SchoolArts Magazine

October 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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I have long wanted to do batik with my students, but the idea of hot wax, ironing, and the attendant mess was a real deterrent. Plus, on a tight budget, I need to use what I have available. One day, on the Art Teach- er's Facebook page, someone posted a link that explained how you could batik with washable school glue. With a little thought and preparation, I was ready. This unit could easily be tied to Asian cultures and the use of batik or even a discussion about resist, color mixtures, and so on. Preparation The obvious thing for us to do would be to batik t-shirts, but getting all the right sizes of shirts is expensive, so I chose pillowcases, which I bought online for less than $1 each. I covered some leftover foam-core boards and cardboard with garbage bags so water wouldn't warp them. I cut them ½" (1 cm) smaller than the pillowcases so they were a tight fit, essentially stretched—a good thing. Design and Outline Students began by sketching a nature pattern, environment, or symbol. When they felt they knew the subject well they "drew" their designs on their pillowcases with tubes of white school glue. Some teachers swear by the gel kind, but I used the least expensive white and it worked well. Once the drawing on one side was complete, the pillowcases were set aside for a day to dry while we worked on another project. Overlapping with work on another project helps keep students busy and on task, and it's helpful with a project like this that requires a lot of drying time. Painting Once their glue designs were dry, students used watered-down acrylic paint as dye for one side of their pil - lowcases. I encouraged students to paint near the glue, allow the paint to bleed, and not worry if it trans - ferred over the line. This side was then left to dry. After the batik designs dried, students covered the backs of the pillowcases with free-form flowing brushwork using the same watered-down acrylic colors as on the front. You could also have students repeat the drawing with glue technique and then paint on the back, but the process will take longer to complete. Removing the Glue When all the paint was dry, I put the cases in a hot dryer to set the colors, allowing twenty minutes at high heat. Next, I soaked them for another twenty minutes in buckets of hot water to soften the glue. Students had to scrub a bit to remove all the glue, but the soaking in hot water made it easier. Students noticed that the glue felt "slimy," so when the slime was gone, the scrubbing was done. We had hardly any noticeable bleed and the colors stayed fairly vibrant. Instructions for Home I have done this kind of dyeing with- out the use of a dryer, but I think heat helps set the color. You could send projects home with the following directions: "Please iron this pillow- case well with newspaper on top and Eric Gibbons This engaging project uses supplies most art teachers alread have on hand. RESIST Easy to 36 OCTOBER 2015 SchoolArts E L E M E N T A R Y

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