Monday, April 26, 2010

Earth Day Glue Batik

Continuing with our "Big Blue Marble" theme here is a glue batik pillowcase we made in honor of Earth day.

Very easy for the kids to do and you get fantastic results.

I have a beginner glue batik post here.  For this project I took a piece of gator board (it's like a plastic version of corrugated cardboard) and I covered it with some wax paper.  You could use an art board or a piece of cardboard just don't forget the wax paper. 

You want it as close to the same size as the pillowcase as you can get.  My gator board is smaller so I'm making my design smaller to account for this.

Slip the pillowcase over top the board.  This keeps our design from bleeding thru to the other side.

It helps if you have a reference photo.  You also need washable gel glue.  I use the dollar store brand or Elmer's school glue.

To get a nice round earth I'm taking a large bowl and tracing my design in with pencil.

Don't worry too much about the pencil long as they are light the tend to get washed out later.

Here my helper Tika the cockatiel gets into the act.

Once you have traced out your design in pencil you can start going over your lines with the gel glue.  Draw it out just like you did with the pencil.  Any areas you want to stay white fill in with the gel glue.

Let will take about 24 hrs. Make sure to leave the board in the pillowcase.

Before painting just lift the pillowcase up a bit in case it is stuck to the board but keep the board in place for painting.

Using acrylic paint, paint in your design.   To stop the colors from mixing you can let one area dry a bit before painting next to it with a different color.

Here I painted the land parts first and by the time I went to paint the ocean the edges of the land area was dry.

Fill in your background areas.  You can water your paint down a bit to make this go faster.   I kept my border white as my board is smaller than my pillowcase and I like the way it looks.

Let the paint dry with the board in place.

When the paint is dry remove the board and soak the pillowcase in very warm/hot water for about 30 minutes.  If the glue has not washed away by then you can scrub it a bit.  Dry and you are good to go.

That's it.  I LOVE using the gel glue batik method and there are numerous applications.  You can even design your own fabric to then create with.

Give it a try.

Before I forget here is an updated "big Blue Marble" project I did with Grade 1.  We traced out our circles and then painted but I had them paint the entire Earth marble blue. 

Then using templates I made we traced out the land on green or brown contsruction paper.  We glued this on our blue marble and sponged on some clouds with white paint.  I found this was easier for them.

Click on the photo to see bigger.


  1. Love, love, love the gel glue batik pillow case. It is stunning. I cannot wait to try this out. My mind is spinning with ideas. Thanks for sharing!!!!!

  2. What a beautiful pillow case!!! I love it!!
    Can't wait to try it with my kids!!!

  3. Wow, This is a cool idea, love it, cheers Marie

  4. This is such an awesome project! I tried it today and it was so fun. The kids can't wait to try it. Thank you for posting this!

  5. That is one beautiful pillowcase!

    Thanks for the post it gave me the idea to help my daughter make a Girl Scout pillowcase for camp (perfect for pillows AND laundry). She can have fellow campers sign the back!

    You may remember I'm already in love with this craft:

    I want to try the water color resist portrait too. I can't wait for summer!

  6. Love this! Found your site the other day. I am going to try this with my kids for geography and astronomy. Thanks for the idea

  7. SO SO excited to have found your blog. I can not wait to try some of your projects. Thank you SO much for sharing. I recently purchased fabric to batik, and was planning on trying acrylics - but never would have thought to use glue! Thank you!!!

  8. Thank you for the tutorial! It's great! I can wait to try this batik!!

  9. this is awesome! the kids will love it! can it go in the washer and dryer after use?

  10. I think your pillowcase turned out wonderfully. If you don't mind, I would like to link to it on my blog. I am going to do a glue batik project with some kids from church, and want to show some examples of ideas they might try.

    Julie @

  11. Thank you so much for posting this! I'm doing a blogging camp and we used your tutorial to first make the pillowcase, then blog about it. :)

  12. thanx for your wonderful lesson plan ... here were my student's results

  13. We love this method of Batik, we made a birthday banner last year and this year we are making placemats with this method, but I am curious about how well they wash. We do not have to wash our birthday banner so I have no experience. Do the pillowcases bleed when washed? Thanks for all of the lovely art projects!

  14. This is so beautiful! True art in pillowcase form!

  15. This is wonderful, I'm amazed! I was working with my 4th graders on a batik last week and we just finished it, but the color ended up a bit dull when we washed them. What kind of paint do you use for your batiks? We used powder dye, are you using acrylic???. Thank you very much for sharing your ideas!!
    sorry, I don't have a URL and I don't know how to make the comments:(

  16. Now, I have a question for you. Once the paint is dry, and the washing has been done - is the texture of the pillowcase comfortable for sleeping? And how safe is it for a child to be in that intimate contact with the residual acrylic? I guess I'm asking - is this pillowcase functional as well as decorative? It's a clever and really rather exciting concept, but I'd want it to be something the kids (and I) can actually use.

    1. Keep your acrylic watered down for it to be softer, my son has used his earth day pillowcase for 5 years now, colours are still as bright as when first painted. The paint is non toxic.

  17. Thanks, Gail - I'm eager to try this technique. Buying toys for grandchildren - meh - where's the meaning in that? But making something functional that reflects their own art? I love the concept. I will be coming back here to learn from you - often.