Batik can be a fun project to do in the classroom if cold wax is used instead of the traditional method of using warm wax. Cold wax can be found at craft shops, school art suppliers or find it online, see links at the end. It is important to find a shop that sells big quantities for the classroom like 2 lt. bottles for example.
There are aspects that are important to consider like fabrics and paint. It is not necessary to use dyes, good quality fluid paint mixed with textile medium and unsized fabrics like bleached calico or cotton drill is the best.
This batik activity is designed for elementary/primary students. Young children who can draw big shapes and paint will be able to do it as well.
The first thing to do is to decide what the theme would be, the ocean, a magic garden, a picture or anything that students would like to do. The pictures illustrated here represent, the ocean by a year one student, an image inspired on the painting “The Guernica” by Picasso by a middle school student, and a view of the garden by a year one student.
What you need:
- Cold wax enough for a class of 25, a 2 Lt bottle will be enough, probably, for two classes.
- A piece of bleached white calico or white cotton drill per student. A3 size (30 x 42cm or 12 x 17”) is a good size, but if older students would like a larger piece it will depend on room space and budget.
- 1 medium paintbrush, or one small paintbrush, depending on fabric size.
- Pencils 2B or 4B, to draw the design.
- Newspaper to set up the fabric.
- Fluid paint of different colours. We recommend Chromcryl Fluid Concentrate, which can be diluted with a bit of water.
- Chromacryl Textile Medium
- The formula for the paint/medium mix is 1 part of the paint, 2 parts of water, and 1 part medium.
- Dispense just a few colours per group, as Batik could be done using two or three colours.
- Draw design on fabric using 2B or 4B pencils.
- Apply wax to the design using a paintbrush, use enough wax to wet the fabric with it.
- Let dry for about an hour and apply colours. The batiks should be allowed to dry for at least 24 hours before ironing and fixing.
- When dry, iron the batiks between pieces of newspaper to fix the colours and to soak up the wax.
- Note: soak the paintbrushes in hot water and laundry detergent for at least 20 mins. and wash.
This picture shows the design drawn on white paper with black pens, in such a way that the white cotton is placed on top of the design and the cold wax painted on as it is possible to see through the black lines.
Older students like to learn about some different culture’s textile designs, like African, Papua New Guinea, Indonesian, Mexican, etc. This blue batik is inspired by some designs from Papua New Guinea and by painting it just blue, it looks like a Shibori design. This design is drawn with a pencil but with a very loose application of wax.
Note: the batik activity could be extended to a sewing project, like windsocks, cushion covers, small bags and more.
Links to cold wax suppliers in Australia and the USA.
firstname.lastname@example.org to find out a supplier of paint and textile medium.