Rust-dyed fabric

Last summer, the Mouse and I dyed and painted fabrics with our friend Renske. This summer, Renske wanted to do it again, so last weekend we got together on a very hot Saturday to try ice dyeing, rust dyeing, and then some regular fabric dyeing.

rust dye 1For rust dyeing, you start by soaking your fabric in vinegar for a while. Then, you place some rusty items on it — like rusty bolts and screws, or anything else you have around. Renske lives on a farm, so she had all kinds of interesting bits lying around. You let it sit overnight for the rust to react; we tied ours up in a black plastic bag.

rust dye 2

Above, what it looked like when we unwrapped the fabrics. Next, we put them in a bucket of salt water for half an hour, to set the rust stains. Then I rinsed the fabrics in clear water, and finally washed them in the machine.

rust dye 3

Here’s the finished products, hanging on the line. Very mottled! Very organic-looking. My favourite is second from the left. Here’s a close up:

rust dye 4

Done with nuts and bolts, it has a more dappled appearance. If I was going to try it again, I might try tying some nuts and bolts into the fabric — sort of a combination of tie-dye and rust dye.

Now you make ask, what would we use this fabric for? Honestly, I don’t know! I’ll have to see if Renske has any interesting ideas.



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