Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June's Tart Kit: Dyeing Cheesecloth

This month our Tart kit involves dyeing cotton cheese cloth with RIT dye.  You can also try painting it with transparent paints or dyeing it with Procion dyes. We like the cheese cloth for its wonderful texture; you can see the texture as well as feel it.  

Mix the RIT dye according to the directions on the package. If you use all the dye for the little bit of cheese cloth included in the kit, it will be really, really intense, so experiment with the value. Or try mixing the colors in varying proportions to see what color you might get. For our examples, we used very hot water and about a 10 minute soak time.

The cheese cloth can be batch dyed by immersing the entire piece into one color pot until it becomes the color you like.

Or you can put opposite ends into two colors and let them wick up into each other. We found that we were impatient and helped the color move along with spoons.

Or you can dip one end in one color for a time, squeeze out the excess moisture, and dip the other end into a second color. When the cheesecloth is the intensity you desire, rinse the excess dye out and let it air dry.

You can also dye the cheese cloth by painting it with the dye and the foam paintbrush. Try pouring the colors in different areas of the cloth and letting the dyes run together. This procedure will done with the cheese cloth flat - either stretched out or crumpled. Be sure you protect your surface. We used a tray to catch the liquid. While you're at it, dye another piece of cloth such as PFD cotton, or over dye a hand dye or commercial fabric. Let the piece dry and set. Rinse with warm water and air dry.

When the cheesecloth is dry you can deconstruct it by pulling on the threads or poking holes through it. Fray the edges or slash small areas with a seam ripper or scissors.


We included a small bottle of Elmer's glue so that you can create shapes or dimension to the cheese cloth by dipping it in diluted glue. Be careful that you don't glue it to paper or wood!

The cheese cloth can be machine or hand stitched to the surface of your quilt. Misty Fuse allows you to keep the transparency of the cheese cloth if you want to fuse it. Experiment with the dyes and see what fabulous "cloth" you can make.