PAPER BATIK – Traditional Indonesian Art

Students learn about the ancient art of batik and use crayons and watercolour paints to make a paper version of the technique.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 6


Art Techniques
Social Studies
Visual Arts


batik colour contrast


Crayola Marker and Watercolour Paper – 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm cm (9” X 12”) Water Containers Paper Towels Watercolour Paints Crayons

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PAPER BATIK – Traditional Indonesian Art - Step One

Step One

Use crayons to draw your picture on a piece of marker and watercolour paper. Press hard with the crayon and fill the whole page with colour.

PAPER BATIK – Traditional Indonesian Art - Step Two

Step Two

Crumple the paper up making lots of cracks in the crayon. Squish the paper into a tight ball.

PAPER BATIK – Traditional Indonesian Art - Step Three

Step Three

Open the paper and flatten it out.

PAPER BATIK – Traditional Indonesian Art - Step Four

Step Four

Mix blue and black watercolour paint together and paint it over the whole picture. Make sure the paint goes into the cracks.

PAPER BATIK – Traditional Indonesian Art - Step Five

Step Five

Use a soft tissue to gently polish the finished picture.

PAPER BATIK – Traditional Indonesian Art - Step Six

Step Six

View the batik from a distance to see it with fresh eyes. Decide how you want to display the finished work.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a paper batik;
  2. Create a design based on the close-up view of a plant;
  3. Use contrasting colours;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


  1. Have students research the origins and history of batik in various countries. Have them compare the traditional way of making batik with the process they used. Have them work cooperatively to present the information in a digital class book or slide show that includes photographs of all the batiks made by the class. Share the finished presentation with other classes in the school, or place it on a continuous loop so it can be viewed by visitors to the school. 
  2. Have students make a batik on fabric using the simplified method described in the lesson on this website.
    Plants in Nature


  1. Prior to the lesson download background information about batik, for example,
  2. Download some images of batik from around the world, for example,
    Sri Lanka
  3. A UNESCO video showing the techniques, symbolism and culture surrounding Indonesian batik can be found at the following link:
  4. Link this lesson to a study of characteristics of plants in science.


  1. Show students some of the batik pictures and share a few interesting points about the art form. 
    - batik is both an art and a craft
    - a way to decorate cloth using wax and dye
    - an expressive art form that has been around for centuries
    - the art form has been found in use in the early centuries in Africa, the Middle East, and in several places in Asia
    - Java, Indonesia is most famous for its batiks
    - the word batik comes from the Javanese word 'amba', which means to write, and the Indonesian word 'titik', which means to dot or point
    - to make a batik hot wax is painted over parts of the fabric and then the fabric is dyed. The wax resists the dye so the fabric that has been waxed remains the original colour. To get another colour wax is again brushed onto the fabric and a new colour of dye is used. This process is repeated until the design is completed. Once all the colours are done the wax is removed.
  2. View the UNESCO video.
  3. This is the traditional process. Explain that the class is going to do a simplified, paper version of this process.
  4. Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Create a paper batik.
  2. Create a design based on the close-up view of a plant.
  3. Use contrasting colours.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Have students select a plant to work with. Ask them to make several sketches from observation, to photograph close-ups, or to download an image from the internet.
  2. Have them work directly from their image, changing it for artistic purposes.
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.



  1. Once all the batiks are complete display them for a group discussion. Remind students of the challenge.
    Look closely at the batiks.
    - Choose one that interests you for some reason.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
  2. During the discussion include references to:
    contrasting colours – How does the use of contrasting colours contribute to the effectiveness of the overall design?
    - crackle effects – How do the crackle lines contribute to the effectiveness of the overall design?
    - technique – How does the simplified batik process compare with the traditional process?


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - BATIK_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - BATIK_self-assessment.pdf)