Rust dyeing? Really?
I love to dye fabrics. It is my way of greeting Spring. After spilling dye on a new floor in our last home, I had to pledge that I never would dye anything in the house again. For the most part I've stuck to that rule and dyeing is an outside sport for me. It's safer and healthier too!
There are so many techniques I want to try and so little time but this rust technique has been in the planning for the past year. I have taken walks in the woods and picked up hunks of small rust and my friends have been on the hunt as well. I've gone to the hardware store and purposely asked for washers, nails and other bits necessary to building. "Do you have any nails that will rust? I need them to rust." Not what the burly hardware guy hears on a regular basis! After my last hike in the woods about a week ago I decided it was finally time to tackle my rustomania. I am pleased with the results.
Look at the lovely apricot shade of this soft thick damask shown above. I placed my rust on the outside edges, attempting to mimic a border print.
This is a simple process of wrapping the rusty parts with damp fabric as desired. Then you wet the fabric further with a fifty fifty solution of water and vinegar. Lightly cover with a plastic bag. The rust process needs oxygen to make it occur so no tight wrapping in plastic. I did this out on our soon to be chucked picnic table and left it in the sun. It stayed there 24 hours. While at work all I could think of was getting home and unwrapping my fabric surprise. Did it work? Will it need more time? It can take anywhere from 1 - 3 days and putting it in the sun accelerates the process. It is imperative to keep it wet with the vinegar water solution, For me, this meant doing it on a weekend. If you go too far with the process it will damage the fabric and the iron in the rust will make the fabric difficult to cut and sew. From what I've seen, 24 hours worked just right for this piece. Once finished you also need to rinse the fabric in a salt water or baking soda solution.
Links to more information on rust dyeing can be found here and here. A lot of the fun of this process is actually hunting down the rusty parts. I don't quite know what this will become and I am already thinking of overprinting it with something. In the meantime it will hang in my studio and please me every time I walk by. I just love dyeing fabric. What would you make with this piece?..................Bunny