How to Do Batik With Children

Updated March 23, 2017

Batik, along with tie-dye and shibori, is a resist method of decorating and dyeing fabric. Batik usually uses layers of hot wax as the "resist" area, which is treated to keep dye from reaching it. (In tie-dye, the resist is done by twisting and tying the fabric.) Traditional batik methods are dangerous to do with children because of the temperature of the wax resist. However, you can use a washable, non-toxic white glue as a resist to make batik a kid-safe craft activity.

Protect work surface with a thick layer of newspaper.

Place cardboard behind the fabric or inside the T-shirt.

Open the glue and paint designs on the fabric or T-shirt. Anywhere you apply the glue, the dye will "resist."

Allow glue to dry.

Mix cold water dye(s) as directed by the manufacturer, and pour into spray bottle(s).

Spray the fabric or shirt with dye as desired. Allow to dry completely.

Fill bucket or basin with cool water and dunk fabric or shirt to rinse off excess dye. Pour out water after rinsing.

Refill bucket or basin with warm water and allow glue to soften. Scrub away glue residue and squeeze away excess water.

Allow fabric or shirt to dry completely.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • White fabric, such as a T-shirt
  • Cardboard
  • White, washable "school" glue
  • Cold water fabric dye in desired colour(s)
  • Spray bottle
  • Bucket or basin
  • Old nail brush
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About the Author

A writer and professional lab assistant based in Seattle, Kate Bruscke has been writing professionally about health care and technology since 1998. Her freelance clients include "The Seattle Times,", Reading Local: Seattle, Nordstrom and MSN/Microsoft. Bruscke holds a Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.