Painting Fabric: Cheesecloth

Painted cheesecloth

Do you like experimenting with unusual cloth?

Julie B. Booth does! After stumbling into a passion for painted cheesecloth for use in her art quilts, she became hooked in just making the colorful stuff. Read on for more about her cheesecloth interest. Grab a copy of Quilting Arts April/May 2019 for the full article on painting fabric, materials, and process.

I’ve become addicted to cheesecloth!

I was introduced to its textural magic a few years ago by one of my students. But, it wasn’t until I needed party favors for my 60th birthday celebration that my love affair with cheesecloth really took off. I started custom painting rolls of cheesecloth for my friends and students as a token of appreciation. The inevitable question of “how can I use this?” then surfaced. That thought sent me down a rabbit hole of creating colorful and textural artworks made with layers of cheesecloth and fabric, stitched together with couched yarns and threads.

“Night Bloom” • 4½" x 5" | Photos by Hornick Rivlin Studio

“Night Bloom” • 4½” x 5″ | Photos by Hornick Rivlin Studio

Why I love cheesecloth

Why do I love painted cheesecloth so much? I love how when layered on top of a colored background fabric, it can change and enrich the color. I love how I can encapsulate fabric and yarn scraps under its web to create interesting surfaces. I love how bits of it can add a dash of texture and color to an art piece. I hope you enjoy creating your own custom colored cheesecloth and find ways to incorporate this unique substrate into your own artwork.

“Flower Power Healing Hamsa” • 5" x 6"

“Flower Power Healing Hamsa” • 5″ x 6″

Use the cheesecloth

  • Add a cheesecloth layer over a background fabric to change the color and add some interesting texture. The open weave of the cheesecloth allows areas of the background fabric to show through and visually mix with the cheesecloth colors for a watercolor effect.
  • Play with layering more than 1 color of painted cheesecloth. Place the layers at different angles for optimum color blends.
  • Cut small pieces of the painted cheesecloth and add spots of textured color to your artwork.
  • Sandwich fabric scraps between a background fabric and a cheesecloth layer; add yarns or decorative threads as a top layer and stitch with couching, running, or cross stitches.

Painted Cheesecloth

Julie B. Booth is a surface design artist, teacher, and author of Fabric Printing At Home. She has written articles for Quilting Arts Magazine and appeared on “Quilting Arts TV.” Julie teaches numerous classes in hand stitching as an expressive art form including telling stories and sharing memories in cloth and creating appliquéd and stitched works with a healing message.
Visit her website to learn more.

Want to learn more about Julie’s process for painting on cheesecloth?

Grab a copy of Quilting Arts April/May 2019 to read her full procedure and a complete list of materials. Check out this video for more ideas for cheesecloth more painting fabric projects!

Sew long,

Discover more inspiration for painting on fabric and a whole lot more!


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