Monday, August 20, 2012

Indian Animal Art Adventure

Sometimes you have an idea and it seems like the best idea ever. Sometimes, those ideas get shot down quick. Sometimes the outcome is as good as the vision. Other times, the idea gets taken down bit by bit and you are left having to either abandon your idea or modify it and hope for the best. This story is of the latter. 

While trying to come up with a good India craft, I thought it would be a lot of fun to try to create some batik fabric. Since we like to incorporate some of our other lessons into our crafts. We were going to make batik with animals on it. 

Just having this idea should have made me realize that we'd need a back up plan. Batik is an art form that is practiced and mastered, and here I was about to attempt to make it with a 5 and 7 year old. 

What's more is I had decided to try use silk and to dye it with kool-aid. As we were gathering up our supplies, we were unable to find the wax, not a huge shock considering our location, but still pretty disappointing. Then, we couldn't find any silk. I did however find some "silky" material on clearance for $1.50 yd. Such a good price, I bought 2 yds (I'm sure I'll find a use for the rest). We picked out some kool aid and I decided that we could use glue as a resist. Water based craft glue, if we waited for it to dry, then we could dye our fabric, then wash the glue out. Since I had bought some extra material, I decided to do a test run. The kool aid went right through the fabric and left barely a hint of color on the fabric. *sigh* 

Finally, I had another idea. Acrylic paint, over craft glue on our not silk silky fabric. It's almost the same as batik right???

Eliana making tigers.
Aiden making snakes.
My elephants.
Letting these dry was a hard test of patience. We wanted to get right to painting them, but the glue was thick, the fabric was thin and the table cloth underneath was vinyl. Ultimately, they sat overnight to dry. 

The next step was to paint them. 

Then, letting them dry again. Wet paint, thin fabric, vinyl table cloth....

I know this picture looks a bit weird, but the table cloth is yellow, the red, blue, etc are the painted cloths drying. 
Mine was dry first, so I eagerly rinsed off the glue... and the paint. The fabric was certainly stained or dyed as I had hoped it would be, but it came out very pale and I was bummed that the color didn't "stick" better. I decided to leave A & E's  and see if letting the paint stay on longer would make a difference. 

Indeed it did! Success! It took more elbow grease to get the glue and the thicker layers of the paint off, but the finished products are colorful and beautiful. 

Eliana's finished Tiger. (The title picture is also one of her tigers, from the middle of the piece of fabric.)
Aiden's finished snake. 
I had hoped to be able to photograph each entire piece of fabric for you so you could see them in their entirety, but being that far away with the camera lost the details of the designs. All you could see were the colors, so you'll have to take my word for it when I tell you that they look fantastic. 

The moral of this story. The first plan might fail. The second plan might fail. If you keep trying and really exercise your patience, you will be rewarded with beautiful works of art. Or, just read a blog like this and let them (me) experience all of the fails for you and you can just skip right over all of that. 


  1. These look awesome! Way to be persistent and creative (that's what it's all about, right). For future reference, kool-aid only works on animal-derived fibers (wool, silk, etc.) and you can get cheap silk scarves online from dharma trading. But your end result is pretty fabulous anyway.

    1. Thanks! I did read that kool aid only works on animal derived fibers, but not before I figured out that it didn't work ;) This fabric that we bought would work well for screen printing I think too, because our table cloth looks exactly like our fabrics :) The paint went right through. I'm glad I bought extra fabric, I have a few ideas for future projects, including trying this same method to create a smaller vertically oriented piece for my living room wall.

  2. Turned out beautiful! We are working on a batik project as well right now- though I'm unsure of what the results will look like:).

    1. Becky, I look forward to seeing your results! This was a fun project, even though our method was far from authentic batik. :)

  3. Beautiful! I admire your creativity *and* your perserverance!


Most Visited