A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Being Safe

Working with iron oxide or rust to create beautiful one of a kind fabrics can be safe, if you follow some simple safety precautions. The main objectives are to avoid taking in excess iron through your skin and to avoid breathing in small iron particles. 

Basic Safety Equipment

Protecting Your Skin 

Iron is easily absorbed through the skin so protect your hands when handling rusty metal:
    For working with the rusty metal, you will need a heavy duty glove. 
    Most of the metal objects are rough and can have sharp edges and the thin gloves are easily torn or punctured. So a heavier duty glove will provide you more protection.

Protecting Your Lungs


The rusty metal usually builds up finely flakes of metal and you don't want to breath these fine pieces in.  So here are a few tips to protect your lungs:

    You will need to wear a mask or a respirator. 
    I use the 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8210Plus, purchased at Home Depot.

    Don't work when it is windy.

Other Protection Suggestions:

    You may also want to wear eye protection if you don't wear glasses and especially if  you wear contacts.

    Consider protecting your hair with a hat or scarf.

    Wear clothing you don't mind getting stained. 
    After a rust dyeing session, consider taking a shower to remove any rust dust from you skin.

    Make sure your tetanus shot is up to date.

Iron Poisoning

    While you may be concerned with possible iron poisoning, according to Wikipedia, "Iron poisoning is an iron overload caused by a large excess of iron intake and usually refers to an acute overload rather than a gradual one.  The term has been primarily associated with young children who consumed large quantities of iron supplement pills.

      If you take these simple precautions, working with rust can be as safe as any other textile process.


  1. wow, didn't know you had to be that careful with rusty things .... thanks ...

  2. Els, like most things we encounter today, it can be hazardous if you don't take simple precautions. Better to be on the safe side.


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