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Washable Gel Glue Resist Batik

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Washable gel glue resist is a super simple way to create a neat effect on your fabric. The glue prevents the dye from sticking to the fabric so those areas will stay the original fabric color. Since the glue washes right out it makes cleaning it up super easy!

This isn’t a method for crisp, clean lines and corners. You’ll end up with wavy, rounded, free-flowing lines.


  • Design
  • Pre-washed cotton fabric or clothing
  • Wax paper
  • Washable gel glue (I’ve heard plain old white doesn’t work as well)
  • Protective gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Dyes
  • Urea
  • Soda ash

Start by printing off your design. You’ll want something with thick, flowy lines (glue doesn’t do dainty). I opted to go with this simple geometric dot pattern that I designed on my computer. I had to tape two sheets together to make the pattern wide enough to fit the whole front.

Two sheets of printed geometric dots taped together

Place your design under the wax paper and tuck them both inside your shirt (or under your fabric). The wax paper will keep the glue from gluing your fabric to your paper or leaking through to the other side. You’ll still be able to see your design though the fabric.

Shirt over wax paper which is over the printed design
The pattern is still visible under the shirt and wax paper.

Then simply trace your design with glue. For my dots, I simply squeezed larger or smaller globs of glue (depending on circle size) and let the glue soak into the shirt. The glue does spread, so try not to squeeze out too much in one spot or you’ll end up with blobby spots. Mine didn’t make perfect circles but it’s close enough.

Wet glue on tank top over pattern
You can see the wet glue sometimes spread a bit beyond the pattern.

Let it fully dry. I left mine overnight.

Prepare the dye using the bottle dyeing method detailed here. Apply the dye as desired over the glue.

The dots didn’t stay completely white but I still like the way it turned out. Next week I’ll be showing you how I made this pretty purple gradient, so check back! (Edit: it’s up! Check out how I dyed the gradient on this shirt!)

Tank top with purple gradient and rows of white dots through the center

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