Friday, December 4, 2009

Spraying cheesecloth with dye

I wish I had taken more pictures because this was fun. In a nutshell:

You will need cheesecloth, several colors of dye in spray bottles, a bowl of water, and something to protect your work area, like a drop cloth.

  • Unroll package of cheesecloth from cardboard.
  • Do not unfold, leave it folded into multiple layers as it comes off the cardboard.
  • Cut into sections approximately 12" long.
  • Dip a section of cheesecloth into the water and wring it out.
  • Lay it on the dropcloth. You can lay it flat or wad it up into a ball.
  • Spray with your choice of dye colors.
  • At this point I took the dyed piece outside and spread it on a bush to dry.
  • After they were dry, I unfolded the cheesecloth to a single layer, which I will use for mixed media projects.
  1. Don't be put off by having to put the dyes in spray bottles. Get some little spray bottles from a craft store and mix about 1/2 c. of each color that you want. I put the dry dye in the bottle using a funnel, added warm water, and shook it up. It was easy and I mixed about 10 colors in less than 15 minutes.
  2. If I were doing this for crazy quilting, I would use what I think is called scrim. It's like cheesecloth, but much heavier.
  3. I used Dylon dyes from England because they do not require soda ash. The colors were not as brilliant as I had hoped. I don't know if I didn't use the dyes correctly or if they just won't give the results I want. I would like to try this with procion mx dyes and see if I get better results.


  1. This is beautiful! I've done something similar with spray dyes on watercolor paper. I laid the paper on my front lawn, hosed it down with water, then played around with my sprays.
    I've got to try it on cloth... what about muslin? Do you have to heat set it or something? I never tried to use fabric dyes. How about Rit?

  2. There are lots of ways to do it on fabric. I have laid out pieces of fabric (muslin works great) on a drop cloth or the lawn, then sprayed it with dyes. It's a good time to spatter it if you want to do that. I have also spread out some plastic and slopped paints on it, then laid damp fabric on top of that. Or I just paint right on the fabric with a brush or squoosh the paint around with a credit card. Most dyes or fabric paints require heat setting; depends on the product. I have never used Rit; I think if you want intense colors you have to use something like Procion dyes. Have fun!