Rust dyeing

“Sometimes a rusty photograph worth a thousand memories.”
― Shihab Kazi

As I prepare for my next show at the Smithsonian, I am getting all my rusted metal out of the box to start doing a little bit of rust dyeing. If you have never done it, I recommend that you try it, at least just for the fun of it!

  1. a reddish- or yellowish-brown flaky coating of iron oxide that is formed on iron or steel by oxidation, especially in the presence of moisture.

What you need:

– A spray bottle

– White vinegar

– Fabric (I usually use silk, cotton and wool)

– Rusty objects

How to obtain rusted prints:

The first step is to spray an equal amount of water and white vinegar with a spray bottle. The reason we use vinegar is because it’s in an aqueous solution so it contains lots of water. The active ingredient in vinegar is acetic acid, which has even more corrosive properties than water. When you spray the fabric, make sure that the fabric is well saturated. The next step is to place your rusty object on top of the wet fabric. It helps to place something heavy on top of the object for a better print. Because in order to make rust we need oxidation, I don’t cover my pieces. The oxygen will take care of the rest!


The possibilities from now on are endless. I will leave you with a few prints I have created on felt. Have fun and enjoy this technique!!

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