Visual Texture on Fabric Class Plan

by Lisa Kerpoe

Easy Batik with Soy Wax and Gel Glue

Notes/Tips for Instructor

  • Stress the importance of using a light coating of gel glue or it won't dry in time
  • Set up a clothesline to hang gel glue pieces to dry, or lay a plastic drop cloth on the floor and place wet gel glue pieces on that. If possible, place a fan to blow on the cloth to aid in drying.
  • Only a few people can work at the wax station at a time, so demonstrate both products, then let people take turns at the wax station.
  • Students will be taking home their work before it has completely dried. They can "sandwich" the cloth between plastic trash bags.
  • Students should write their initials at the corner of each piece of fabric using a permanent marker prior to applying the resist.
  • All the supplies needed for dyeing, including resists, dyes and auxiliary chemicals are available through Dharma Trading Company ( or ProChemical and Dye (

Class Description
Do you like the look of batik? Are you intrigued by the idea of creating depth and texture on a two dimensional fabric surface? Create your own beautiful batik-look fabrics using soy wax, household glue and easy-to-use dyes. The wax and glue wash out easily with hot water, leaving behind beautiful color and pattern.

Class Length
Two to three hours. The outline is designed for a three-hour class. Some activities may be removed to create a shorter class or additional application techniques may be added to create a longer class.

Class Participant Benefits
Participants will walk away with a variety of beautiful fat eighths, all ready for their next quilt project! They will also learn numerous techniques for creating a batik-look on fabric.

Class Supplies

  • Required Text: Visual Texture on Fabric by Lisa Kerpoe
  • 2 yards of white or light-color cotton, pre-washed, ironed and cut into fat eighths (nothing with permanent press finish, please)
  • 1 bottle of Elmer's Washable Gel Glue - either clear or blue is fine
  • 1 foam pouncer or dauber
  • Something to use as a palette - i.e. any flat plastic tray from the recycling bin will work, a plastic report cover, or a disposable plastic plate
  • 1 Black Sharpie or Pigma micron marker
  • 1 pair of craft scissors
  • 1 plastic drop cloth
  • 4 large trash bags
  • Tools to apply the resists, i.e.stencils, found objects, pressed leaves, notched spreader
  • 1 2" bristle brush
  • 1 old sheet
  • 1 pair of rubber or vinyl gloves

Supplies Provided By Instructor/Shop

  • Soy wax (1/4 - 1/3 pound per person)
  • MX dyes in a variety of colors - you can use primaries and mix the secondary colors from that or use a variety of pre-mixed colors (provide 4-6 colors)
  • Soda ash
  • Sodium alginate (or print paste mix from ProChemical and Dye)

Other supplies to have on hand

  • 1 clothesline
  • 1 box plastic spoons
  • 1 drop cloth for work tables
  • 1 drop cloth for laying fabric to dry
  • Small plastic cups for thickened dye (small yogurt cups or plastic drinking cups work well, at least 3 per participant)
  • 6 plastic containers that hold at least 2 cups (recycled yogurt or cottage cheese containers work well)
  • Fabric squares for demos
  • 1 2" bristle brush
  • Extra pouncers/foam brushes
  • Notched spreader, stencils, brushes, bamboo skewers, other tools and found objects for applying glue and wax,
  • Pressed leaves
  • Measuring cups and spoons (for dye use only!)
  • Dust mask
  • Vinyl or latex gloves
  • Paper towels or cloth rags
  • 1-2 electric skillets dedicated to non-food use (or hot plate with fry pan)

Classroom Preparation

Provide participants with approx. 2' x 3' of table space each

Cover table with plastic drop cloth; place thickened dyes, plastic cups, plastic spoons and soda ash on table

Cover demonstration table with plastic; keep glue and all supplies for glue demo there

Allow participants access to a sink as well as empty floor space (or space outdoors in nice weather) where fabric can be laid flat to dry

Consider bringing a few large floor fans to aid the drying process or setting up a clothesline to dry the gel glue pieces

Pre-mix sodium alginate thickener (Chapter 4, Adding Color, p. 62) or ProChemical print paste (as directed on package)

Pre-mix the thickened dye by pouring 1 1/2 cups of print paste into a plastic container and adding1 1/2 tsp. dye powder and mixing well

Set up a table near an outlet and place an electric skillet in the center so two people can work at table sharing the wax pot. (Depending on the number of students, you may want two wax stations. If there are more than 6 participants, a second station is helpful.

Class Outline

Overview/ Intro

Overview of concept of resist—simply put, it is something that blocks the penetration of dye or paint to create a pattern on cloth
Benefits of soy wax and gel glue as resist (Chapter 2, The Resists, p. 22 and p. 33)
Fabric—what types are suitable, how to prep (Chapter 1, Getting Started, p. 6)
Show samples

Gel Glue

Easy to use, easy to wash out, available locally, inexpensive
How it compares to wax - more water-soluble, no cracking
Demonstrate several techniques for using the glue (Chapter 3, Applying the Resists)
   Squeeze bottle (p. 42)
   Leafprint (p. 50)
   Stencil - commercial or found objects (p. 45)
   Stamp sponge or found objects (p. 48)
Dry cloth on clothesline or lay on plastic drop cloth

Soy Wax

Biodegradable, low temp melting, wash out in hot water
Safety guidelines (p.27)
Demonstrate several techniques for using the wax (Chapter 3, Applying the Resists)
   Brush - apply with bristle brush
   Sponge - apply with sponge cut into shapes
   Fold & dip - fold cloth into squares and dip edges in wax

Individual Work - Divide into small groups. Have each group take turns at wax station. The remainder of the class can work on gel glue techniques.

Adding Color

Dye Overview (Chapter 4, Adding Color, p. 60)
Characteristics - permanent bond, natural fibers
Requirements - soda ash, temperature, time, moisture
Safety guidelines (p. 61)
Demonstrate hand painting the thickened dyes using the bristle brush

Individual Work - painting dye on fabrics (Instruct students to place the old sheet they brought on top of the plastic drop cloth when applying the dye.)

Wash-out Instructions (Chapter 4, Adding Color, p. 68)
Instruct students to let the cloth sit for 4-24 hours for the dyes to set.
Review the washing instructions.