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Get creative!

Dating back years, Batik Art (also known as Starch Resist Fabric Painting), is a great DIY craft project that’s ideal for all kids, but especially those who struggle with concentration. It’s also a brilliant way for everybody to get involved and to bond, not just over glue, but over some good colourful fun.

Keen to learn the ins and outs of it, we chatted to Karin Salkow and Kerry Katz – the power-house team behind Purple Cherry – a free YouTube channel (https://bit.ly/3dGyeGp) launched during lockdown to give children (and adults) something positive and meaningful to do while stuck at home.

With qualifications in textile design, lecturing in design and teaching English and Art, Kerry counsels children who self-harm and has recently attained a diploma in child psychology. She home-schools her son and, together with her 18-year-old daughter, runs a craft shop supporting local creatives. Karin is a qualified draughtsman and computer programmer with a background in civil engineering and art (that has sold world-wide and won international prizes). She is now a freelance draughtsman and online teacher. Passionate about creating a platform to develop little entrepreneurs, they have put a lot of time, effort and love into Purple Cherry.

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‘We believe it’s necessary for kids to be creative, even if they don’t think they can draw. We can teach them! Art can help develop creative thinking patterns that help with maths, languages and problem-solving and it can also help tremendously in dealing with anxiety and depression – it is not about the end result and creating a lovely piece of art, it’s about the process. This way kids are also encouraged to can make products to sell and learn the skills they’ll need as adults, and the best part is that our channel is totally free, and we all love free stuff!’


Here’s their step-by-step guide for Glue Batik or Starch Resist Fabric Painting…

You’ll need:

Fabric (cotton, denim, linen – any non-synthetic material)
Mixing bowl or jug
Fork or whisk
Empty squeezy bottle (like a tomato sauce bottle)
Fabric or craft paints
Paint brush

What to do

Lay out your fabric on a sheet of plastic. Make sure the fabric is not creased (ask an adult for help with the iron).

In a small mixing bowl or jug, mix a cup of flour with just enough water to turn it into a runny paste (slightly thicker than tomato sauce). If it’s too thick, add a little water and if it’s too thin, sprinkle in some more flour. Mix with a fork or whisk until there are no lumps.

Pour the starch paste into a squeezy bottle with a thin nozzle. Close the bottle and give it a good shake.

Use your squeezy bottle to draw on the fabric. Do any pattern or picture you want to.  Keep it simple and don’t add too much detail.

Allow your starch picture to dry for 48 hours. Leave it in a safe place so your cat doesn’t walk over it!

Lift your fabric design and gently crack the starch lines, without allowing it to break off. This will add an interesting crackled effect when the paint goes between the cracks. Place it back on the plastic sheet.

Use fabric paint or good quality craft paint to paint your design. Don’t worry about messing paint on the starch lines because they will be peeled off when the paint is dry. Make sure you spread the paint thinly and that it looks smooth. Don’t leave any lumps.

Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours. Then pick off the starch outlines. Don’t use your nails. Use one hand under the fabric and the other hand to lift the starch off with the side of your thumb.

Make sure all of the tiny bits of starch are gone. Ask an adult to iron your design from the back. Never iron over the top of fabric painting as it will bubble and burn and destroy your mom’s iron.

Decide what to do with your fabric square. You could put it in a frame, sew it into a bag or cushion, or make lots of squares to sew together into a creative throw for your bed.

Tip: Starch resist can be done on anything made of fabric. Why not try it on a light-coloured T-shirt?

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