I’m not really sure how I stumbled upon this idea, but I’m certainly glad that I did. If you are looking for something that you can do with all ages, that requires very few supplies, and that you can do over and over again- this is a great activity. We have done it twice. We did it the first time by ourselves and then invited friends to do it with us.
Giving credit where it is due, I found this idea and all the supplies and tutorial from Artsy Karma.
We had the Craft paint already. I bought White Linen Fabric napkins, square and already hemmed, which were perfect for what we wanted to do. I bought Elmers washable gel glue and the Textile Medium using Artsy Karma’s suggestions.
I set up one of our tables outside and put our art tablecloth out there, which we reuse. Then we set to work!
First, we used a fabric pen (which erases itself after a bit) to draw our designs onto the linen napkins. After drawing our designs, we traced over them with the gel glue and used the wrong end of a paint brush to make sure that the glue didn’t dry in glops but instead spread over the lines of our designs. You may need to add a bit more glue to accomplish this. We let them dry all the way.
Best part? Everyone’s design and skill was at different levels, but they all could do it! Even my two year-old. She skipped the drawing part and just started adding glue to her napkin.
After the glue was dry, it was time to paint. I prepared the paint mixing our acrylic paints with the textile medium using the directions at the back of my textile medium.
In a genius move, which was only truly realized later, I decided to use one plate and one paint brush for each color that we wanted to use. That way the kids did not need to clean their brushes in between using different colors and none of our colors got muddled up or mixed. I would definitely recommend doing it that way and then passing the plates between each other. It was also a great practice in patience and sharing for the kids.
The great thing about this technique is that there is no skill required, but they can grow in technique and skill as they go. The dried glue can be painted over because just like batik, it’s a process that uses a resistant to create the design. In this case, the resistant is the glue. When you wash it later, the paint over the glue washes away with the glue.
After everyone painted, we let the fabric and paint dry all the way. We waited until the next day to complete the next step.
After everything is dry, you can wash away the glue.
I made a hot tub of water and put all of our artwork into the tub to soak for about 30 minutes. Then, we used our fingers to wash away the glue from each of the napkins. We worked it with our fingers until we couldn’t feel any of the slimey glue left, one by one. I let each of the bigger kids wash off the glue from their artwork. I did the others.
Then we let them dry in the sun!
You can see the globs of glue and mixed paint on my little 2 year-old’s artwork. It turned out beautifully! The caterpillar and butterfly combo my 4 year-old made is so sweet! Everybody loved the results of the technique and couldn’t wait to do it again.
I gave my 7 and 8 year-olds some yarn and a large tapestry sewing needle to make two strands of our artwork to hang together in our front window:
We are so happy with the results! Until next time, keep creating!