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Toothpaste Batik

You don’t have to always use paint or pencil to create art! Textile art is one of the oldest art forms in human civilization. Historically created to serve very practical functions, such as clothing for warmth, textile art has evolved over the centuries to move from “craft” to “fine art”. Fabric art uses fibers and can include methods such as embroidery, weaving, sewing, and dying fabric. A rug, tapestry, clothing or even a sculpture made with fabric are all examples of textile art. This week we will explore the ancient art of Indonesian Batik. Traditionally, batiking fabric is done by applying hot wax to selected areas of the design and then dying on top of the fabric. The wax resists the dye, and those areas remain the original color of the fabric. However, this method below will offer all the fun and beauty of batik without the challenges (and dangers) of melted wax.

Materials: Fabric (a plain tee-shirt, muslin, canvas, or any scrap piece of cloth), white toothpaste, hand or body lotion, paint (fabric paint, non-washable tempera, or acrylic paint. *Acrylic paint will result in a stiffer fabric).
1.)  Prepare your fabric by cutting it to your desired size. Perhaps you want to work on a large scale and then subsequently make the finished piece into bandanas, banners, pillowcases, or other projects. Remember you can also batik directly onto plain, light colored shirts, bags, dresses…
2.)  Place a piece of plastic wrap or cardboard under your fabric and tape it down to your surface (the plastic is there for easy clean up since materials are likely to seep through the fabric).
3.)  Using a pencil, lightly sketch your design onto your fabric. Examples could be animals, repeating patterns, or just abstract lines not representing anything in particular.
4.)  In an old glue bottle or something comparable, mix your toothpaste and lotion together. A 1:1 mixture will work perfectly. Mix it well.
5.)  Trace over your drawing with the toothpaste mixture and allow to dry overnight.

6.)  The next day paint over the entire image. Make sure you are not using washable paint! Allow it to dry completely.

7.)  Take your painted fabric to the sink and gently wash away the resist and excess paint. You may have to use a tool to help scrape off the resist if the water doesn’t wash it away easily.
8.)  Lay your finished piece flat to dry.