Batik with Glue (Blue Gel)

1960s/70s retro is so in.  All those crafts:  decoupage, batik, tie dye, granny squares, burlap and more.  Of course, just like the goofy bell bottom jeans that came back as cool “flares” a few years back, these crafts have come back but are much cooler as well!

My sister is a few years older than I am and she was one crafty lady.  She did it all!  When she was in high school, I remember her making a beautiful wall hanging with waxes and dyes….batik!  It was pretty labor intensive.  Scanning the internet, I found quite a few sites that used……..

Yup!  Elmer’s gel school glue.  Washable gel glue.  I thought I’d give batiking with gel glue a try.  Here’s what I did.

First, I got some white muslin and washed/dried it.  (You MUST wash new fabrics to remove any sizing.) I cut out two fabric squares.  With the elmer’s glue, I “drew” design on each piece of fabric.  It takes a LONG time for the glue to dry.  I mean a LONG time so plan on 24 hours.
 Once the glue was dry, I decided to try two different dying techniques.  The first one I used some tumble dye I had leftover from Girl Scout days with my daughter.  I sprayed yellow in the center of the square and then sprayed blue and green along the edges.  

My second square I decided to use tempra paints (DO NOT use washable).  I placed my fabric square on a piece of parchment paper and then with a foam brush painted over the the designs.

I then let both squares dry overnight (24 hours).  Before continuing, I read that the tumble dye needed to be heat set so I tossed this square in the dryer for 15 minutes.
Now, It was time to wash the dried glue away.  I washed the tumble dry square under running water with a bit of detergent.  I decided to soak the tempra painted square in a tub for 20 minutes before I started working to remove the glue.
Note, the glue is a bit stubborn.  You will need to use your fingernail to help scratch off the glue.
Look how they each turned out!  It’s pretty cool. 
1.  The tempra paint resulted in very stiff fabric.  I would use this technique for crafting purposes (like making a banner).  I would not use the tempra technique for clothing
2.  Make sure you do not put your glue on too thickly.  On the square with flowers, the glue was much thicker and not only took a lot longer to dry, it also took longer to remove the glue
3.  The tumble dry turned out nicely but since I threw the fabric in the dryer to set the dye, the glue was a stubborn.  I would probably soak this square in a tub of water for a while to help soften the glue.
This is a fun activity and I think if you were to do this with your kids they would have a blast!
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  1. says

    I love this and have been dying to do batik but the whole wax think was making me nervous. Love that I can get a similar effect without melted wax. Thanks so much for sharing on Tout It Tuesday! Hope to see you next week.

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