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Dyeing With Rusty Objects

Last week I rediscovered a trove of rusted and corroded paraphernalia, likely unearthed during a past metal-detecting expedition. Hoping to extract some of the richly coloured deterioration for dyeing, I secured a square of cotton fabric around a small, rusted metal panel. I then placed the bundle in a jar of water, salt and vinegar, leaving the concoction out in the sun and shaking occasionally to stir up the bed of loose earth and rust accumulating on the bottom of the jar.

The process to dye fabric with rusted metal in a jar

After a few days, I fished the bundle out of the jar (with gloves on) and rinsed it in the rain. Unravelled, the fabric exhibited bold markings mapping the deteriorating metal surface on the bare cotton.

rust dyeing fabric wrapped in string
A piece of fabric that has been rust dyed


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