Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dyeing with a rusty pole

We recently obtained a trampoline for the children to play on in the garden, which meant dismantling the outgrown swing/slide/climbing frame we've had for about 13 years. We'd hoped to be able to pass it on, but in the event it turned out to have rusted so badly that it would be unsafe. I rescued a few choice bits from the pile destined for the rubbish dump, and dyed a piece of muslin by wrapping it around one of the rusty poles. Before I did this, I soaked it well in white vinegar, and wrapped the whole lot in a plastic bag, sealed with a klippit. It worked quickly, being warm, humid weather, and each day or so I rewrapped the cloth. After five days, I soaked the square in salty water, then washed it and hung it out to dry. This is the result:

I do not yet know what I am going to do with this cloth, as it was created as an experiment in learning the technique, and it is not telling me what it would like me to do with it. I wonder about adding to the dyeing, or printing on it, but it may be put away for future use instead. Any suggestions gratefully received!


Lois Jarvis said...

You can add a design to it with rubber stamps. Use textile paints or pigment stamping inks. Thanks for voting on the label design for my upcoming instructional CD on rust dying. I see what brought you to my blog. I hope you found some answers there.

k baxter packwood said...

Your cloth is very nice, very often I find that I need to rust and compost more fabrics to have a large enough selection to create a piece.

If you have commercially dyed and printed fabrics they rust over quite nicely. Hot pink fabric is one of my favorties to rust over.

Make sure you neutralize with baking soda water as this not only restores the natural pH of cotton fabrics, but also stops the rusting process. You will need to neutralize once a year to keep the rusting process down to a dull roar. Salt water can actually damage your fibers.