Clearing Out and Rust Dyeing

A couple of nights back, 31 August, I decided to give rust dyeing a go. I was clearing out my closets and found some tees that could not have been donated because they had seen studio time and/or bunny teeth.

I placed metal items that I found interesting directly on the shirt, misted with full strength vinegar and sprinkled with kosher salt. I have liked using the larger salt crystals in the past.

There is a double layer of plastic inside the tee.

Rust Dye Process Image 1

Since the shirt has a bit of a mesh texture, I placed a piece of cling wrap over the salted metal bits, then weighted it with a binder of past sketches.

Rust Dye Process Image 2

Rust Dye Process Image 3

Every evening I misted the metal bits then returned the cling wrap and binder.

Tonight when I removed the binder and the cling wrap I noticed there was some salt residue where the edge of the cling wrap had been.

The rust result excited the heck out of me. And not thinking I stacked up the rusty bits on the shirt. I was so excited to see the build of rust on the fabric I forgot that the metal bits were still rusty.

Rust Dye Results 1

The result is beautiful, but how much will remain after washing?

I followed the general comments about using 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 gallon of water to set the rust dye.

Rust Dye Results 2

Here is what I was thinking–

A couple of years back, I found reference to a peroxide patina to “age” metal. The formula is simple and the result is quick. What if you use this on the metal bits and then place them on fabric?

16 ounces of Hydrogen Peroxide
2 ounces of White Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of salt

I needed an oxidized metal hook for a piece and since I didn’t have one I gave the peroxide/vinegar/salt a go.

First Attempt Peroxide

Result Peroxide Patina

Honestly I do not remember a source for the formula. I saw reference to it several places. When I went looking for the formula this evening to give credit, I found instructions on

One Response to “Clearing Out and Rust Dyeing”

  1. Jill says:

    Cool affect!
    Love how the purples came out of it!

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