These Batik Art Projects for Kids will inspire you to learn more about the ancient Indonesian art form, while also creating your own custom art work!
Most countries have some form of traditional art form that becomes famous and gets to represent the nation itself. However, few of them have the versatility and reach of Indonesia’s traditional fabric art, called batik!
Batik is basically a technique of dyeing fabric, generally using wax and plant dyes. Batik is believed to be native to Java, an island of Indonesia, and is now the country’s official art form. It’s a kind of dyeing that involves a great deal of precision and skill.
How is Batik made?
Batik may be a short word, but the process is quite long and painstaking! The fabric is first washed and then soaked for many hours. It is then beaten with a hammer-like tool, making the base ready for art.
Artisans now draw patterns on the fabric, usually in the form of dots and stripes, but they can include motifs of varying detail. Instead of ink or paint, hot wax is used to draw, and these are mixed with vegetable dyes.
The cloth is then let to dry after which the fabric is boiled to remove the dye resist. The resist-treated areas maintain the dye while the rest of the resist is removed. The process is repeated for each color of the pattern.
As you can see, making a batik is quite a special process, and it plays an important role in many Indonesian ceremonies and celebrations. So much so, that in 2009, the UNESCO recognized the batik as a ‘Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ of Indonesia.
So why is batik so important today? Well, Indonesia’s Independence Day is coming up on 17th August, which makes it the perfect time for making some beautiful Batik art projects! It’s also perfect for National Batik Day on 2nd October, although you don’t need a special day to celebrate gorgeous art!
15 Beautiful Batik Art Projects for Kids
You can Batik with wax or you can make a batik – confused? Well, this is because the term ‘Batik’ is both a verb and a noun! The word originated from ‘ambatik’, which is a combination of Javanese words ‘amba’ meaning wide and ‘tik’ meaning dot. Although original Batik experts use wax, you can go the route of the Craft Invaders and use glue instead!
We love this easy batik project from Emma Owl, where batik prints are made on a tablecloth. Batik artists use dyes extracted from plants and flowers, making the batik industry a sustainable and eco-friendly one, rather than using toxic chemical paints.
Art Bar Blog channels artist Anna Blatman to make this beautiful glue batik project. Bltatman’s colors and style is used with a rough Batik technique so kids can learn about a talented artist and a traditional art form in one go!
In the old days, batik was used in the clothes of royalty, and there were many motifs that were only allowed to be used by the ruling class. In fact, the courts in Java even issued decrees prescribing certain motifs for royals and others for commoners. We’ll go the common route by using toothpaste to create our projects, as shown by P L Brown!
Although Java is considered the home of batik, every part of Indonesia has their own style of the art. Most of these come under either inland batik or coastal batik, which was used for royals and regular people, respectively. Coastal batik generally uses more colors but less detailed patterns than inland batik. If you’d like to try your hand at some simple batik art projects, check out this one from Kenarry.
Batik was originally composed of dots and stripes, but these soon developed into detailed motifs that had symbolic meanings. There are special batik motifs for newborn babies, for brides and grooms, for Moms-to-be and even for the dead. If you don’t want to get into all that, you can try out some love motifs, as shown in Capturing Parenthood!
In the early days, Batik was the domain of Javanese women. It was their expertise as well as their way of earning an income. Soon however, as newer techniques developed to make Batik faster, men entered the arena, and batik grew into a bustling industry, which is a major contributor to Indonesia’s economy today. If you think you’re ready to try out your own batik art projects, Artful Parent has some inspiration for you!
In reality, the actual origin of batik is not known. It is believed to have been used in the Middle East, Egypt, Eastern Europe, India, China as well as Japan as many as 2000 years ago. However, batik reached its true artistic high in Indonesia, which is why it is so dear to the country. Thanks to batik art projects like this one from by I Can Teach My Child, you can make batik wherever in the world you are!
While Batik is considered a traditional Indonesian art form, it is also popular in neighboring countries, like Malaysia and Singapore. Their techniques are different, although the art is just as special. In fact, batik is used in the uniforms of flight attendants of various airlines like Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Garuda Indonesia. If you’d like to wear batik too, we recommend trying these t-shirt batik art projects from Kid World Citizen!
Batik is an integral part of many important Indonesian rituals, like the Labuhan ceremony which commemorates the coronation of the new Sultan. During this ceremony, offerings are made to the South Sea, the Mount Merapi and Mount Lawu. The offerings include flowers, batik and a lock of the Sultan’s hair, and the ceremony is meant to symbolize the bond between humans, nature and the Creator. We love how Artsy Karma brings this to life by using floral batik prints on these prayer flags.
Batik is traditionally a fabric art, but today it is used on a variety of surfaces, including wood, paper, leather and ceramics. Even when fabric is used, it can be applied on various materials like cotton, linen, silk or rayon. Babble Dabble Do shows us how to batik plain cotton canvas bags – you’ll be the talk of the town when you tote these around!
We know that Indonesian batik has motif so various kinds, and many of these are inspired by other cultures and religions like Chinese, Japanese, Hindu-Buddhist, Islamic and even European. That Artist Woman brings an Indian touch to batik with this peacock batik art.
13. Crayon Batik Art
You’ve seen batik art projects using glue and toothpaste, now Suzy’s Artsy Craftsy Sitcom shows us how to use crayons to make batik! We love these colorful houses and think they’d look great as a wall hanging.
Soeharto, Indonesia’s second President, was the one who made batik popular on an international level, gifting it to visiting diplomats. Since then, batik has been sported by celebrities across the world, like Nelson Mandela, Kate Middleton, Jessica Alba and Heidi Klum. It has also been used in the creations of fashion designers like Burberry, Nicole Miller and Diane von Furstenberg. Art is Basic shows us that we can also make our own custom designs, featuring our pets, for instance!
All Our Days has a wonderful batik art project that helps us upcycle boring cloth napkins into something wonderful! Batik products need to be treated with care, and handwashing is recommended, with a mild detergent. It should be dried in the shade and ironed using minimum heat. Good care will make the fabric last for a long time.
I’m sure these batik art projects have given you lots of ideas for upcycling some of your old things, like t-shirts, bags or cushions. These projects would also be great for Malaysia Day on 31st August or Singapore Day on 9th August. If you enjoyed these, you may also like this abstract painting on a pillow or this DIY cherry blossom art on jeans. Along with some DIY jewelry, you can create your very own bespoke outfit!