Toothpaste Batik


What is batik?

Batik is both an art and a craft, which is becoming more popular and well known in the West as a wonderfully creative medium. The art of decorating cloth in this way, using wax and dye, has been practised for centuries. In Java, Indonesia, batik is part of an ancient tradition, and some of the finest batik cloth in the world is still made there. The word batik originates from the Javanese tik and means to dot.


Scrap paper
Embroidery hoop
Sharpie pen
White toothpaste
Hand lotion
White fabric or
Squeeze bottle
Paint brush
Permanent tempera or acrylic paint
Colored Sharpies



1: Select your embroidery hoop size and trace your circle. Then kids can begin drawing their ideas on to scrap paper. Tape your picture to a piece of cardboard or hard surface and trace with a black Sharpie marker. Make sure there is something under your art in case the Sharpie bleeds through.

2: Then, tape a piece of white fabric over the drawing. The Sharpie lines should be visible through the fabric. Doing it this way, means there are no pencil lines on the fabric.

3: Mix toothpaste and aloe hand lotion together in squeeze bottles. The ratio is 1-to-1. It doesn't have to be exact, you just don't want it runny. I found the lotion and toothpaste at Dollar Tree and used glue bottles for squeeze bottles. You can use glue instead of the toothpaste-lotion mix, but it is less precise and the glue lines can seep together making it blobby looking. Right before use, shake your bottle, then trace over your lines beginning at the top so you don't smudge your work.

4: It takes about 24 hours to dry and will feel rubbery when dry.

5: Paint directly onto your fabric. Tempera paint is best because it drys soft while acrylic dries hard. Try your favorite brand, but remember: DO NOT USE WASHABLE PAINT!  You can paint right over the toothpaste/lotion lines.

6: Let the paint dry. To remove the toothpaste mix, run the fabric under warm water and rub gently. If you used glue instead of the toothpaste mix, soak in warm water for about an hour.

7: Add additional details as desired with Sharpie markers. Insert into the embroidery hoops, hang and enjoy.

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