Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Chemical Rust Dyeing

Well, what a great ego boost the last blog posting was. Thank you all so much for the lovely comments you have left. No pressure there then *LOL*
I will ask young David at work to draw a name tomorrow so if anyone hasn’t put their name down yet then please do, I shall check one last time before he picks a winner.
Remember the chemical rust dyeing I did a couple of weeks ago? Well, I decided to put all the pieces of fabric through the washing machine and although they have come out soft and smelling an awful lot better, most of them lost some of the lovely colours they had. This is a selection of what I have ended up with, still quite good but not so colourful.

I then decided to try the dyeing but without the tea-bags. I took this first lot of photos when they were still wet and I’m glad I did. The last photo shows the back of the fabric, the green lines are from where the fabric was laid on the grass after dipping.For some reason, when they dried out they lost all their colour completely. This is just one of the pieces, all the others look pretty much the same. Once again, still rusty looking fabric but nowhere near as colourful. I’m going to fold these pieces and dunk them in Denim Blue Procion Dye – I do like the combination of rust and deep blue.Today I thought I would try again but this time using paper – Tyvek and handmade.
I made the recipe as before with a tray of teabags &Caustic Soda and one of Ferrous Sulphate. This time I also had a tray of Copper and one of Chrome, chemicals I have used as mordants when dyeing with natural dyes.The results are fabulous.The blue colour is the Copper and the yellow is the Chrome.
This first lot is Tyvek paper.Along with some close ups.And this batch is handmade paper.I still had some liquids left so grabbed this painted quilt I made a few weeks ago. I had already given it a first layer of paint but wasn’t going to go any further as I wasn’t happy with the finish. I thought it would be a good idea to finish the edges this time before painting as they are quite tricky to do afterwards, but I just didn’t like the corner pieces I fixed on. I still persevered though and it was only after I painted it I realised I hadn’t attached any tabs for hanging – its a double sided one – so it was ditched!
It looks a bit messy as I literally slathered the liquids on any old way. The way it has turned out though is certainly food for thought and the close ups show what an exciting surface it could be.




But you know me, I couldn’t leave it there. I decided I would put a wash of Transparent Red Iron Oxide on top to bring the colours together. It was only a thin wash which I then rubbed back in places to allow some of the colours underneath to show through. It did darken some of the ‘rusty’ spots down but it looked really good. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a photo at that stage. I only wish I had because I thought I would then seal it with Polymer Medium. Big mistake. Chemical Rust Dyeing and Polymer Medium do not mix. The rusty spots went a really sludgy grey colour and started to lift off. Now it has dried the sludgy colour has disappeared but then so have most of the other colours! It just looks a bit dull and boring now.
This piece of Tyvek was the same. The first photo was taken just after I had applied Polymer Medium and the second photo is once it had dried.

So this is what I have learned so far from this method of rust dyeing:
  • Paper holds the colours far better than fabric

  • Tea-bags seem to make a difference to the recipe

  • When using the liquids on top of acrylic paint you can achieve almost the same effect as when you use the Metallic Paint and Rust Activator

  • Polymer Medium and this technique just do not mix

  • Better results were obtained by dipping first in the Caustic Soda/Teabag solution then the Ferrous Sulphate rather than vice versa

    Two other things I wanted to show you. Firstly, this is the spoon I used to stir the Caustic Soda and the Ferrous Sulphate with in the batch I did without the teabags. It was already a deep blue from a previous dyeing session but isn’t the surface wonderful?
The other thing is this...
One tiny little splash of Caustic Soda, photo taken the following day and it did actually start to look a lot worse than this before it got better. So if you are going to try this out make sure to wear long sleeves or better still long gloves.(Preferably with no holes and wear old clothes & trainers too *LOL*)

24 comments:

Ruth said...

Great stuff! It's nice to know what works and what doesn't. Sorry about the burn - it looks painful.

Gina said...

Lots of fabulous surfaces and great colour combinations Lynda. I like the effect on the tyvek paper.

Carol said...

We bow to thee oh mistress of all things rust! These are just amazing, mind you stay in one piece though! Lurve the quilt, dud o not!

BELINDA said...

Hi Oh I love these I am going to try this myself, I'd like to use fabric to make a doll with it.Thanks for the inspiration. Belinda

Sandy said...

Well, you certainly have been experimenting-lots of interesting results. Do you think the grass bleached out some of the color? They used to lay linens on the lawn in the sun to whiten them.
Take care of the burn and be careful.

Liz said...

Oooh I never thought to use tyvek... what a good idea.

Shirley Anne Sherris said...

Like the effect on tyvek best . Must get some more. Look forward to seeing what you do with them all.
Cheers

Magpie's Mumblings said...

These are all so inspirational! I love the unpredictibility of rust. Never would have thought to try it with tyvek tho...great idea!

Genie said...

Wow, They are all wonderful!

Pat said...

Ouch, that looks painful but the results are stunning, especially the tyvek. I wonder what it is about "rust" that we love it so.

Carol said...

Wonderful results as always, the effects are so gorgeous

neki desu said...

cool stuff you've got here!
some of your tips have saved me time and tears-thanks!
Hey maybe what i used was a solution of sulphuric acid come to think.
maccafee doesn't let me see the burn :(

neki desu

Homeleightigger said...

The mind boggles Lynda - wonderful stuff. Do the experiments go on for days (I know you go to work as well) or is it a matter of hours ... so many pix, such beautiful colours and textures. I feel some fantastic books coming on! Val

Doreen K. said...

Wow! Awesome experiments. Love the tyvek.

Jacquelines blog said...

You have created some wonderful results here Lynda! I love it!!!!

joelle said...

What beautiful colors!
Bravo
Joelle

Jen Crossley said...

Your work is truely amazing your an inspiration to me thats for sure.
Sorry about your arm ,it's good to show that though to make us aware of the danger's though.
Jen

Jo Horswill said...

Amazing results...you have explored this technique to the fullest. I am so glad you have enjoyed it. Hand washing may have saved some colour. Apparently 'caustic soda' evaporates with time, just like curing home made soap!
Yes, I agree, paper responds to the chemicals better than fabric.

Shirley Goodwin said...

Great results, but I don't feel inclined to fool around with chemicals like that, given my inbuilt clumsiness.

Michele Matucheski said...

Wow, Lynda. These are so beautiful! I'm going to have to try this technique--as soon as I can find the ingredients. The local hardware store was out of lye (It's a controlled substance in the US now and they didn't carry the iron sulphate.)

sharon young said...

Wow!! Lynda you do like to live dangerously for your art!! That burn looks nasty. I do like where you're going with this though, and your conclusions are brilliant, very helpful. I've never done anything like this to date, but it looks so exciting I think I might have to have a go.
The colours and textures in the quilt are certainly worth the experiment and I think the whole piece works well too, it looks like a good balance of distress and retained original, with great complimentary colours.

Papoosue said...

Wow - I still love all the rusty stuff you create, even if it doesn't always turn out the way you expect! That burn looks nasty, I hope it's better now. xx

Jackie said...

These effects are reall lovely. There's so much to try, so little time...and too many great blogs!

Debbi Baker said...

Hi Lynda - I am behind again but slowly catching up on what you have been up to! What a marathon couple of posts :)) Anyway your rust experiments are incredible and I am sure I will be trying these out myself before too long - you are very inspirational. Thanks too for the lessons learned!