Friday, May 11, 2012

Trying to Dye Cheesecloth

I recently saw on Judy Cooper's site that she was trying to dye some fabric and cheesecloth a gray colour to use as rocks in her fabric art quilts.  Immediately, it came to mind that I could try the same thing, but in a red iron oxide colour to match our cliffs. (Cape Turner in the Cavendish National Park)

I do not have fabric dye but have acrylic paints in the red iron oxide colour needed to match the cliff colour.  So I just added a bit of water to the paint and threw in my cheesecloth.

This is what the cheesecloth looked like wet.
It looked a tiny bit different dry!  I hate to admit to leaving the cheesecloth in the wet paint mixture for 2 days but I did and as you can see the colour did not take well.  A friend told me to heat set it and add back to the paint and it will darken but I wasn't so sure of this. 
I think perhaps it's time to get some fabric dye.  From what I have read in most blogs, Procion MX Dyes seem to be the dye of choice.   What I am not thrilled about though, is the reference to needing a mask during the process and rubber gloves.  If  the mask and gloves are because the paint is toxic, well, maybe I won't be able to dye.  I live out in the country and we use our clean well water for drinking and every day use. I hate the thought of using something that might poison my environment.  So, as I said, I will have to do some research.  As I type this, I wonder how safe the acrylic paint was that I had to dump outside?  

In any case, though you may not have learned what you thought you were going to learn from reading this post,  you certainly learned what NOT to do.

Judy Cooper mentioned a book that she referenced each time she dyed and I think perhaps its a good idea for me to pick it. 

Spring is definitely here and the farmers are in their fields planting grains.  A few fields of freshly planted potatoes have been seen as well.  Its looking lovely out there!
This next photo is an old fishing barn on the wharf of the French River Harbour.  I can't imagine how old it might be but I'm sure its feeling every year of its existence as it's spine is well worn and bent.

Hope you find time to enjoy your art and what is around you.


  1. On the photo of your dyed cheese cloth the color seems to be perfectly matching the wonderful red cliffs. And they say the Procion XP once mixed with water is no more poisonous, it is just the dust of color which could harm you.

  2. Thank you so much Anneliese! From what I read, the dust did seem to be dangerous but I wasn't sure about the dye itself!

  3. The mask is because the dye in powder form can be inhaled and you might develop an allergy. I don't think it's toxic in the water system.