12 May 2012

rust dyeing

Part of the course I am doing at the moment is about experimenting with applying colour to fabrics. One idea I got was rust dyeing - couldn't be simpler

what you need -
  • natural fabric such as cotton or linen - synthetic fabrics can be used but the colour will be paler
  • brown vinegar (cheap vinegar is perfect)
  • rusty object / nails / filings etc

how you do it
  • wash the fabric you wish to use
  • dampen cloth
  • tie the fabric round the rusty object

  • pour vinegar over the fabric
HEALTH AND SAFETY - wear protective gloves when handling rusty objects.

The fabric will colour in about a week, keep it moistened.
After a week untie fabric and wash and iron. The colour will be fast on your fabric.

Here is one of my samples.........these earthy colours aren't for me but the rusty fabric would look amazing with turquoise embellishment or stitching.
Small fragments of rust may remain in the fabric, which may result in broken needles if you are sewing on the machine. Fragments of rust might also find their way into the feed dogs, so inspect fabric carefully.
It is also possible to dye over the top of the rust stained fabric. The rust staining shines through the dye. The sample below shows a rust stained piece of fabric, which has then been dyed firstly with a pink and then a purple cold water dye.

Thanks Faye, for your input in this post.

Bye, Ali


  1. I love this idea. The color is just great. Is this color fast? Will it run if washed? Does the fabric need to be cotton, or could it be synthetic? Great work.

  2. hi, yes the colour is fast and synthetic fibres can be used but the colour wont be as strong, ali

  3. I like the patterns you achived with this. Definitely looks worth trying out!


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