Back to School Crafts: Glue Batik Lunch Napkins

Glue batik project- using washable gel glue and paint on napkins to make school lunch reusable napkins- how eco-friendly! Artchoo.com

We have a yearly tradition of decorating cloth napkins for Fen to take to school in her lunch. The first year we tie dyed, last year was fabric markers, and this year we faux batiked. Batik is a beautiful technique of wax resist on fabric. You use a copper tool, called a tjanting, to pour hot wax onto fabric in a pattern or drawing, dye the fabric, and iron the wax away. Instead of risking burned fingers, we decided to try a technique using glue that I’ve seen floating around on Pinterest. It worked beautifully as a resist technique. It’s worth it to note that you can get some really amazing crackle results using the traditional wax method, but this is a good project to do with younger kids, or if you just don’t want to deal with hot wax! Here’s a video that’s a good intro to batik to share with your kids so they can get a look at how batik is traditionally done:

  Now for our project!

Materials:

Directions:

Pre-wash your napkins to remove any sizing, and iron them if they’re horribly wrinkly. Draw on the napkins with the glue. Make sure there’s something under them to protect the tabletop from sticky, yucky glue messes. Let the glue completely dry. Glue batik project- using washable gel glue and paint on napkins to make school lunch reusable napkins- how eco-friendly! Artchoo.com Use very watered-down acrylics to paint on the napkins. I tried squirting some paint onto a palette and letting Fen add water, but then I figured out it was much easier to use individual little containers for each of the colors. Add the paint to the container, and add the water – a little at a time- until the paint is the consistency of dye.

Glue batik project- using washable gel glue and paint on napkins to make school lunch reusable napkins- how eco-friendly! Artchoo.com

Glue batik project- using washable gel glue and paint on napkins to make school lunch reusable napkins- how eco-friendly! Artchoo.com

Glue batik project- using washable gel glue and paint on napkins to make school lunch reusable napkins- how eco-friendly! Artchoo.com

  Let them dry completely again. Wash and dry the napkins. The glue will wash out, but the paint won’t!

  Glue batik project- using washable gel glue and paint on napkins to make school lunch reusable napkins- how eco-friendly! Artchoo.com

P.S. We used up almost a whole 4 oz. bottle of glue on the 4 napkins. amazon button

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Comments

  1. says

    What a fabulous idea! Can’t wait to try this one. I think it would make a cute little gift for someone, too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    I think that this would definitely work better with the kids who have real control over that glue and what to do with it. We did something similar recently where the kids had to use the glue for designs and I found that the younger the kids, the more difficult it was for them to do.

  3. says

    Yes such a great idea to send them with cloth napkins and such a nice tradition of decorating them! I love how them came out. What will you do next year???
    Ann recently posted…EggsMy Profile

  4. Sara says

    I love that you make napkins every year as a tradition – great idea!
    Do you think the gel glue is necessary or do you think we can just use Elmers white glue?
    BTW – I just found your site and have been peeking all over – love it!

    • says

      Thanks Sara! I’m thinking you could probably use regular washable glue, I think we just used the blue glue so it would stand out on the napkins. Hmmmm, I guess I’d better start thinking about what to do for next school year’s napkins.

  5. says

    We just tried this, but I think I watered down the paint too much. :-( Our colors faded considerably with washing. It was kind of disappointing. We have a few more napkins and want to try it again. Can you tell me a little more precisely how many parts paint to water you think you used? We were really hoping this would work as a Mother’s Day gift for Grandma. :-) It’s a fun project! I think we just need to tweak our paint. Thanks!!
    Holly recently posted…DIY Craft Project: Yes! You CAN make your own Valentines!My Profile

    • says

      Oh no! Sorry it didn’t turn out, Holly. I think it’s a tiny bit tricky, because if you want really vibrant colors, you’ll have to use a bit more paint and the napkin stays a bit crunchy :) – I might need to go back in and figure out some actually measurements for this, because at this point I can’t remember at all what the ratio was! Did you use acrylic paints? I’m thinking using tie dye will probably work better with more vibrant colors, if you wash according to the tie dye directions.

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