A month or so ago, I read a post on That Artist Woman's blog about doing batik with kids. I'd actually never heard of batik before, but it looked fun. Instead of using hot wax to create designs like classic batik, That Artist Woman used Elmer's Washable School Glue Gel. I thought maybe I'd try it sometime. Well, Danol spilled orange juice all over a plain white shirt one morning last week, and it didn't all come out in the wash, so I thought, why not try that batik thing with it?
So, armed with blue glue gel, watered-down acrylic paint, Dano's shirt, a body suit for Mercy, and one of my hubby's old undershirts for me, I embarked upon my batik experience. That Artist Woman said it would take 12 hours for the designs I drew with the glue to dry, so I did that Thursday night. I did a train for Dano, autumn leaves for Mercy, and for my shirt I wrote "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD" (Psalm 98:4) and surrounded it with music notes and symbols.
I learned a few things. If you do big, filled-in shapes with the glue, like the smokestack on the train or the bottoms of the music notes, they'll take longer than 12 hours to dry. And if you try to do a lot of little lines together, they'll probably all run together. If you're doing shirts like this, definitely put waxed paper between the front and back of your shirt or your design with go all the way through and your shirt will glue itself to itself. Which didn't happen to me, but with as much as they stuck to the waxed paper, I know it would.
But eventually, the glue was dry, so on Friday afternoon, we took our shirts out to the balcony and painted them. I'd mixed up acrylic paint with water in squeezey bottles, which made painting the shirts really easy, especially for Dano. I learned some things here too. Putting down plastic garbage bags under what you're painting is good (I did, and got very little paint on the balcony). Also, prewashing your garments if they're new is good. I didn't prewash Mercy's body suit, it was brand-new, and the paint did NOT want to soak into it. With Dano's and my shirts, the paint soaked in where we squirted it. But I had to rub and pat it into Mercy's body suit, and it didn't soak in as well or dye it as brightly.
I also learned that little boys who are not yet 3 years old can be awesome at this! Dano's shirt turned out the best of all, I think. He was super-careful and thoughtful about where to put each squirt of color. He would put one color over another, which made his shirt look beautiful and artistic, while my shirt looks blobby and blotchy because I was trying not to let them bleed together very much.
I think this would make a really cool craft project for Vacation Bible School, a summer camp -- anything where you can take multiple days to make it. Because after the paint dries, you have to soak the shirts to get the glue out, then let them dry again. So it's at least a two-day project, maybe three. Read That Artist Woman's post here for all the details on how to do this.
I've washed our shirts in the washer, and they've retained their colors quite nicely, so I'd say this craft project was a rousing success!