Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fabric Rust Dyeing

Rust dyeing fabric is fun and easy. Virtually no mess and no toxic chemicals. The results are rich, deep golds and browns in unusual patterns. You can try to plan your design, but the results will totally surprise you.

The most obvious items you will need are rusty things. It is surprisingly hard to find rusted items nowadays. Hopefully you have a Dad who collected all kinds of things over his lifetime. Going through Dad's bevy of old stuff helped me. Another good thing is steel wool, so have that on hand too.

Next get a bucket and put in a 50:50 ratio of water and white vinegar. Gather some 100% cotton fabric that has been washed and dried. Get a plastic bag. Put some plastic down on your work surface. Now you are ready to rust dye.

Dip your fabric into the vinegar solution and get it good and wet. Squeeze out the excess water. Lay the fabric flat over your plastic and arrange your rusty stuff and bits of steel wool on the fabric. Loosely roll up the fabric and place in the plastic bag. You can do as many pieces as you want providing you have plenty of rusty things. All of the fabric can be put into the same bag. Be sure to dump any of that "rust dust" that might have fallen off your items onto your fabric too.

Put your plastic bag in a spot that is out of the way and someplace that won't be damaged if any rusty water should leak out of the bag. You don't want to set the bag on your counter or in your sink. Find a good spot out in the garage. Rust spots look good in the garage. Makes it look like you really work on your car or something.

Leave the fabric wrapped for at least 24 hours. The longer you leave it the darker the colors will be. I left my fabric for 4 days. If you leave your fabric for too long, then you might get holes....but then that could be something that you are going for. When your fabric has "cured" get your bucket or a tub and fill it with 4 gallons of warm water and 1/4 cup of table salt. Swish the fabric in the solution really well to stop the rusting. Then rinse your fabric several times. I finished by washing my fabric in the washing machine and drying it in the dryer.

Now how cool is that! I love the designs and color variations that came out on the fabric.

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