Thanks to Phyl at There's a Dragon in my Art room. She gave me the great idea of using Batik to explore shapes and color with my fifth grade students. The best secret is the recipe!  No messy, scary's TOOTHPASTE and LOTION! Seriously who would have thought? 

I have seven sections of fifth grade students (about 200 kiddos). I purchased 10 yards of muslin at Joanns (with coupon) and 5 bottles of the cheap dollar store aloe vera lotion along with at least 40 tubes of white toothpaste.  The dollar store employees think I take my dental hygiene to a crazy level.I used old ketchup containers to mix the recipe half and half. Shake well.  

The students studied shapes, overlapping, composition and using rulers and cardboard came up with a nice geometric composition on paper.  Miro, Stuart Davis, Mondrian would be good exemplars to use. The paper was taped to a piece of cardboard then a small piece of muslin wrapped around the cardboard, kinda like a present. The students can see through the fabric to their design. It's a good idea to use a sharpy on their paper design to make seeing the design through the fabric easier. 

The students then squeeze out the lotion/toothpaste mix on their lines and let it dry for 24 hours. NOTE. dry flat or the mix may run and drip. When it's dry the students can paint right on the fabric, over the lines. KEY you MUST use good quality tempera paint!!! I used Crayolas Premier paint. If you try regular tempera it will just wash off.  When the paint is dry the student washes off the toothpaste recipe.  This part is still developing, I found if you wet the work and let the water do its magic on the toothpaste and then rub, it comes off easier. Students may get a little zealous and then wash off too much paint.  

I love the idea of doing this in the late spring to keep the upper el focused and it helps make the room smell great for weeks! 
Thanks Phyl!


  1. WOW! So can you give us the exact formula? How much did you make, etc. I can't wait to try this!!!

  2. Kristin
    10 yards of 120" fabric
    5 bottles aloe vera lotion
    20 tubes of pepsident
    (mix 50/50) you want it to be like able to squeeze but not run.

    I took a picture of the bottles I used and will post when I get home.
    Really a fun, favorite lesson!

  3. Your results look great! Hope the kids enjoyed the process! One of my posts on this is my most viewed post ever - I think due to it being plastered all over Pinterest.

    If I had the opportunity to do this again (as a retiree, you never know), I think I would solicit local dentists for toothpaste donations and ask if perhaps they might be interested in displaying the student work when complete.

  4. I don't know how I missed this on Phyl's site but I'm glad I spotted it on yours. Great instructions and it does sound pain free. I'll add this to my list of must do projects for spring!

  5. I love when blogs post their most visited blog post. There are so many great lessons on the web and it helps focus to what is often a unique lesson. I haven't figured out how to do that here but I can tell you that my biggest blog post for visitors is the Twitter page and then clay lessons in general.

  6. What a great idea! And loving the internet collaboration too!
    Been lovin' your blog for a while so I thought I'd nominate you for a Liebster Award. Please visit my blog at to see what to do next.


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