PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric

Students learn about the ancient art of batik. They use a simplified, melted crayon process to create their own design on fabric of the close-up view of a plant. CAUTION! This technique should only be done in a well ventilated room and with adult supervision.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 10

Subject

Art Techniques
Language Arts
Science
Social Studies
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

batik contrast

Materials

Cotton Fabric Paint Brushes Electric Frying Pan Mini Muffin Tin (12) Newspapers Iron Masking Tape Dark Blue Cold Water Fabric Dye Paint Brushes Crayons

Shop Crayola Products

Steps

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step One

Step One

Tape all 4 sides of the fabric to a piece of paper or tag manila. Pull the edges tight as you tape them down to give a smooth surface.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Two

Step Two

Refer to your downloaded picture or rough sketch and use erasable coloured pencils to draw the main details of your design.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Three

Step Three

Select the colours of crayons you need for your design. Remove the papers and break the crayons in half.  

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Four

Step Four

Place the muffin tin into the electric frying pan. Place the broken crayons into one of the muffin tin spots. Continue to do this until you have all the colours you need in your palette. Set the temperature to medium. Always have water in the pan when the crayons are melting.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Five

Step Five

Paint with the melted wax crayon. Make sure the colour is hot enough to melt into the fabric.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Six

Step Six

Be sure to fill the entire surface of the fabric with melted wax crayon.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Seven

Step Seven

When you are finished remove the tape and turn the fabric over. Add more melted wax crayon to any fabric not coated with colour. 

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Eight

Step Eight

Crumple the fabric in your hands. Make as many cracks in the wax crayon as possible.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Nine

Step Nine

Unfold the fabric. 

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Ten

Step Ten

Place the entire fabric into a basin of dark blue, cold water fabric dye. Scrunch the fabric down into the basin, then squeeze out the excess dye before you remove it. Be sure to wear plastic gloves to protect your hands and an apron to protect your clothes.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

Flatten the fabric out on a piece of newspaper.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

Place several pieces of newspaper on top of the fabric.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Thirteen

Step Thirteen

Set the iron to cotton. Slowly move the iron over the newspaper to remove the wax. Be sure to keep the iron moving and stop when the newspaper is full of melted wax. Repeat, using fresh newspaper until all the wax is removed. When you no longer see wax on the newspaper you are finished.

PLANTS IN NATURE – The Ancient Art of Batik on Fabric - Step Fourteen

Step Fourteen

Decide how you want to display the finished work.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a batik on fabric using a simplified, melted crayon process;
  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.

Extensions

  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. 

 

Prepare

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

Introduction

  1. Show students some of the batik pictures and share a few interesting points about the artform. 
    - batik is both an art and a craft
    - a way to decorate cloth using wax and dye
    - an expressive artform that has been around for centuries
    - the artform 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 version of this process.
  4. Introduce the challenge

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create a batik on fabric using a simplified, melted crayon process.
  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 dowload 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. Ensure safe practices. For example,
    - be aware of the hot electric frying pan 
    - always make sure there is water in the frying pan, replacing it when it evaporates 
    - keep the frying pan temperature set to medium 
    - work in a well ventilated area 
    - wear plastic gloves for the dyeing process 
    - wear an apron for the dyeing process 
    - keep the iron moving while removing the wax and replace the newspaper once it is filled with wax
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

 

Sharing

  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?

 

Assessment

  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. (Download - BATIK_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - BATIK_self-assessment.pdf)