Rust Dye with Stencils

Yesterday, I saw a blog with instructions for making freezer paper stencils for t-shirts.  I’ve done this in the past with fabric paints, but seeing it made me wonder if I could make this work with rust dyeing.  I thought it would be great if the shape of the rust dyed image was not limited to to the shape of my rusty object.

I was (of course!) out of freezer paper, so after a quick bike ride to the grocery store, I cut out a few basic shapes.  For this experiment, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on the images- I just wanted to do something quickly to see if it would work.  After cutting, I ironed the shiny plastic side of the freezer paper onto the fabric:

I then took it outside to my plastic tray and placed it over my rusty saw blade- which is the only semi-solid rusty shape I currently have.  I sprayed it with my water bottle, sprayed it with a bit of water, sprinkled it with salt and then sprayed again with some water:

I covered it loosely with plastic to keep it from drying out too fast as it was way too hot yesterday.  I sprayed it a few times throughout the day and also at night when I closed the chickens into their coop.  Here is the image that I washed out today:

Success!  This image has sort of a country look which isn’t really me, I think because of the hearts and stars and the saw blade shape.  Still, it worked and now I can continue to experiment.  I need to get a flat piece of steel that I can turn into a rust stenciling surface for other sorts of images.  My son wants me to try to make him a skull and crossbones image rusty t-shirt and I think this technique will work for that- since I don’t happen to have a flat rusty skull and crossbones :).

I plan to play more with the freezer paper and maybe some other resists, too.  I’m thinking that soy wax would work.  I was also looking at a plastic mailer that came with a book I ordered.  I think that it might be interesting to try to cut shapes out of it and sew them to the base fabric as resists.  I’m definitely going to be exploring this idea more in the future.


Using Rust Dyed Fabric

I’ve been enjoying playing around with some of my rust dyed fabric and thought I’d share some of it here.

I’ve been participating in an irregularly scheduled group that exchanges various hand-made postcards for a while now.  There aren’t really any restictions in our group- in the past, there’s been all fabric, mixed media, hand-made embellished paper, photography, mini-paintings- all sorts of things.  My offerings usually involve something using hand-dyed fabrics.  I decided that this time I’d use some of my rust dyed fabric.  Here are the eight 4 x 6 postcards I sent out:

Here are close-ups of a couple of them:

They were made by cutting two of my saw blade prints into quarters.  I then appliqued on a portion of some of the prints made with washers.  The edge fabric is rust dyed and then over-dyed in brown tones.

Because I had to do some trimming of my appliqued shapes before sewing the postcards to their backing, I ended up with some interesting small strips of rust-dyed fabrics.  I really liked the way they looked and wanted to find a way to use them.  Then I happened to see the link to a small wallet pattern on somebody’s blog and thought it would be a perfect way to use up my fabric strips.

Here are the results:

Front of wallet:

Back of wallet:

Inside of wallet:

It’s just a small thing, but it makes me happy to see it in my purse.

The wallet pattern can be found here:

Wallet Pattern

You can see that I left off the vinyl outer pocket and the key chain tab.

And this little wallet pattern also came in handy this weekend when my daughter needed a birthday gift for a friend.  We sewed it up out of some fabrics in our stash Anna thought her friend would like.  We then filled it with (as my son says) “the gift certificate to anywhere”-cash.  It made a nicer presentation than just sticking some money in an envelope :).

More Rust Dyeing

I continue to be intrigued by the possibilities for rust-dyed projects, and have been playing around a bit the last several days.  When I was at the farm/hardware store last weekend picking up chicken feed and other assorted stuff, I decided to buy a handful of steel washers to see what rust results I might get.

After washing them to hopefully get off any manufacturing oils, I arranged the washers in some patterns on a plastic dog pen liner from a crate our dog has outgrown.  I soaked some fabric (from a thrift store sheet) in water with a some vinegar added and placed it over the washers.  I then sprinkled on some salt and sprayed it down with more water.  I covered it loosely with a plastic bag and left it out in the backyard.  I checked frequently to be sure it was still damp, spraying it down with more water as needed.  For two days, nothing happened.  I started to think that I must have gotten washers that were either not steel or were heavily coated with some sort of protective coating.  Finally, though, some little edges started to rust.  After a total of 4 days of dampness, this was my resulting fabric:

Now that the washers had a layer of rust on them, I decided to try again, this time using small pieces of fabrics rather than a large one.  Here’s a picture of one of my washer arrangements:

I then covered them with a piece of dry fabric ( I skipped the vinegar this time).  I sprayed it with water, sprinkled with a little salt and then sprayed it with a little more water:

I then covered them loosely with plastic, checking them and re-spraying them as needed.  This time, the rust designs started to show after just a couple of hours and were pretty strong in one day.  I left them outside for two days, though, as I didn’t have time to deal with them sooner.    I liked my first results, but I REALLY like these:

Here are some close ups of a couple of them that I especially like:

Here’s a picture of an old saw blade that I’ve also been playing with.  This is the side that was touching the metal:

This is the reverse side of the fabric, which I also like:

I’m going to play with overdyeing some of these and also keep experimenting with objects that look like they might rust.

My 18 year old son doesn’t usually show that much interest in my little projects, but he actually commented about these, saying that they had a steampunk look.  That is apparently a good thing :).

Rust Dyeing

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:

Piece 1

Piece 2

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.