I want to share a quick and easy DIY project for anyone who wants to add a little rustic elegance to their fall tablescape with a hand-dyed cheesecloth table runner. This is an easy project to do, but it is best fit for kids that are old enough to be trusted around dye. If you wouldn’t give your kid a permanent marker, save this project for a Thanksgiving a few years down the road!
What You’ll Need
—50 weight cheesecloth 10-yard bundle 100% cotton (I cut off two yards to create a runner suitable for an eight-foot table with an eight-foot overhang puddled on either side. You may need more or less depending on the size of your table.)
–1 pack Rit Dye Powder Tangerine and 1 tbsp Rit All-Purpose Powder Dye, Cocoa Brown (I combined these two pigments to achieve a rust color. For other colors, I recommend visiting Rit Dye’s Color Formula Library.)
–1 cup salt
–Sink or similar large container
–Latex gloves (optional)
–Dryer (You can hang the runner to dry if preferred, but the drying time will increase.)
–Cut off any unnecessary length, then soak cheesecloth in tap-cold water to prepare fabric for pigment.
–Fill your sink 3/4 full of hot water and put on gloves, if desired. Prepare dye mixture in water, adding 1 cup salt to better allow the dye to set.
–Remove cheesecloth from cold water, wring out, and submerge in dye mixture.
–Stirring intermittently, let cheesecloth sit in dye mixture for 10 minutes. (The color in the water is darker than your final product will be, so allow cheesecloth to soak longer if a bolder, more saturated color is desired.)
–Remove cheesecloth from dye mixture, then briefly rinse in cold water to remove excess dye.
–Place the table runner by itself in the dryer, tumbling on low heat for 10 minutes to reduce moisture. After 10 minutes, hang overnight to dry completely.
–Dye will stain, so choose clothing and workspace wisely.
–To make multiple runners, be precise with your dye measurements for maximum color consistency (this is why I used powdered dye over liquid).
–Place no more than two runners in dye mixture at a time; the runners need to be able to float and turn to ensure full coverage. Similarly, to dye two runners at once, I recommend that you use a larger container, such as a bathtub, so both can move freely.