Tuesday, 8 July 2014

DIY Faux Batik

I'm always on the lookout for crafts and DIY presents that upcycle materials we have around the house. Never mind that I am a horrible packrat when it comes to recyclables and I have multiple stashes around the house "just in case" I need them for a fabulous craft idea. I have a whole closet dedicated to toilet paper rolls, egg cartons and glass jars.

When I saw this post about creating Elmer's Glue Gel Batik at All Our Days I knew I had finally found the perfect craft for some old worn and ripped sheets I have been saving for a few years. It was on my summer bucket list and in keeping with my one little word for 2014, "make".

I am making bunting flags for my garden and I knew I wanted to try this technique for some of the flags.

I didn't, however, have the glue gel. I decided to try it with regular white craft glue, and the results are in.... it worked perfectly.

At All Our Days they suggest using this technique to make cloth napkins, which I could see working if enough of the paint is rubbed out of the fabric so that it is soft enough. I didn't worry about that because I am making flags and want the colour to be more intense and the fabric is slightly stiff from the paint, although ironing the fabric at the end made them softer. I imagine that after repeated washings the fabric would soften up as well.


  • pieces of fabric, hemmed or edged on a sewing machine so that it won't fray (I used upcycled sheets). I only sewed around the edges on three sides for mine because I will be folding over and sewing the top edge to create my bunting. 
  • white craft glue
  • acrylic paint
  • paint brushes (I used the wedge sponge type)
  • hot water in a shallow dish, and more hot water to rinse


  • "Draw" the pattern or shape onto the fabric using the glue. I practiced what I wanted to do on paper first to be sure that the design would fit. 

  • Lay the fabric in a sunny location to help set the glue on the surface. Luckily I did this on a hot day so this part of the drying process only took about an hour. The glue shouldn't be fully dry throughout or else it won't wash off in the hot water. To test if it is ready, run a dry brush lightly over the surface. The glue shouldn't smear and should still be white. The longer the glue is left to dry the harder it is to get out of the fabric later, but I would rather err on the side of leaving it too long than trying to paint over the glue and having it smear.

  • When the glue is sufficiently set, paint the fabric using the acrylic paint. I decided to water my paint down quite a bit and slightly layer the colours. 

  • Lay the fabric out to dry. Wait until the paint is completely dry. Again, because I did this on a very hot day it only took about an hour.

  • Pour hot tap water in a shallow dish in the sink and leave the fabric to soak until the glue rubs off easily. I had to add hot water a few times and rub with my fingers to completely remove the glue and paint. This took away some of the intensity of the colour but I was pleased with the final result so this didn't bother me. 

  • Lay the fabric to dry in the sun again.
I tried this process minus the glue for a few pieces of fabric
and they look great. The colour is more intense on those ones
because I used more concentrated colour and a fine paint brush.
I should have put something underneath the fabric while
it was drying because it stained my table and now I have
to figure out how to get it out.

  • Iron the fabric if so desired. 
I ironed mine because I wanted them to lay flat. Turn it
over and iron the wrong side. I also trimmed the fraying edges
up close to the sewing edge that I did.

  • Voila!
I really like the blending of the colours in the batik versions, and the imperfections in the paint that give them a
one of a kind appearance. My daughter designed the veggie flags and I did the chakra flags. 

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