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 18, 2016

The Basic Rusting Process

Basically we created a layer cake effect, alternating layers of fabric and rusty items. You can create as many layers as you wish, I have successfully layer 7 pieces of fabric.


Which Soaking Solution To Use

You can achieve different results depending on the soaking solution you use.

  • The plain solution
    • With this solution, you end up with a less rusted background. So if you start with white fabric, you will have a lot of white background.

  • Rusty water solution
    • Soaking your fabric in this solution will give you a rusty colored background. How rusty depends on your solution. The more rusted your solution, the more rusted the background


  • Start by soaking your fabric in one of the solutions, making sure it is completely wet.
  • Wring out the fabric, but leave some moisture in it.

  • Spread out the fabric on the tray. Here I am using an industrial size cookie tray

  • For more added texture, scrunch up the fabric a little

  • Arrange the flat rusty items on the fabric. You can arrange them in a random fashion

  • Or be more deliberate in the placement, trying to create a pictorial scene

  • Spray with the vinegar and water solution

  • Layer another piece of fabric on top of this

  • Add more rusty items

  • Continue layering fabric and rusty items until you have as many layers as you want, finishing off with a layer of fabric.
  • You can use items that are not completely flat, but you get the best results with flat items. You want to have good contact between the fabric and the rusty items.
  • Cover it all with plastic. If it is small enough, slip it inside a plastic bag.
  • Remove as much air as possible and weight the plastic down to prevent the fabric from drying out.


Now comes the hard part—WAITING!

How long to wait depends on several factors

  • The heat
  • The humidity
  • The weight of your fabric
  • The rusty item itself

Some pieces give up their rust very easily and other pieces are more stubborn. When starting out, you may want to check your pieces every 3-4 hours to see how they are coming along. With some experience, you will know how long it takes to get your desire results.


  1. Somewhere I read about adding a piece of copper or wrapping on a copper pipe. I forget what that did, maybe mordant. Before the flood seems like a million years ago to my memory and of course I no longer have any notes or books.

    glen QuiltSwissy

  2. Glen, I've never used a copper pipe. Copper does not technically rust, it oxidizes. You can however wrap your fabric around rusty objects. That is another technique, but I won't be covering it in this series of posts.


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