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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth

Reported by Susan Reidy

I have found the Swiss Army knife of crafting products — Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth by Rockland Industries.

This has got to be the most versatile cloth-fabric I have ever crafted with. It can do or be just about anything your crafting heart desires. And it can handle nearly every crafty technique you throw at it: painting, stamping, cutting, sewing, stenciling and more.

You can go big and make a wall hanging, a floor mat, a Roman shade, or you can go small and make a soft scrapbook, purse or banner. As Rockland says it is “the optimum cloth for custom design from the most complex interior fine art project to a simple do-it-yourself craft.”

The multi-purpose cloth is a 70%/30% cotton fabric available in 54-inch, 72-inch and 84-inch widths in white and in 84-width in 12 additional colors: silver grey, ivory, pearl, beige, ecru, nutmeg, hazelnut, plum, sage, jade, slate and black.

Rockland says you can use all of these media on the cloth: artist paints, fabric paints, transfer paints, stencil paints, iron-on decals, rub-on decals, machine embroidery and you can even run it through your ink jet printer. You can it with regular scissors, sew it, punch it and fold it. Oh, and it’s double-sided.

Even more important is what it won’t do. It won’t fray when it is cut, it doesn’t need to be primed before painting and it won’t curl.

It has one more feature that I like to call its party trick — it’s blackout cloth, which simply means it blocks light. Test it yourself by smooshing a piece over your face and looking straight at a bright light; you won’t see anything. Your brain will be saying, “That’s not possible, this cloth is white,” but it’s true. Can we say drapes, curtains, shades or maybe just a sleep mask for those who like cave-like sleeping conditions?

The possible uses are numerous, so stick with me here: floor cloths, table runners, placemats, fabric frames, purses, shelf liners, memory quilts, cloth toys, board games, place cards, wall murals, pillows, woven projects…I could go on, but I won’t.

Unfortunately, the Rockland Industries website is currently under construction, so right now you can’t go there for inspiration. However, a quick Google search of “Rock-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth,” came up with lots of sites with a range of ideas and tutorials.

So after reading more about this rather humble looking cloth, I was a little intimidated. Where to start? I decided the best thing to do was to first test the true range of the cloth.

Up first, cutting, I tried regular scissors, pinking shears, a craft knife, a Crop-A-Dile and two die cutting machines: the old school red Sizzix machine and the QuicKutz Squeeze.

The top cut was made with regular scissors, the middle cut with a craft knife and the bottom cut with pinking shears. Each cut smoothly through the cloth, leaving no fraying as promised. I did have some issues with the Crop-A-Dile. You can see it didn’t cut all the way through, leaving the cloth connected in two tiny spots. I used my scissors to snip those spots, which did result in some lose threads. This wouldn’t be a problem if you were punching a hole to then set an eyelet.

Here’s an up close shot of the holes I punched:

The Squeeze had some trouble getting all through both layers of the cloth. I chose a simple circle shape, and gave it a couple of squeezes. I still couldn’t get the shape to completely separate. I just don’t think the dies are deep enough to handle the thickness of the cloth.

But the trusty Sizzix, with a standard die, chomped right through with no problem, as you can see with the tag I cut. I’ll definitely be making more of those to add to gifts.

Next up was coloring. Here I tried out some Micron pens, Copic markers, Prismacolor colored pencils, Koh-I-Noor woodless colored pencils, Glimmer Mist, StazOn Ink, Stampin’ Up ink and good old acrylic craft paint.


The Micron pens worked well, with little bleeding, but keep in mind this is fabric so it has a texture which becomes more obvious when you write on it.

Both types of colored pencils worked well, and could even be shaded. I found the Koh-I-Noor had better coverage, but then I think they do on most mediums.

The Copics bled. This is Ok if you’re looking for overall coverage (but it will drain your marker of ink quickly), but not so good if you’re looking to color in a stamped image.

Glimmer Mist covered nicely and evenly, avoiding the spotting that sometimes happens on paper, and it maintained its nice shine. However, I tried a reverse stenciling technique and that didn’t work so well because the mist bled under my stencil. But for overall coverage, it looked great.

Stamping inks also bled a little, but no more than you would expect on any type of fabric or cloth.


Here it tried acrylic paint with no textile medium on the left and with textile medium on the right. The textile medium made for an easier, smoother application, and ensures the painted cloth will remain flexible once it dries. Overall, I had the most fun applying the paint, plus it dried quickly and evenly.

I also dug deep in my crafting supplies for some foam stamps that were all the rage years ago. Those worked great as well, and I’m so glad to have found a use for them (finally!).


Next up, I tried some embellishing. I used Martha Stewart’s glittering glue and her glitter to add this jazzy red line. I loved the way this worked, and the finished look. The cloth maintained its flexibility and really grabbed onto the glitter. The rub-on went on smoothly, just like it would on paper. There were a few creases, but it held up even after I bent the cloth a few times to test the durability.

As for adhesives, I liked the hold of Fabric-Tac and Tacky Glue the best. I used these to attach ribbon, rick rack, flowers and buttons on the cloth; I haven’t had anything pop off yet.

So armed with the knowledge of what this cloth could do, I started into my projects. First up was a summer banner:

I cut out my triangles from the cloth and misted them with two colors of Glimmer Mist. Here’s where my reverse stenciling didn’t work; the mist bled too much, so my letters weren’t clear. No problem, I decided to outline and fill them in with some Stickles, which held onto the cloth just as easily as the Martha Stewart loose glitter.

Rick rack, flowers and buttons were added with a combination of Fabric-Tac and Tacky Glue. I punched my holes with a Crop-A-Dile and set eyelets on either side before stringing it together with ribbon.

I liked the heft of the cloth, which lets the banner lay nice and flat against the wall. When I’ve made banners out of paper, I usually have had to cut one layer from patterned paper and another from chipboard to give it enough weight to hang nicely. Using the multi-purpose cloth saved me a step, and handled the overall misting much better than paper would have.

Another cool feature is that the cloth is double sided. None of the mist bled through to the other side, so I could craft another banner on the other side. I can see all types of possibilities in making double-sided seasonal items, say fall/winter and spring/summer wall hangings or banners.

I really wanted to try a serious piece of home decor with this cloth, but I’m not a decorative painter, so a wall mural was out. I thought and thought, and then caught site of my kitchen chairs.

Just a warning, this next photo is dirty:

Good grief! When did that happen? Two children ago, I guess. Clearly my next project would be recovering those chairs. With said children, plus another just beginning solid foods, I knew white cloth wouldn’t be a wise choice. I headed to the craft store (aka: my basement) and picked out some acrylic craft paint to match my kitchen.

Dear hubby took the chair apart and helped me measure and cut the right size of cloth. I did opt to mix the paint with the textile medium since the finished cloth would have to be wrapped around the chair seat.

I painted the whole piece this lovely beige color, waited for it to dry and then taped off some stripes with painter’s tape.

Again, I really liked painting the cloth. It went on so smoothly and dried great. The painter’s tape didn’t take off any color when I ripped it off. I did get some bleeding as you can see in the photo below, but that had more to do with the my cheap dollar store painter’s tape than the cloth itself. The rough edges give it a nice handpainted look, at least that’s my story.

After the paint was dry, I added a few coats of a clear acrylic sealant to protect the surface. The cloth can’t be machine washed (not that I could once it’s on the chair), but it can be spot cleaned. Hopefully the sealant will help maintain the freshness.

And here is the finished chair. A big improvement I think. There was even a scuffle over who would get to sit on the “new chair” first. It was easy to manipulate the cloth around the seat, but you do have to be generous with the staples. The multi-purpose cloth was a little thicker than the fabric that was originally on the chair.

My last project is a growth chart for my littlest one, at least that’s what it will be eventually. I enlisted the help of the two older girls to do some more foam stamping. They had fun, and I eventually let go of my need for perfection (ha!). I plan on adding a ribbon for the ruler part of the chart, and some extra embellishments here and there.

I had lots of fun with this cloth, and I have lots more projects in mind. I’d love to make a soft scrapbook, a floor mat with handprints from all my girls, a checker board and maybe even give it the old-college try on some Roman shades (my husband likes cave-like sleeping conditions). I’d also like to try sewing it, maybe into a fun summer tote bag. There’s just not enough time in the day.

Pros:

  • Very versatile for crafts and home decor items small and large, simple and complex.
  • It can handle several types of crafting techniques — stamping, stencilling, painting, sewing, die cutting and even inkjet printing.
  • It doesn’t need to be primed, it won’t warp or fray.
  • Available in wide widths and multiple colors.
  • It will black out light, making it perfect for window coverings.

Cons:

  • It can be difficult to find.
  • It’s kind of pricey at about $19 per yard, but it’s worth it for the versatility and quality of the cloth.
  • Some inks will bleed including mists, stamping inks and Copic markers.
  • It can’t be machine washed, but you can spot clean it with a soft cloth or colorless kitchen cleaner.

Have you tried Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth? What have you made, and what would you like to make with it?

GIVEAWAY!
Roc-Lon is generously giving away a 24″x36″ piece of their Multi-Purpose Cloth to FIVE of our readers. Leave us a comment on either Vendor Spotlight: Roc-Lon article (this is 2 of 2) and tell us what you’d do with it if you win! One comment per person, per article, please. Winners will be randomly selected over the weekend, or therebouts.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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65 Responses to Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth

  1. Avatar
    Carole RB July 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    I don’t know exactly what I would make with this but it will suerly be with my cardmaking projects and/or scrapbooking!

  2. Avatar
    Cheryl July 23, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    I know exactly what I would do with this product if I were so lucky to win it. I would give it to my daughter to use in her Big Shot machine and have her make a banner with the banner die. I would also love to have her make a shopping bag with it. (she sews). Thanks for the review.
    Cheryl Sims

  3. Avatar
    Melanie July 23, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    I want some of this! Just looks too fun to play with!

  4. Avatar
    Anne Temple July 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    Oh the possibilities….alter a journal or other project, incorporate into my card making projects, make some really cool wall art…thanks for a chance to win!

  5. Avatar
    Scrapycandy July 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    I love the concept of making a banner or even a journal/book out of the fabric. I love the fact that I can paint on it. Great stuff!

  6. Avatar
    Rebecca Ednie July 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    I’d like to make a mini album by sewing small flat bags to use as pages. That way, I’ll have pockets to tuck things into and cute ribbon drawstrings (though they won’t be pulled tight like a normal bag. Just a cute place to put ribbon.

  7. Avatar
    Savannah O'Gwynn July 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    I don’t know—but I love the grocery tote that I saw…and I would probably make a banner. HOW FUN!

  8. Avatar
    Christianne July 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I’d make a tote bad and maybe some customized curtains if it would hang right.

  9. Avatar
    Janette July 23, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    This looks fantastic. I want to give this a try. So many possibilities. I would love to try it in my Big Shot.

  10. Avatar
    wilcoxdesigns July 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    Endless possibilities! I’d like to try a banner or journal cover.

  11. Avatar
    sandie994 July 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    I would love to try this with die cuts. Loved the tag idea and can imagine it working with other dies that I have.

  12. Avatar
    Kelly Massman July 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    Thanks for a chance to win! That would be fun to experiment with I think!

  13. Avatar
    Karla Anderson July 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    I would make a mini album and maybe try a floor “rug” for the porch. Sounds like a great product. Thanks for the chance to win.

  14. Avatar
    sucor July 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    This Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth is so versatile! I really like the non-fraying aspect! I want to try making diecuts and a bag or two. Since I sew and scrapbook and make cards, I know I’d use up any scrap pieces as well!

  15. Avatar
    funkycrafter July 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    how did i get along without this for so long. once i saw the sizzix cutout of the tag i knew exactly what my first project would be… a tag book with paint and all kinds of trims. would be great surface for adding transfers, grungepaper embellies, lace and whatever else i can find in my stash. i would also like to make some counting and objects books for little kids. and go on from there.

  16. Avatar
    Tona July 23, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    I would really like to give this fabric a try.

  17. Avatar
    Angel July 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    the first thing I would make is a book. I would like to try this material on that. Thanks for the giveaway.

  18. Avatar
    debb July 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    I had no idea this was such a versatile fabric! I am familiar with it as a curtain lining (I am assuming this is the same fabric as like 20 Years ago or so?) but had not idea of all the uses- you can bet I will give it a try!!!

  19. Avatar
    Jess July 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    I’d love to try this fabric to make bookmarks! And also making fabric flowers to put on cards.

  20. Avatar
    Lindsey July 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    wow! This cloth looks terrific. I would paint on it for sure.

  21. Avatar
    patricia July 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

    I would love to try making a floor game for the kiddos I work with.

  22. Avatar
    maryvernau July 23, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    I would love a chance to use this cloth!

  23. Avatar
    pbo July 23, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    WOW! What a versatile product. I would love a chance to play with it! I have lots of ideas!

  24. Avatar
    Susie McCormick July 24, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    WOW! This stuff looks amazing! I would probabay stamp it and try to make a purse… I bet there is a ton of stuff you could do with this material!!

  25. Avatar
    Marge July 24, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    Oh, very interesting! I’d love to have a piece of Roc-Lon to play with in my craft room!!!

  26. Avatar
    paperqueen July 24, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Well I think it would be just perfect for a fabric art journal!
    Eileen bin NYC

  27. Avatar
    Tony July 24, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    I’d love to make a great new wall hanging

  28. Avatar
    Jodee July 24, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Would love to give this a try! New curtains would be great-my hubby likes it dark to sleep too!

  29. Avatar
    Jocelyn July 24, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    DD is having her Bat Mitzvah in October, so I’d come up with lots of uses!

  30. Avatar
    Jodi M July 24, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    I love the glimmer mist on the fabric! That might look cool with some “batik” patterning. And I love the glitter/glitter paints! That growth chart is an awesome idea. I would love to make that for my daughter!

  31. Avatar
    Tamara July 24, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    I absolutely want to make a tote bag with this fabric. I also like to sleep in cave like conditions 🙂 so some blinds or curtains would be a good project. I can also see a great outdoor rug on my deck and a wall hanging and….. so many ideas!

  32. Avatar
    SuZeQ July 24, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    You’re right … this IS the Swiss Army Knife. I’d use it on my cards, yes, I would!

  33. Avatar
    d'Dragon July 24, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    I have plans for this product: a coat for our dog & some totes!

  34. Avatar
    Anonymous July 24, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Where were you Roc-Lon when I was making “Welcome Home” signs for my Marine Grandson ? This sounds like a Fab Fabric to do most naything with…like a Patio Rug for what’s left of Summer Fun ! Maybe my now “Former Marine” will surprize me with a visit, and I’ll get to make that sign after all !
    GramaCat

  35. Avatar
    Jenny Gibson July 24, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    That is very interesting. It would be neat to try.

  36. Avatar
    StampinCathy July 24, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    What a great cloth. I have to have one of these. Love all the different ways you can use it. Thanks for all the great ideas.

  37. Avatar
    Bonnie in SC July 24, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    I think I would make a multi-purpose banner with it. We are always celebrating something around here, and I would make the banner with inter-changeable words.

  38. Avatar
    Lynda July 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    I would probably make a tote. I’d like to try photo transfer on it. A nice table cloth for the dining room or a runner I could design would be neat. Gosh, so many different things. Thanks for the information and the giveaway.

  39. Avatar
    mishkismom July 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    I would use it first as craft pieces.. parts of cards, scrapbook pages, art journals and then work my way up to wall art and totes.. I love all kinds of craft mediums and love muti-use products.
    A little pricy it looks like but if I can use it for every type of craft I do it would be well worth it!

  40. Avatar
    Happy Homemaker And Momma July 24, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    I would probably use it for making a purse and the scraps for scrapbooking. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  41. Avatar
    Jill July 24, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    My first ‘crafting’ exper. 45 yrs ago was sewing so maybe a tote etc. But I would def. use it for mini books. Love the cloth books avail. these days.

  42. Avatar
    Joan Cain July 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    This would be great to cover my computer chair. It is now drab and with the right decal, paint, etc I could really dress it up. Joan

  43. Avatar
    Carrie July 24, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    Love this cloth – the chair project is great. It got me thinking it would be nice for a background canvas type effect on a multi-media project.

  44. Avatar
    Carrie July 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    I would love to use this with my card making projects! Thank you for the great review!

  45. Avatar
    Mary Friederichsen July 24, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    I really want to try this cloth!
    My list would be curtains for my sister, grocery tote, and after seeing your chairs, those as well.
    Also a floor cloth for under our patio table.
    I did see that on-line walmart and target had larger widths…105″,found that because Roc-Lon had given them as a resource on their blog.

    Thank you for offering the give-away!

  46. Avatar
    Tiffany July 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    So glad to see that Sizzix dies work! I would love to try that to make some appliques.

  47. Avatar
    Brown Sugar Babies July 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    Decorative artists have been painting on Ron Loc for a couple of years now. I was surprised that it took so long to reach paper crafters. I love painting on it – makes wonderful floorcloths and banners.

    Patricia Rawlinson, a decorative artist, has wonderful tutorials and videos of Ron Loc on her website:

    http://www.creativeartslifestyle.com/

  48. Avatar
    Sue H July 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    I would made a window covering for the side light by my front door. I could enjoy the clear window and sunshine during the day, and fasten up a decorated piece of Roc-Lon over the glass at night.

  49. Avatar
    gobarb26 July 24, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    I like the idea of making a giant game board. What fun to play with outside! Does this fabric work with the Cricut?

  50. Avatar
    Donna July 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    I love the idea of making new chair covers and I really need to do that for my dining room chairs. This looks like it will do the trick. Thanks for the review!

  51. Avatar
    Graceline July 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    I would love to try a hand at emroidering with my sewing machine on this. It would have to be a grandchild’s name with a brilliant color. Then I would take that name to my Big Shot machine and using my clear dies I would cut out a heart. To make this project really unique I would embellish more of this fabric with cloth markers, maybe using some fantastic reading words or numbers and bright colors and designs, then cut more hearts using my Big Shot. With all these pretty colors and words on hearts, I would use a brad and punch aand attach them all together with a very pretty bow, making ‘heart booklets’ for all 10 grandkids for Christmas. MUST have this fabric!

  52. Avatar
    Jeannie July 24, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    I have been making draperies for years and sometimes you need an extra wide fabric, so this would be an awesome choice. Yes, $19 per yard does seem pricey but, any good decorator fabric is about $20-$40 per yard. A good lining for blackout would save your pricey designer fabric for years. Thanks for all of your attempts on this fabric. It was truly helpful and I am sure it took lots of time. Jeannie

  53. Avatar
    juicyfruits July 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    If I got this fabric, I would make a soft book and run it through my computer to print pictures on the pages so that my 7 month old grand daughter could learn her grandparents as my daughter and her husband live in New Orleans and we live in South Bend, IN

  54. Avatar
    Maureen July 25, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    Wow – what a cool product – I would love to do different banners in different shapes – seems very easy to use. I would make books from it – like a kids texture book and even make some scrapbooks – I need to get some of this cool stuff

  55. Avatar
    Anonymous July 25, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    Been thinking about making a canvas scrapbbok since they have come in style, would love to try this fabric to create one! Patty

  56. Avatar
    rush8888 July 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    i think a table cloth would be great made out of this fabric.

  57. Avatar
    Lois July 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    I liked the idea of making tags from the Roc-Lon fabric. Would be great for card making!

  58. Avatar
    Claire July 25, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    I’d like to make a flag for our family to be brought out at our gatherings

    Atoxim at gmail dot com

  59. Avatar
    Kim July 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    Window shades, Window shades! Definitely Window Shades!!!

  60. Avatar
    Joanne July 26, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    I make lots of jackets. I think Roc-Lon would be good for a panel or 2 in a jacket. I would paint the Roc-Loc cloth with eye catching designs and integrate it with complementary fabrics to create a one of a kind garment.

  61. Avatar
    rudie2shoes July 26, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    I think I would make myself a cook bag!

  62. Avatar
    Katie K July 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    Ooooh, I’m drooling over this stuff! I have a really fun pattern for a box-style bag that I would love to try with the Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth. If it keeps its shape and doesn’t fray, it would be perfect (and I wouldn’t have to cover all my raw edges with bias tape)!

  63. Avatar
    Noreen July 31, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    I think it would be interesting to try using it for book covers, when you make a book, instead of book cloth.

  64. Avatar
    manysisters November 27, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    Greetings from Weeki Wachee! I just painted some Roc-lon as a fine art demo piece–Awesome! I primed it first with some household primer and gesso, just on the front, and off I went. The finished piece is varnished with acrylic gloss/varnish, and it is still flexible and rolled easily for shipping. It is a very exciting product to work with in large scale–I have had it gallery wrapped around a frame for large pieces that I want very smooth. Have fun!

  65. Avatar
    Anonymous April 6, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks for your article on Roc-Lon. If you go to your local fabric store to the drapery department they sell roc-on in different weights by the yard and it’s a lot cheaper; about $6.00 a yard. You had some great ideas