Friday, October 1, 2010

BaTIKI Totems

Yes, this is a play on words: tiki and batik. It's a word I invented--BaTIKI. I know, I'm clever like that. I laughed when I told the kids about it...they weren't amused. Maybe if I used the word "butt" they'd laugh harder. Har har.

You will need:
white 9x12 paper
photocopies of examples of tiki totems
crayons (namely red, orange, yellow, different browns, and black)
black tempera
sink, blotting paper towels
paper for mounting tikis when dry

The batik process is a Polynesian/Indonesian art form usually done on fabric with painted hot wax and fabric dye. OBVIOUSLY this was not a choice for us. The method of using crayon works just as well!

Procedure (this took 2-3 days):

Give students a handout with different tikis on it. They were NOT allowed to copy all the elements of one tiki, they had to pick and choose from different tikis, or make up their own features. This gave them each the "unique-y tiki" I wanted from them. *No, they did not find my "unique-y tiki" funny, either. After drawing in pencil, they traced the pencil with black crayon and pressed HARD with it. The harder they press, the more it "pops" and the better it looks!

Color the tiki in using crayon. I gave them a limited pallette of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. They were to press HARD again with the crayon. This will become very important once they get to the batik step.

After they are finished with their coloring they were to roll and crunch their paper 6-8 times. They were VERY careful and considerate of their artwork as to not tear it. This causes the wax from the crayons to crack, exposing small crackles in their tikis. This is a good thing!
Using black tempera paint, paint OVER the tiki. Yes, make the entire tiki black! When finished, rinse the black tempera off and what is left over is the black tempera which sticks into the cracked areas of the wax.
Blot off the paper. Allow to dry.

We mounted these on a light, torn 12x18 sheet of brown paper which was then mounted on a 12x18 sheet of darker brown paper. This really gave it a rustic, finished look. The kids loved them and so do I! Hope you do too!

Happy tiki time!


  1. Love these! I make sculpey "Tiki" pens with my older students. These are awesome!

  2. I REALLY want to try this! It looks great!

  3. How do you rinse the black off? Under the tap? That's hat the photo looks doesn't ruin the paper?

  4. I love the tikis. I use this crayon batik method, but we rub on shoe polish instead and then buff. It works great, and no need to wash off. :D

  5. We had to do this! I work at a school in Denmark called Kon-Tiki,named after Thor Heyerdahls boat. We have a Kon-tiki mask as logo, so this lesson will be perfect to do. I havent seen this technique before. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    1. We have to do this - not had to. Of course. ;-)