Monday, May 10, 2010

Batik with Toothpaste??!!! What Fun! - by gr.5




Yes, these gorgeous 5th grade paintings, done back in the fall, are actually imitation "batiks" that were created using a resist of toothpaste mixed with Aloe Vera lotion (which I bought in the $1 store). No melted wax! According to the kids: Best Project EVER!!! And an unexpected bonus - while you are working, your art room will smell minty fresh :-)

We used design elements found in Victorian architecture for design motivation for these "batiks". Here's how you do it:

  • First, tape muslin to a scrap of mat board. Either draw lightly with pencil on the fabric, or draw with a Sharpie on a piece of paper and put it under the fabric before taping.
  • Mix together toothpaste and aloe vera in an empty glue bottle (hint: you'll want to clearly label the bottles to avoid mixups). Shake 'em up like crazy. Then trace over your drawing with the resist mix, and leave to dry overnight.

  • Paint over the entire image with tempera - but do NOT use washable tempera. More concentrated or better quality tempera will result in richer color. Don't use white. Again, leave to dry thorougly.


  • Put in sink and let water run over it to begin to loosen paint.
  • Rub gently as the stream of water removes all the resist, and excess paint.
  • Place on clean side of matboard to dry.If desired, touch up or add details with Sharpies.


Voila! All done!

I know many of you, especially in the south, are winding down your school year, so you may want to check back in the fall when my students will create a new batch of this crazy-fun technique. Meanwhile, here in NY, school's in session till almost the end of June. Still lots of teaching time left!

34 comments:

  1. These are gorgeous! I will definitely have to try this. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Neat! It is so much fun hearing about crazy new materials. I will try this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What proportions of toothpaste to aloe vera cream do you use? I have also use flour paste which is wheat flour mixed with water. To make a permanent paint cheap mix acrylic paint with fabric medium (1 part medium to 5 parts acrylic)- saves heaps is non toxic and gives a great range of colours if required
    No nasty smells like other fabric paints
    Cheryl Hancock
    Visual Arts Specialist
    Beeliar Primary School'
    Perth Australia

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your comments, Cheryl. The proportion is pretty much 50/50, to give it a good consistency to squeeze from the bottle. I have also discovered (after the kids were done) that you can paint on toothpaste alone, and refrigerate before painting to get a nice batik-crackle. Next year the kids will try this. Someone told me that you can also make a resist with hair gel. Worth a try!
    The paint for this method has to be tempera to really work. I experimented with acrylic but it doesn't wash out the same way. The richest colors came from bottles of an old concentrated Crayola tempera. Do not use washable tempera - the colors will wash right out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! I am a beginning teacher in Australia, and I love this idea! Problem is that our school has a very strict washable paint rule... so do you know of anything that I can get the kids to use instead of the toothpaste mix that they can just peel off after painting? Maybe the toothpaste will scratch off anyway without washing? I may be wrong, but I feel like it may work (not as well, mind you) if they use a really watery mix of acrylic paint so it bleeds, and then not wash it, and pick off the resist to reveal white lines? Maybe Blu-tak even? What do you think?

      Delete
    2. Nicole, it's interesting you have to use washable paint, but you can use acrylics?? I don't know he answer to your questions, except to say "try it out!" Test several options yourself and see if you can find a way to make this work within your limitations. If you try the watery acrylic, you should be able to wash it out, I'd think. Let me know if you find something that works!

      Delete
    3. Why not use food coloring and water for paint. That's what another teacher does for her watercolors for her students.

      Delete
    4. I personally do not use food coloring sigh my students, because they stain so badly. Plus If you are teachers get a lot of kids, they are not very cost-effective.

      Delete
  5. I absolutely love this idea!!! I always love to hear about ordinary things that make great art supplies. I will have to try this sometime.

    ReplyDelete
  6. *********THIS IS SO COOL! Love the "process" pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Cool! I had heard about "batik" with elmer's glue before but never toothpaste!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Phyl- So glad you left a comment on my blog, otherwise...not sure when I would've found yours:) Lots of fun lessons you've shared - looking forward to seeing more!!!!
    tisha

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great project! I did batik with my class several times, but that was the old way with wax and textile paint. I'll definitely try this way!

    ReplyDelete
  10. this is fantastic! i've added it to my tumblr files to pass it on as I know others will be inspired to try this creative technique with such beautiful results.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Does it have to be aloe lotion, or can it be another kind of lotion. I have looked and can only find Aloe lotion for about $15 a bottle. Will lanolin or sorbalene lotion do??

    ReplyDelete
  12. Katie, I found the idea online before I ever even THOUGHT of blogging - it was posted by a teacher working in China, and when I just googled again i found posts about the process going back 7-8 years! Every one says 'aloe vera'. I went to the $1 store and one time bought an aloe vera after-sun lotion, and another time was an aloe vera hand cream and both worked great.

    Meanwhile, today I found a NEW Elmer's Clear Washable Glue which I bet would be another good possibility. I haven't tried it yet, but hey, if it's washable it should come out, right?

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have an award for you
    http://alljoinin.blogspot.com/2010/07/versatile-blogger-award.html
    Great blog.
    Blessings Bea

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Phyl--I'm just about to try this toothpaste batik with my afterschool kids the week after next. I'm going to tweek the process a little, but I'll let you know how it comes out.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ok - so here's my question: I'm a first year teacher and I'm going to do this project, but deal with Virginia Architecture to cover our standards of learning. What do you do with the remaining 25 students while there are 2 at the sink at a time rinsing the toothpaste out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. set up foil turkey/ham cooking pans with water at each table. You be in charge of refilling them. That way you have enough working at a time and spectators at each table to help one another and improve the process.

      Delete
  16. Debby, thanks for the question.
    First of all, I am lucky to actually have THREE sinks in my room - a double sink usually used for hand washing, and a "slop sink". So we used them all for this, and since the kids helped each other that meant there could be as many as 6 kids at sinks.
    Second of all, I'll admit my rural school has class sizes of between 17-22 kids generally.
    Third of all, having been teaching 35 years, I'm generally pretty comfortable with having a LOT going on at once. So I might have some kids who are still finishing their paintings, others washing them off, and others doing something else. I often overlap projects, but if not,those who are already done would be likely be doing a "free choice drawing" using one of my "drawing starters", or other some free choice activity. But more likely they are starting another project. I'll admit that there is often a LOT of movement in my room, there is usually music playing, and I know the kids real well.
    As a first year teacher, this all might be a little tricky for you. I'd definitely try the process out before you attempt it with kids, as the results can vary greatly depending on the amount and brands of toothpaste/lotion/paint used. I prep my kids ahead of time to know that this is a VERY experimental process and not to be upset if a color doesn't "take", if lines "bleed", or if it just doesn't come out as expected. If desired, the kids touched them up (some just a little, some not at all, and some a lot) with colored Sharpies after they were dry.
    Please get back to me after you try it out and let me know how it went! Good luck!
    By the way - some people do a similar project with Elmer's gel glue and others told me they use hair gel. Take some time on your own and experiment and see what works best for you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. did you get chance to try just toothpaste this year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RJ, I didn't try it. The lotion helps it to flow easily out of a glue bottle, to get a nice line. The toothpaste alone wouldn't have that flow. I know I talked about painting toothpaste on and refrigerating for a crackle, and it does work, but I decided that it would take way too much toothpaste (that I purchase with my own $$$). So we stick with dispensing with glue bottles.

      I did try the Elmer's blue glue that other people have mentioned, and it was extremely difficult to wash out. I wouldn't use it again.

      Delete
  18. Do you think the toothpaste/lotion resist will work with tie-dying t-shirts? I want the kids in my art camp to combine the batik and tie-dye techniques (as in West African textile design) and wonder if dampening the t-shirts for the dye will loosen the resist too much. I've used glue before, which works great, but is a pain to wash out! What do you think? No time to try a sample, unfortunately...
    Thanks so much! You're a treasure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a fun idea, but I don't know. Toothpaste is water soluble so I'm afraid the resist will all come out if you need to dampen before dying the shirts. If you do try it, please let me know how it works out!

      Delete
    2. use squirt bottles of dye with baking soda/ soda ash in it to activate it.

      Delete
  19. Just read about this technique--AWESOME!!--I need to try this, but first I have to get me some of those Crayola tempera paints. I have the washable stuff from Michael's. I'm glad you answered the question about using acrylics, I would ave used those...thank you so much for posting this technique! Brandie @ www.createartwithme.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. wanting to try this! where can I find the right type of (non washable) tempera?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Olivia, I used a few different brands. I used Sax Versatemp, Crayola Premier Tempera, and some Blick tempera, too. Any washable tempera will say 'washable' on the label, so if it doesn't, you should be ok! Better quality paint will work better than cheap paint, too. Good luck!

      Delete
  21. holy moly! those are awesome! i definitely need to try this:) thanks for the info on brands too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Don! This has been my most-viewed post on the blog, ever, I think due to Pinterest. Which is funny to me, because I have posted about this technique probably 5 or 6 other times, and as a matter of fact, I'm doing some of these with my after-school students right now! So if you want to see any of the other posts, just use my 'toothpaste batik' label and you'll find them all.

      Delete
  22. Love your site, love your art!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm the Editor of Fun Family Crafts and wanted to let you know that we have featured your project! You can see it here:

    http://funfamilycrafts.com/batik-with-toothpaste/

    If you'd like to share any other kid-friendly craft tutorials with our readers, we'd love for you to submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can get one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a great project idea!

    ReplyDelete