie dyed, last year was fabric markers, and this year we faux batiked.
Batik is a beautiful technique of wax resist on fabric. You use a copper tool, called a tjanting, to pour hot wax onto fabric in a pattern or drawing, dye the fabric, and iron the wax away. Instead of risking burned fingers, we decided to try a technique using glue that I’ve seen floating around on Pinterest.
It worked beautifully as a resist technique. It’s worth it to note that you can get some really amazing crackle results using the traditional wax method, but this is a good project to do with younger kids, or if you just don’t want to deal with hot wax! Here’s a video that’s a good intro to batik to share with your kids so they can get a look at how batik is traditionally done:
- 100% cotton napkins
- Elmer’s washable blue gel glue
- Sponge paint brushes
- Acrylic paints (or you can tie dye the fabric if you prefer- the wax will still resist the dye)
Pre-wash your napkins to remove any sizing, and iron them if they’re horribly wrinkly. Draw on the napkins with the glue. Make sure there’s something under them to protect the tabletop from sticky, yucky glue messes. Let the glue completely dry. Use very watered-down acrylics to paint on the napkins. I tried squirting some paint onto a palette and letting Fen add water, but then I figured out it was much easier to use individual little containers for each of the colors.
Add the paint to the container, and add the water – a little at a time- until the paint is the consistency of dye.
Let them dry completely again. Wash and dry the napkins. The glue will wash out, but the paint won’t!
P.S. We used up almost a whole 4 oz. bottle of glue on the 4 napkins.