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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cheesecloth! How to dye cheesecloth

I'm getting ready to do a newborn baby shoot in a few weeks, and I want to be ready!  I've been researching all the cute newborn shoots of photographers.  Everyone has the same idea:  beanbags, up close, capture those tiny fingers & toes, use fluffy blankets, scarfs, egg baskets, baskets of all shapes & sizes.... and the list goes on and on and on. 

I've been dying to try out the cheesecloth look for newborns.  Since I don't have a picture of my own yet to share, I can't share other people's images. 

I searched high and low for tutorials for cheesecloth -- but couldn't find anything.  Just some stuff on forums, so if there is anyone else out there like me who is searching for things about cheesecloth... here you go!  This is what I learned!

I bought several packages of cheesecloth at Bed Bath & Beyond for $3.99.  I had a $5 coupon off if I spent $15, so I bought 4 packages.  I knew I wanted to dye at least two packages.  One in hot pink, and another in denim blue.  (you can also use four 20% off BB&B coupons for each package if you don't have a $5 off coupon!)

So, this morning I set out to dye with the hot pink.  I've never dyed before, so this is ALL new to me!  I only had one piece of cheesecloth to dye, which is approximately 36" x 36".  I washed all four cheesecloths in the washer on my delicate cycle on cold water.  This is where I made my first mistake.  If you can, wash them individually.  Or, put each piece in a lingerie/nylon bag.  Three of my cheesecloths were intertwined with each other!!!  What a headache!

Like I said ... A HEADACHE!!!

After I got them all separated (had to cut some of them on the edges b/c I couldn't unravel them), I added 2 cups of boiling hot water to a sand bucket along with the dye, 1 cup of salt, and 1 tbsp of laundry detergent.  Stir.  Make SURE you are wearing gloves!!  I wore the disposable gloves...  Then, I did mistake #2.  I added my wet cheesecloth (you want to make sure it's wet first before you add it).  Now, this wasn't the mistake... I just didn't read my directions further on down the box (thought the entire box was written in a different language) -- but I was supposed to add a gallon of hot water for each pound of fabric.  Oops.  By the time I caught my mistake, my cheesecloth had been sitting in the dye for 20 minutes or so.  So I added more hot water, and let it sit for about 5 - 10 more minutes. 

After I let it sit a little longer, I took it out and ran warm water through it until it the dye came out, and gradually added cold water. 

Next, the directions instructed me to wash the fabric with mild detergent. Wash it in the washing machine? Wash it by hand? I had no clue. I'm one of those people who need step by step directions telling me EXACTLY where to go and what to do. I did remember seeing some ebay listings of people selling dyed cheesecloths telling people to wash by hand and line dry. So, I decided to wash by hand in my kitchen sink.  Added some warm water, some dish detergent and washed it by hand for about 5 minutes. Then rinse with warm water -- then with cold.


Wring it out ... and I was amazed at the color! LOVE IT!  I am letting it air dry -- but I already love the hot pink color, and can't wait to use it on the baby girls I'm shooting this year!


Hope this helps SOMEBODY! :)


  1. Can't wait to see the newborn shoots!

  2. LOVE THIS! bring some when our babe comes :)

  3. LOVE THIS! bring some when our babe comes :)

  4. Great tips AND gorgeous outcome! I might need to take a stab at this too.

  5. I don't know how I found this post but THANK GOD I did! I was planning to dye some cheesecloth this weekend and was just going to throw them all in the washing machine together! Thanks for all these tips :)

  6. Great post!! Thank you! I am also a "tell me EXACTLY what to do and how" girl. Thanks for sharing your experience!!!!

  7. Thank you for this post... I have been thinking of dying cheesecloth and was nervous. But your story has given me faith that even if I mess up it may just work :)
    Erin Dickson

  8. Are you using food coloring you said and how much of the food coloring did you use?? Thanks again. I've never dyed before either and have been putting it off. I bought a box of the RiT dye for another project but I guess food coloring would be way cheaper and cheesecloth is thin.

  9. I did not use food coloring .. I did use a box of RIT dye for this project! If you try the food coloring, let me know how it turns out! I agree, it would be a lot cheaper! However, I do like the color options that RIT dyes have to offer.

  10. I love that color...what combo of dye colors did you use to get that shade of pink and how much do you use?

    I am one of those people that need very clear and specific instructions as well. ;0). Thanks for the info!

  11. I used the fuschia color, I believe. It was just one box, and it was the only hot pink I could find ..... I found my box at Hobby Lobby as they have a ton of different colors to pick from.

    I used the ENTIRE box! :)

  12. Thank you SO MUCH for the step-by-step directions! I was wondering though, what were the approximate dimensions of your cheesecloth? I just got mine home from Bed, Bath and Beyond, opened the packages, and I feel they are kind of small (maybe 2ft by 4ft). Just curious if yours were the same and if you've used them with a newborn and they were big enough. THANKS!

  13. Okay, disregard last comment . . Wow, I'm definitely new to this crafty stuff . . I just hadn't unfolded it all the way, SO SORRY!

  14. No problem! It is on the small side... but I did find a website somewhere online that did sell it by the yards ... so you could easily get 2 yards so it would wrap better. I really like that idea more than what I used, as I had a hard time wrapping it on the baby in the way I had envisioned it in my head!

  15. Thank you thank you! I'm dying cheesecloth tonight and didn't have a CLUE!


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