Rust dyeing is an interesting method of surface printing that adds dimension to fabrics, such as cellulose or animal fiber. Cellulose fiber are cotton and linen, and animal fiber are wool, and silk. When using iron on silk, caution should be taken as iron can sometimes corrodes the fabric.
I have a small collection of rusted objects (nails, cans, wires), that I have found from yard sales and junk yards. I used them to wrap my bundles in eco-printing and for making “iron liquor” for mordant. Iron liquor is made simply by adding a bunch of rusty scraps into a jar with a lid to close. Cover the jar with two parts of water to one part of clear vinegar. Close the lid and leave the solution to steep for a week or so, until the solution turns a brownish and orange color.
In this post, I pre-soaked my fabric in vinegar and then place on a flat surface or a tub. I added a few rusty objects on top of the fabric, then I placed a piece of plastic or sometimes, another layer of pre-soaked vinegar fabric over the top (the fabric will mirrored image of the object). I left it out for about a day or two and checked to see the process of oxidation from the rusty objects.
When I am happy with results, I removed the fabric and soaked with a saline solution made with a tablespoon of salt to a gallon of water for about 15 minutes before a final rinse with water to neutralize the iron. Note: for larger pieces, use 1/4 cup to 4 gallons of water (per dipandstain.blogspot.com). Wear gloves to protect your hands or mask if you are sensitive to the smell of vinegar.
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