Glue Batik Wall Hanging: Sewing with Kids

So, two things: first, I can’t find my back-up camera charger.  I bought it to replace my actual camera charger, which I had misplaced.  Eventually, the original charger showed back up, but then the spare went missing.  Then the spare showed up, but we packed to move.  So now, I have two chargers, but can’t find either, because apparently they’re in one of the two dozen boxes that we have not yet found time to unpack.  Which explains why these photos were taken with my phone.

Second, the Sewing with Kids series has been on semi-hiatus, ever since we sold our house and moved to the rental where we lived for six months before buying our current home.  But I am even now planning NEW Sewing with Kids lessons, to debut after Spring Break (which around here coincides with Easter Week this year).  Stay tuned!

And all that brings us to today’s project: I’m working on a school auction project this year for our son’s class.  I end up doing a lot of these each year, but most years in the past, I’ve primarily been in charge of securing the fabric for the project, and the other mommies have taken on the bulk of the actual work.  Which is awesome.  This year, though, we really (REALLY) love our son’s teacher, and have just learned that she’ll be leaving at the end of the year to move out of state, and I wanted to do something more for her and the class.  So I’m on point for the Glue Batik Wall Hanging they’re creating–it’s a 2-to-5-year-old class of 24 kids, all of them contributing to the quilt.

When she first came to me with the idea, our son’s teacher sent me this link, which she found through Ellen at The Long Thread.  I told her, “Actually, I know Ellen, like, IRL and stuff.”  I can’t be sure, but I think his teacher was suitably impressed.  The project is pretty simple, and involves tracing a shape in glue on fabric, then painting over it, and then washing out the glue to make a “batik” look.  Then the squares get sewn together into a wall hanging.  (Ellen is doing glue batik for her kids again this year, too, and has made the wise choice to limit the color palette–note that she points out the dyes dry lighter, so making them saturated makes for a bolder finished product.)

The biggest challenge, really, has just been the trimming. I haven’t traditionally been someone who always, always took the time and care to trim each block before I assemble the final quilt top, but a lot of these pieces had gotten skewed and un-square (is that a word?) as the children worked with them, so trimming was an absolute necessity.  Thankless work, but had to be done.

Right now, I’m at the sewing-together phase.  Bless his teacher and her two classroom assistants, they did all the glueing and dyeing without me being there, so all I have left is to assemble the final pieces.  I can tell you that our boy loooooved making his square, and will tell anyone within 60+ square miles which one he did, super proudly.  (Note: this photo is not his.  He’s three.  His is mostly blobs, but we still think it’s the best one there.)

I’m off to find the perfect green fabric for the insets and border, and then we’re heading to the finish line, just in time.  Anyone else ever make one of these and have a suggestion for the best way to secure it?  I’m feeling like tying is the way to go, but want to be sure I choose something to really set off the work the children have done.

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  • Ellen
    February 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Hi Deborah! Just saw the trackback from this post. Guess what? I’m doing glue batik again with kids this year. Wasn’t really my intention, but that’s how it goes. Here’s a link —

    • Deborah
      February 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Hee! Oh, how funny… I think I would have loved the whole thing more if I’d been in the classroom for part of the glueing part–but I think they chose wisely not to invite me, as my patience with a roomful of 2-to-5-year-olds is likely short. Love your limited palette, and agree with you about the colors fading a bit–the oranges here are making me work kinda hard.

  • Belinda
    February 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Oh goodness, I’ve done so many similar projects over the years. Wish I had seen this idea back in the day – it’s so much better than the crayon quilt one teacher insisted on!
    I’m not a fan of tied quilts – looks like the blocks are smallish so I would likely quilt in the ditch (or close to the seam in the sashing) around each block.
    It will be lovely no matter how you choose to do it 🙂

    • Deborah
      February 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      I like the stitch-the-ditch idea. I suspect the teacher will lean toward tying, and that’s what I see the most on these types of projects, but I really want it to be done well and to last–your suggestion is probably most likely to achieve that. Thanks, B!

  • Rae
    February 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    So what I HEAR you saying is that Ellen is completely to blame for all the class-auction-work you got dumped on you this year. Right? 😉

  • Laura Brown
    March 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I don’t know what tying is in quilting; I’m new to this world. I have a quilt I want to make, and this might be a great way to add to it. I have my wedding dress, my mother’s wedding dress, and a couple of dresses from my grandmothers. I wanted to do a memory quilt for my daughter, and think I might still do just that and then a batik quilt for my son (and let him help – he’s 5, she’s 18 months). Then they’d both have a quilt for growing in to, and each one would be extra special.

    • Deborah
      March 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      I think I’m going to take Belinda’s advice and stitch the ditch–I don’t tie quilts very often (I’ve only done it once!), and I think she’s right that stitching the ditch will create a better look. But I love the idea of using this glue resist technique for a memory quilt–how lovely!

      • Bobbie Ryan
        July 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm

        ~~ Well I don’t know anything about quilting…sooo…what is stitch the ditch????

  • Belinda
    March 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Laura, the Wedding Dress memory quilt sounds lovey! Since you also have a boy to make one for though I would share one I’m making. I’m making one with my husband’s fathers ties, some of my husbands ties & shirts & hopefully, my son’s very first tie. My father-in-law was a salesman & his ties are all very “unstaid”, my husband is a business consultant so his ties are much more traditional. Should make for a very interesting & much loved quilt 🙂 I wish I had some of my father-in-law’s shirts to add to the mix.
    Anyway, just wanted to share that idea with you in case you want to consider an alternative to the glue resist memory quilt which would also be awesome.

  • Libby
    March 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I’m so thrilled to have found your site! I’m going to be in Atlanta the last week of March so between Margaret Mitchell’s house and a civil war cemetery I will be stopping in to shop! I hope you’ll be open then (would be my luck that would be the one week you’d close the shop).

    BTW love the advent calendar gives me an idea for mine.

    • Deborah
      March 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Happy to have you, and thanks so much for reading! We’ll be open every day except Thursday that week, so we’d love it if you stop by. Safe travels! 🙂