Friday, March 28, 2014

Faux Batiks with First Grade, Cleanline Resist and Lumi Inkodye

I've had some interesting results with my faux batik project.  We began by studying the batiks of Africa, which is our theme continent for this grade level.  I then gave the kids a piece of muslin fabric.  By the way, if you ever have to cut 150 or so pieces of fabric for some reason, remember it is WAY easier to tear it than to cut it.

The kids traced the outline of their fabric in their sketchbook.  Then, using that as a guide for sizing, they made a very simple drawing of an African animal, and perhaps a little decorative border.  In hindsight, I could have skipped this step, because they definitely made their drawings more detailed than they could ever recreate with the glue.  But it helped them to visualize their idea I suppose.

The fabric was see-through, so they were able to place it on top of their pencil drawing and "trace" it with the glue.  Drawing with glue is tricky, and that's why the images have to be super simple.  You may get better detail if you try using gel glue instead of white glue.  But I have that lovely crayola white glue, and I tend to reach for that most often.

After letting the glue drawings on the fabric dry, we painted over them with tempera. We used one color to help alleviate my logistical issues, but you could use as many colors as you want!

Then, the next week, when the paint was dry, I washed them in the sink with warm water.  I did this for each kid individually, so they could watch the paint come off the glue and stay on the fabric.  I didn't try to remove the glue from the fabric completely, because it would have just taken far too long.  I did that for my example, and I had to wash so much that the color faded too much for my taste.  But depending on how your operation is set up, it may be best just to throw all the batiks in your washing machine without detergent.  The tempera will stain the fabric, and the glue should be completely removed.  I haven't tried that.  I wasn't going to put 150 of them in my washing machine at home for obvious reasons.  :)

I removed the glue from the fabric completely.  But my piece of fabric was about twice the size of the ones I gave the kids.  I tried to do a little gradient with the black and the blue, but it didn't turn out very evenly.  It has sort of a tie-dye look, though.

And here's a kid example.  The color is much brighter, because they dried for a week before we washed them; plenty of time for a nice stain to set into the fabric.  And you'l notice that the white lines are a bit shiny, because the glue is still there.  The kids were happy either way, and this kept the color nice, so we went with this method.

Overall, I'm really happy with these results.  I've been wanting to do a faux batik lesson with kids for years, but I never quite found my groove with it.  I've tried this similar technique on paper before with mixed results, and I've tried the chalk and glue method too.  Here's a link to the Frank Lloyd Wright project I did a few years back.  

It is also noteworthy that if you are doing this with older kids or for yourself, you might want to try Cleanline Resist instead of glue.  It's designed more for batik.

I used a brush to apply the resist to fabric, testing how much detail I would get, and what difference the thickness of the applied resist would make.  You could then use the tempera method described above, or dye of some kind.  You might want to try the Inkodye.  It's a light sensitive dye which can be used for anything from batik to t-shirts, to faux cyanotypes.  I added the dye over my resist, laid it out in the sun and then washed in the sink.  Here's the result:

Because I'm a photography nerd as well, I am gonna have to try this with film negatives!  The instructions make it look super easy.  Now I just have to wait for the SUN TO COME OUT!  :)

Let me know about your experiments with batik!

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