How to Make Batik Style Prayer Flags Using Glue

5 Materials
2 Days

Did you all know you can give fabric the look of batik using gel glue?!There are a lot of reasons why I really like this project...

  • I love decor that hangs down from somewhere - knick knacks would just become part of the mess that is my house (kids….and a little me.)
  • I’m into folk art right now.
  • While they're not traditional tibetan prayer flags, I can send a prayer to the world every time I watch them catch a breeze.
  • I got to try the faux batik technique using glue!!
Step 1:

Cut your linen to the size you want your flags to be. I did not worry about cutting particularly straight or if the linen frayed at all. Traditionally, prayer flags are meant to fray as a way to acknowledge all things are impermanent.

Step 2:

Decide what design you’re going to make. Use a water soluble pencil or disappearing ink pen to draw your design on the flag.You could use a light box or a tablet to trace the design. You should actually be able to see a printed design under your piece of linen without a light source.

Step 3:

Grab your gel glue (I started off using the generic brand from the dollar store.)Start slowly and mindfully tracing your design with the glue. Read the next tip before getting too far.

You‘re going to notice pretty quick that the glue will pull away and group together leaving blank spots in your design.

Step 4:

Take the end of a paintbrush or something like it and pull the gathered glue where it’s missing on your design:

Step 5:

Let the glue dry.

Step 6 and 7:

Mix your acrylic paints with a textile medium.Start painting your flag with the acrylic mixture.

You can paint into and over the glue. Those spaces will still be white when you remove the glue.

Step 8:

Fill your sink or a tub with hot water and soak your flags for at least 30 minutes so the glue loosens..

Step 9:

Rub the glue parts with your fingers after you’ve soaked it. The glue should start coming off.

Step 10:

Lay your flag out to dry.

Make as many as you want to put on a string of them.

Step 11:

Once you have the number you want, pin them together for sewing to a length of ribbon.

Step 12:

Sew them together.I chose to use my sewing machine. But you can hand stitch if you prefer.

I used a fancy stitch on my sewing machine.

And tada!Aren't those awesome!Hang them inside or outside and let everyone admire you’re work 😃.

Resources for this project:

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Gilmer Gal Gilmer Gal on Jul 07, 2020

    I want to do this! So nice! How would you clean these flags? Will they fade and smear?

  • Marcia Marcia on Jul 09, 2020

    Does this have to be made on linen fabric ? Can i use a bed sheet?

  • Mcgypsy9 Mcgypsy9 on Jun 26, 2021

    These are just gorgeous! To me they seem to convey freedom. Did you have some sort of a pattern you followed? If so can you share that? Also, how much textile medium and gel glue were needed for this project? Thank you and I can’t wait to try this!


Join the conversation

2 of 29 comments
  • Eva Weaver Eva Weaver on Jun 26, 2021

    These would also make pretty pillows or a quilt

  • Dlindxoxo Dlindxoxo on Aug 05, 2021

    I was inspired by your beautiful flags so I tried it myself! I used old tea towels that were stuffed in my kitchen towel drawer for the last ten years. I plan to use the edges that I cut off of the towels for the string to hang them with. I found that the glue was difficult to wash out by hand. I didn’t use the clothes washer because I read that the strings coming off the edges would get tangled. Same with the clothes dryer. So, having a fair amount of glue still left in them, I would recommend hanging them to dry instead of flat drying as they will stick to anything they’re laid on. I heat set them using another tea towel and an iron instead of the dryer. I used Elmer’s school glue gel, Apple Barrel acrylic paints and Folk Art textile medium. Thanks for the inspiration! I love them!