How to create a faux batik effect


Hero shot showing title "How to create faux batik on rice paper". Close up image in background of finished paper
Close up image showing the completed faux batik effect.

Hello! My art friends like to call me the Queen of Texture (AKA The Texture Queen). That’s because I’m always trying to create the most texture possible in my art works. To help develop my skills, I try to devote at least one evening a week to experiment with our products, to see what effects I can create (which also happen to be known as the occasional happy accidents, ha ha!).

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

Recently, I gifted myself some absolutely gorgeous hand made rice papers from Japan. These papers are so amazing to work with as most of them are created using mostly natural fibers which gives them some incredible texture, including some that have leaves, petals, grasses, and more embedded within them. Just take a look at this beauty in the following image; since I’m such a nature and texture lover, these hand made rice papers with embedded textures are just perfect for me!

Close up image of a piece of Japanese rice paper, hand torn, showing leaf fragments and fibers embedded within the hand made paper.
Close up image of Japanese rice paper containing leaf fragments and fibers.

These rice papers also happen to be super absorbent due to the natural materials such as the rice, cotton, and grasses that they are made from. With these embedded textures, this can create some amazing and sometimes unpredictable effects when working with water based products, because each of the elements absorbs the colors and water in differing intensities.

For this project, I had a piece of paper with small grasses and flower fragments embedded into it which I had been dying to try. In my experimentation nights, I like to play the “what if” game; what if I tried this, or that. What would happen if I… and so on. On other nights, I find a photo or a reference image of a texture and I attempt to replicate it as close as possible with the materials I have on hand. This practice pushes me out of my comfort zone, and puts me in the position of taking a lot of risks and creating a lot of failures, however every once in a while I hit the texture jackpot, where something works out better than I could have imagined. This is one of them!

I also like to try ‘new to me’ supplies on these nights, which means I try to release all expectation on myself to ‘get it right or perfect’ and just ‘let it go, let it flow’ to see what happens. The pale purple tape I used here is a new to me product, it’s called “delicate surface tape”, which is less adhesive than the blue painter’s tape I traditionally use. This is important for this project because rice paper can be somewhat delicate due to the natural fibers, and even more so when wet. I loved using this tape, and will likely switch to using it full time as it’s so easy to remove and doesn’t tear the paper.

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TCW2301 Harlequin Slimline stencil with delicate surface tape on Japanese rice paper.

I’ll be honest, I’m really not a card maker, but I have these slimline card stencils that I really wanted to try. In my “what if” game, I decided to test if our TCW9006 Gel Medium Gloss finish would act as a water resist on the rice paper when it was dry. I decided to conduct the experiment using a simple, repetitive pattern stencil and so I chose to use our TCW2301 Harlequin Slimline stencil. I used my catalyst blade to apply the gloss gel medium to the rice paper in a thin, even layer, then I removed the stencil and dried the gloss gel medium using my heat gun.

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I used my Catalyst Blade to apply the gloss gel medium through the stencil.

I then spritzed the rice paper with some water, and dropped some diluted ColorSparx powders onto it to see what would happen. It failed the resist experiment fabulously, but it sure did look pretty, so I saved it for collage paper to use later. I then wondered what would happen if I applied the gloss gel medium to both the front and the back of the paper using the stencil (which I had to line up exactly)? Again, I applied the gloss gel medium, removed the stencil, then dried it with my heat gun, I repeated this process on the back side. Then I spritzed it with water and dropped the color in. This time it worked fabulously!

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Yes! It worked when I used the gloss gel medium on both sides. Still wet, here…

But the best part? When it was dry, I held it up to the light, and it GLOWS just like stained glass or a lamp shade with a light on behind it. (See the top photo!) Just think of the possibilities! Now, it’s YOUR turn to try something new to you! Until next time, happy experimenting and happy day.

If you’d like to watch a quick fly-by video (45 seconds), which includes a variation on the theme, please hop on over to my YouTube Channel: Teal Hare Creations.

By Michaela Butterworth

Mixed media artist and teacher. Owner of Teal Hare Creations studio. TCW International Design Team 2020-21.

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