Big B's preschool is presently teaching a unit on Africa. Mimi went to South Africa last summer. To four-year-olds, this makes me an expert on the subject. So on Wednesday, I gathered up all of the beautiful things Mimi brought us from her trip. In my bag of goodies were handcarved toys, an African coloring book, a map of South Africa, and photos of the African animals Mimi saw. I threw in some embellishments too: a Sweet Honey in the Rock CD, a childrens' song in Afrikaans, and some African instruments. When I walked into Big B's classroom, I could feel his excitement as I sat at his level, absorbing his gigantic grin.My favorite gift that Mimi brought back was a hand dyed batik painting. I have always wanted to try this technique, and with this kid-friendly tutorial, I decided to give Big B's class a shot at creating some inspired art. I was amazed. Eighteen children and three bottles of glue resulted in a perfectly well balanced and beautifully proportioned composition.After the glue dried overnight, I gathered the necessary supplies to add color to our masterpiece. When I picked Big B up from school yesterday, everything was ready for him.We used nine warm colors of acrylic craft paint, watered way down, in squirt and spray bottles. Big B loved this. I did too--it's really foolproof. If you remember to keep something absorbent under your fabric, no amount of paint is too much, and spills clean up very easily.
When we were finished, we hung it out to dry on the monkey bars.To remove the glue, we soaked the bright fabric (formerly boring white muslin) in hot water for half an hour.We used a nail brush to remove any stubborn globs. (By the way, the blue gel kind of glue is the way to go here; it worked like a charm. I've done mock tie dye with white glue, and with any thickness at all, it's almost impossible to wash off.)
After drying our cleaned up fabric with a hair dryer, we are left with a gorgeous, vibrant, inspired community art project.