All three of these blogs are wonderful by the way, well worth a look at some of the brilliant work they produce.
All you need are tea-bags, Ferrous Sulphate and Caustic Soda.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend this technique if you have small children or pets and I have serious doubts about the longevity of any fabrics coloured using this method of rust dyeing, but you do get some amazing results. Just a note if you intend to try this: work outside, wear gloves, make sure you observe all the usual health and safety rules and dispose of the solutions down an outside drain.
The recipes on each blog differed a little and this is the one I followed.
You need 2 waste oil/cat litter trays. In one you brew 50 cheap, strong tea bags in 2 litres of water, let it cool and add a tablespoon of Caustic Soda. In the other you dissolve 250 gms. of Ferrous Sulphate in 2 litres of warm water. (Ferrous Sulphate is available from Artvango).
The rest is simple. Just dip your fabric in the tea-bag/Caustic Soda solution, let it drip, dip it in the Ferrous Suplhate solution, then lay it out to dry. You can get a variation in colour if you reverse the order of dipping. Or you can dip in one tray, lay it out and dribble the solution from the other tray on top, which is how I coloured some of my pieces.
Next time around I will try tie-dyeing and such to see what results I get.
I must have dyed around 40 pieces of fabric and took loads of photos, these are just a small selection.
All these pieces were plain white PFD fabrics. The best results were using Cotton Velvet and also from fabric that had been wetted out first.
The fabric is still stiff after ironing (with the workroom iron, not the good one!) but now I have taken the photographs I shall wash them through to see if they come up any softer without affecting the colours too much.
Notes (to self) for next time:
- Don’t wear your bestest trainers that you paid almost £100 for just a couple of months back.
- Don’t wear your most favourite jeans.
- Make sure your gloves haven’t got holes in them especially if your day job requires you to be suited & booted and you don’t want your hands & nails to look like you have steeped them in something unpleasant all weekend.