DIY Batik: Glue Resist Painting for Toddlers

This DIY Batik is so simple to create! Your toddler will love the way the paints mix together to reveal the pattern underneath.

I had been seeing DIY batik paintings floating around on Instagram for a while and knew it needed to be added to our project list. As that list grew, DIY batik got lost as I was distracted by other projects. Then one night for a bedtime story, Aaliyah pulled Grandma’s Love by Dottie Wintterle. Dottie lives on Guam, and wrote this story from a Chamorro grandmother’s perspective, as she tells her grandchildren how much they are loved and reminds them the lessons she has taught them.

This book has a special place in my heart because my own grandma used to read this story to me, reciting both the English and Chamorro versions. The illustrations are beautifully done by batik artist Judy Flores. The colors are bright and beautiful, illustrating the people, plants, and animals of Guam. Aaliyah immediately started “oohing and aahing” at the pictures, pointing out the bright white lines against the colors. I opened Pinterest as soon as she was asleep, looking for tutorials to complete our own DIY batik projects.

Materials Needed

  • Scrap fabric: we used cotton, canvas would work as well
  • Craft paint
  • Washable glue
  • Fabric medium

Creating Your DIY Batik Pattern

Traditionally, batik is done using hot wax, like beeswax, and fabric dyes. To make the project toddler friendly washable glue will create the same effect! Most of the tutorials I read used clear gel glue, we only had white glue on hand and it worked the same. You just need to make sure the glue is washable!

To start I showed her how to squirt the glue and flowed my hand around the fabric. She was of course thrilled to try and started creating her own pattern. If your child is older they can use a pencil or fabric marker to design a more structured pattern, this would be a great opportunity for a math lesson on patterns! Creating the DIY batik pattern was easy, I only had to remind her to really cover the entire fabric with the pattern. Rotating large canvases like the fabric helps to spread the material. There are no rules here, but try to not make large puddles of glue because they will take forever to dry!

Painting Your DIY Batik Design

Once our glue was completely dry, around an hour, it was time to paint! We have actually done this project twice, because the first was an accidental practice run. I have used the cheap craft paint to paint fabric before, and didn’t have a problem with it washing out. Actually I have had trouble getting it out of our clothes! I don’t know if it is because this fabric needs to soak to scrub of the glue, but our first piece of DIY batik (the fabric on the left) came our extremely faded! The second time I mixed the paint with a fabric medium first. Ours is the Martha Stewart version, and it can be found online or at your local craft store for around $6 (cheaper with a coupon!)

To mix our paints I placed a small amount of each color into containers, and mixed 50/50 with the fabric medium.  This also watered down the paints, making them easier to mix together! I placed the paints, brushes, water cup, and fabric in front of her. We have really been working on carefully cleaning our brushes between colors and this was the perfect practice activity! While she painted I placed the book on the table, we also did this for our Monet painting, and she really enjoyed connecting her painting and colors to those in her book! Once her DIY batik was completely painted we set it out to dry.

Rinsing the Glue

Once your paint has completely dried, too early and your colors will run!, fill your sink with enough warm water to cover your fabric. Let it soak for a few minutes. Your little can then help you to gently rub the fabric with your fingers. The glue will rinse off to reveal the white fabric underneath! Aaliyah was amazed and asked if it was magic!

After setting our DIY batik paintings out to dry (yes I definitely had to do one too!) we brought them in and placed them in front of our book. We read the story again, pointing out the animals and leaves, and comparing the artist’s white lines to ours!

This project was so much fun to complete! And such a special moment to make a new connection to a story that my grandma made so special for me.

Have you ever tried DIY batik painting?

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  1. talliek says:

    I heard about batik painting while on a Caribbean island. We were on a cruise and I can’t pinpoint which one. My kids love crafting especially when it includes paint and glue. They will love this. Thanks!

  2. I’ve never heard of this before, but its amazing! I definitely want to try it out with my littles.

  3. alunderfullife says:

    This is super cool! I am definitely ticking this away for when my little girl is old enough.

  4. justbusylovinglife says:

    I love this idea! It’s so fun for toddlers!

  5. lifecomingalive says:

    I LOVE this and have never heard of it! I’m SO interested in trying it! What do you mean when you talk about mixing it with a fabric medium? I’m not sure what this is.

  6. i’ve heard of batik on silk and always wanted to try with my toddler!

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