Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Rust Dyeing

I came across a post on rust dyeing the other day so obviously had to give it a go. Basically, you wrap or fold cotton round iron objects, make them damp then leave them to rust. Most websites suggest using vinegar. I'm not sure if this is because it speeds the rust process or if it fixes the colour more firmly. Either's good so I used vinegar.

Here's my first attempt.


I used nails, screws and some old washers for this. Although it came out quite well, I'm not particularly keen on the pattern.

There happens to be an estuary near me which I often walk along - in fact my cover photo was taken there. I was walking there this weekend when I found these lying on the sand:


Two of them were quite long and I had to break them up to fit them in my pocket. Just above where I found these are some beach huts.

There are reinforced concrete blocks at the bottom to protect the hut from the waves, but these have eroded and I think the pieces of iron I collected had broken off from these at some stage.

You can see some still in place here.






I used exactly the same method, rolling the metal in cotton, soaking it in white vinegar and water, and leaving it in a plastic bag for two days. You can see how it changed colour over the two days.






These long pieces made a much better pattern. The fabric is only about 10" by 7" but I really like it.


I shall probably use it for one of my bead journal project pieces at some stage.

A word of warning though. Apparently the rust damages the fabric and although I rinsed it in salty water as recommended there's a chance that the material will rot more quickly than usual. I don't mind that too much as most of my work ends up sitting in a box anyway.

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