July 12, 2012

Batik for Little Artists

Batik for Little Artists

This beautiful piece of cloth was painted by a toddler using a technique called batik.  It was fun to do, and it turned out beautiful.  All we needed was an 11"x 14" piece of white silk, tempera paint , and flour paste (recipe below). 

Procedure for Day One:

  • Our silk was flimsy and hard to paint, so I made a paper frame to give it more stability. To make the frame, I cut  heavy card stock into four strips: two measuring 11"x 2" and two measuring 14"x 2". Then I glued the strips together making a frame with an opening in the center that measured 10"x 13". I attached the silk to the frame with several pieces of rolled up masking tape (see photo below).

  • My next job was to mix the flour paste using the recipe below. 

Flour Paste Recipe:
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons alum (wherever spices are sold)
Mix ingredients thoroughly dissolving all lumps.  Pour into a squeeze bottle.

  • When everything was ready,I set the framed silk in front of Calvin and spooned some flour paste on it.  He used his finger to poke, drag, dab, and spread the paste.                                               

  • An older child could have squeezed the paste from the bottle, but Calvin's muscles were not strong enough yet. I squeezed it on the fabric in small puddles and he used his fingers to spread as he wished.

  • This was fun for Calvin.  He liked the feel of the warm, gooey paste.  He even tried a little foot action as you can see in the photo below.  

  • After that, he folded his hands and was done.  How did I know?  He left.  You know toddlers: when they're done, they're done.  I set the silk aside to dry.

Procedure for Day Two:

  • My job was to mix tempera paint and water into a soupy consistency.  I used Calvin's little plastic bucket, and I mixed enough to cover the silk once it was inside. 

  • Calvin's job was to put the silk into the paint and push it down.  I got him started, but he did the rest.  I showed him how to gently stir the fabric to be sure all the surface got covered with paint.

  • Once I cleaned Calvin up, I removed the silk from the bucket.  I didn't want to leave it immersed too long since the flour paste would have dissolved.

  • After the paint dried, I used a spatula to scrap off the flour paste. The areas not covered by paste dried darker than the pasted areas, resulting in a mottled design. 

  • My last step was to trim the silk with pinking shears.

  • This little batik has been very useful.  It was part of a centerpiece, a background for several photo shoots, and a present for Mommy on Mother's Day.  She'll have to keep it dry though.  Tempera paint washes out with soap and water.

Extend the Activity:

I bought a silk remnant at my local craft store, but Amazon is a more convenient way to buy silk.  When it comes to batik, Jacquard is a good brand. This scarf is huge, so you could either make one big batik or several small ones.

(click for Amazon.com)

Do you have a comment or suggestion?  I's love to hear from you.

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