If you thought DIY Batik Shirts were difficult to make – like I did before we tried this new activity – you are so wrong! Making Glue Resist Batik T-Shirts is actually super easy, super fun, and super cheap, especially if you already have glue and painting supplies handy.
This is the perfect weekend activity you can do at a relaxed pace – because you need to build in some drying time – or a great project to start with your kids and then let the grandparents, your nanny or babysitter finish the next day. Whoever finishes the project will get to bask in the glory of being the coolest caregiver on the planet when the children’s eyes pop in amazement at their finished creations!
- Elmer’s Washable Blue Gel School Glue
- White T-Shirts
- Acrylic Paint + Paint Brushes
- Wax Paper
We found 5-packs of white cotton t-shirts on clearance at Target for around $5, which were perfect for the job. I love that we instantly expanded the kids’ wardrobe at a fraction of the cost of buying new shirts at the store. Plus, we enjoyed the added bonus of the kids actually wanting to wear the clothes – instead of fighting me on style options – because they designed each piece themselves!
DIY Glue Resist Batik T-Shirts
Prep your t-shirts by sliding wax paper in between the shirts so that the glue and paint don’t bleed through to the back of the shirt.
Create your glue resist pattern by squeezing the glue onto your t-shirts. If your child’s glue lines are too thin or are not completely connected, prompt him to go over the pattern again or lend him a helping hand if he is trying to achieve a smooth white line pattern in the finished product (like our rainbow heart shirt design). Otherwise, drips and drops of glue are perfectly fine and make some really beautiful abstract designs.
After the glue patterns are completely dry, paint your t-shirts. You can paint with one color or several colors and paint the entire shirt or just a section over the pattern. It is all up to your child’s dreams for his design! For variety, on one of our shirts, we flicked a paint brush at the back of the shirt for a fun paint splotched effect.
Let the paint completely dry. You can see from the second picture from the left below that if you are not careful with your placement of the wax paper, the paint will bleed right through a cotton shirt.
Soak your shirts in warm water to loosen the glue; then run them through the washing machine and dryer before wearing. Acrylic paint will permanently stain the shirts, so you can pop them in the wash without losing any of the color. You can also use fabric paint instead of acrylic paint – it is just more expensive and unnecessary because acrylic paint works just as well – so we chose not to spend the extra money on specialty paint.
My kids were amazed that they could design their own clothing and were so proud to wear the finished pieces. You could also decorate canvas bags, pillow cases, and most natural fabrics using this simple and safe batik technique.
What are your favorite projects to leave out for your caregivers or grandparents while you’re away? Please share in the comments below or on social media using #LetsBond and tag @TheOutlawMom so I can see your fun ideas!
And remember to sign up for the Elmer’s Parents Club for more great creative bonding activities like these!
You can also try some of our other favorites that are a cinch to set up for caregivers:
Keep #RaisingThinkingKids and have fun!
Disclaimer: I’m thrilled to be collaborating with Elmer’s to share our easy activities and crafty inspiration for busy moms and families like ours who want to spend more time unplugging and reconnecting. We receive lots of glittery goodies as part of this relationship, but as always, all opinions are our own.