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.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Materials & Supplies

Here is a short run down on what you will need to start rust dyeing.  You probably have most of these items already on hand.


I've found most fabrics work very well with rust dyeing.  The only fabrics I've found to be unsuccessful is heavily napped fabrics and those with a very shiny surface.  Here is a short list of fabrics I've had great success with.
  • High quality muslin
  • 10 oz cotton duck, which is very tightly woven and stiff
  • Several pieces lightweight textured cotton
  • Natural colored textured cotton
  • Colored sheeting
  • Silk
  • Denim
  • Unconventional fibers such as baby wipes, cheesecloth and scrim

The purpose of the soaking solution is to help speed the natural rusting process.  I usually use one of the following:
  • Plain solution—a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water
  • Rusty solution—which can be the rusty water saved from rinsing the fabric or it can be created from the plain solution and small rusty items
  • Spray bottle of 50/50 vinegar/water

Rusty Metal

Almost any rusty metal will do.  When I go for walks, I'm always finding bits and pieces of metal.  You can even purchase metal pieces at the hardware store, such as the washers below.  I don't even wait for new pieces to rust, just place them on the fabric and allow them to rust, rusting the fabric at the same time.


metal washers
washers and circles
saw blades
lawn staples
  • saw blades in assorted sizes
  • food can lids 
  • metal washers
  • binder rings
  • assorted flat metal pieces
  • wrenches
  • wrenches
  • old square nails
  • lawn staples

Miscellaneous Items

  • Buckets for soaking and rinsing the fabric 
  • Baking soda for neutralizing the rust
  • Dawn dish detergent
  • Plastic to wrap and cover the fabric
  • A plastic or metal tray to help protect your work surface if necessary
  • Some bricks to help weigh things down

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