Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rust Never Sleeps, Especially if it Drinks Too Much Tea

So the next step on my rust dyeing adventure was to add tannin to the mix.

In much of the tannin/rust cloth I've seen, I didn't like how the rust was overpowered by the blue/grey/black of the tannin stain, but I'm pleased with the results of my experiment.

I let the fabric sit in vinegar and salt with the rusty metal during the heat yesterday afternoon and then overnight (about 18 hours). When it was mostly dry this afternoon, I poured the tannin water over it. In some cases, I poured just enough water to dampen it, and in others I let the cloth and the rusty object sit in the tea. I left things like this for about 4 hours. Then rinsed, washed, dried, and pressed.

To make the tannin, I used eight iced tea sized bags (decaf, Kroger store brand). I let them come to a boil in a large pot of water (about a gallon);then I let them sit for an hour.

For these fabrics, I used just a collection of cottons and white synthetics that I had in my dye bin. Some of the synthetics were just white fabric I'd cut from the bottom of curtains and sheers.

Oh, and I also dyed a bit of embroidery floss with rust so that I can hand stitch. It turned out a nice rusty shade, so I think it will do well with the hand work I'll do on whatever object these fabrics become.

Right now, I have some vintage linen and a tablecloth of undetermined material with cotton embroidery in the rust dyeing pans.

I'm not quite finished playing with rust; after all, I still have some white fabric left. I'll continue to rust dye, and I'll also overdye in turquoise some of the pieces that didn't turn out as deep as I would have liked. I'll also rust/tannin dye some Radiance this weekend to see how the silk takes the tannin. Finally, I found some rusty flashing, so I'm going to get out the drill press and see if I can make a rusty/holey piece of metal to dye with.

Oh, the circular plates that I've been using to rust the circles are called corn planting plates. You can do a search online, but many of them I see there have some heavy coating on them, so I assume you'll want vintage ones if you're looking for them.

The sources of rust from these images (top to bottom) are railroad spikes, planting plates, the tines of an iron rake, a 1.25 inch flat iron plate that's about 1/8 inch thick and 4 feet tall, horseshoes,and a collection of washers and 1/4 inch steel bars and scraps that were left over in the previous owner's shop and garage.


kathy said...

Lovely results on your fabrics. Thanks for sharing them. I too find I cannot sew through 2 layers of rust dyed cloth.

Leigh-Anne Crooke said...

awesome and inspiring

LaughingLG said...

Kathy, two tips--a microtex 14 needle is very sharp and helps a lot, so does Sewer's Aid, a silicon/oil thing that you buy in a little squeeze bottle and apply directly to the needle.