Monday, August 8, 2011

make-it-monday glue batik tee-shirt tutorial

In the continuing list of art project to do with elementary students (or anyone crafty who would get a kick out of it), I bring...
Elmer's glue Batik!

WARNING!! *this project requires two separate drying times, plus the additional use of either a dryer for a full cycle or an iron if using Tempra paint and the fabric painting medium*

a white tee shirt in the painter's size

acrylic paint in cyan, magenta and yellow (these colors mix beautifully for secondary shades of greens and purples)
tempra paint in cyan, magenta and yellow AND
fabric painting medium

thin foamcore or an empty cereal box
black permanent marker

optional equipment... or use all of them for some really neat effects
paint brushes
spray bottle
plastic grocery bag
medium-and-tempra premixed in squirt bottles (i didn't use this much, not even 1/4 of the bottle)

if you're not quite pressed for time...have the participant draw out a design on a piece of paper board or thin foam core - the paper board could be the back of a cereal box, what ever is handy. Remember, simple and big is usually best - intricate designs will be harder to accomplish with white Elmer's glue and will take more time.

Once the final design is settled on, go over the pencil lines with the black permanent marker. 
Slide the paperboard design side up in between the front and back of shirt, making sure the tag is facing you if the front is what you want to paint. Center as needed.
tee shirt design (far too complicated) with the dried, applied glue and bag-stuffed tee shirt
Have the participant go over the design - visible through the front of the tee shirt - with the white glue. It will soak in and spread, so try to drag blobs of glue along with the tip of the glue applicator to achieve lines and filled in places. 

if you are pressed for time... go nuts a la Jackson Pollak with the white glue. Or try for an Australian aboriginal design of concentric dot circles and swirls. Or just be creative.

set the tee shirt aside with the paperboard still inserted inside for the glue to dry. This takes a few hours. After the glue is dry, haul out the paint! This is where the plastic grocery bag comes in - if your paper inside the shirt isn't large enough to fill the inside, a plastic bag will fill enough of the shirt cavity that the paint design will not bleed through the back of the shirt. Acrylic won't need to be mixed, but the Termpra will need to be mixed with the medium as per the directions on the bottle.
Paint can be applied with brushed, sprayed on with a spray bottle, pounced on with sponges, flicked on with a toothbrush, what ever.While painting, make sure any area that was decorated with glue is covered over and/or around with paint - otherwise the design won't be visible. Experiment with wetting the fabric slightly with clean water and painting with a dampened paint brush (with paint on it, of course) this will make the colors blend together. A dry tee shirt and a 'dry' (a not dampened brush with paint on it) will create a different look. 

When finished painting,  set the shirt aside with the bag/paperboard still inside. This takes a few hours, and is especially dependent on how much paint made it onto the shirt, how thick the paint is, etc.

Once the shirt is completely dry, remove the plastic bag/paper board. For acrylic paint, run through the wash - this will dissolve the white glue and cause the design to appear white.

For the tempra/medium method, follow the directions to set the paint. Our medium required that we either iron the shirt (putting a piece of clean, blank paper between the shirt and the iron)for five to ten minutes on high heat, or running the shirt through the dryer for a minimum of 40 minutes on high heat. Only after these steps are the shirts safe to toss in the wash to dissolve the glue.
...teh kitteh comes in for a closer look
I completed the glue and paint aspect of the project in the space of nine hours - this was setting up, applying the glue, the time I spent in a meeting after work and driving home with glued shirt in the back seat of my car, cooking dinner, walking around the block, playing with the cat, etc., eating dinner and then a chunk of epic paint time in the evening. In short, I could have been more efficient, and gotten it done a leeeettle faster. I did let the paint dry over night, then threw my tee in the dryer while I made breakfast and coffee and checked my email and showered, etc., the following morning. I was rushed, so I soaked it in a bucket of warm water and dish soap, and scrubbed at the glue spots with my fingers to encourage them to peel off faster.

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