I keep hearing things about rust dyeing and decided a couple of weeks ago that I’d like to try it. I found lots of blogs, webpages, etc. about it with a google search. I tried to synthesize everything I read to begin to experiment. I was limited to using what was in my house at the moment. I don’t currently have any cool rusty items in my house (although I will be keeping my eyes open at garage sales this summer!), but I did have steel wool, white cotton fabric and copper wire (well, after pulling apart some old romex cable from the basement…).
I started out by unwinding a steel wool pad and wrapping it around a couple of glass bottles:
Next, I wrapped fabric and copper wire around the bottles. Here’s a picture of one of the bottles:
After wrapping, I stuck both bottles in a bucket and poured a little water over them. I put them outside, where it rained almost every day for the next week, keeping them nice and damp without any help from me. At the end of the week, I rinsed out the fabric and hung it outside to dry. There were still a few little bits of steel wool stuck to the fabric. I don’t know if there is some trick to avoiding this. Anyway, my husband had the idea of running a magnet over the fabric, which seemed to get off the last bits of steel wool. I washed out the fabric with a bit of synthropal, which is what I use to wash out all of my dye projects.
Here are my final results:
Detail of piece 2
I love the way these turned out. I don’t think these photos really show the richness of the color. I’m looking forward to experimenting with this a lot more. I think my next experiment will be over-dyeing some of this to see how that works.