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Rust fabric – Create beautiful patterns on fabric with rust

Rust fabric – Create beautiful patterns on fabric with rust

Love collecting pieces of rusty metal off the beach? Wonder what to do with them once home?! My eye has been drawn to fabric dyed with rust – somehow I started yet another Pinterest board! The patterns on rust fabric are beautiful.

I love the random nature of rust dyed fabric. It is hard to control the results but that is part of the fun. Different fabrics will react slightly differently, some may dye quicker than others.

These are my experiments (to date!)

How to dye fabric with rust

Collect a variety of objects with rust – your fabric will need to be touching rust for the colour to develop.

Collection of rust objects, create rust fabric

Soak your fabric in a ration of 50:50 vinegar and water.

rusty nails - create rust fabric

Place rust fabric on top of fabric, alternatively wrap the objects in fabric.

The rust dye will take anywhere between a day and five days to develop.

Rust dying fabric

Bright sunshine helps the rust develop.

Once dyed wash the fabric.

Rust fabric drying on washing line

 Rust fabric, creating patterns

Having experimented dying fabric with found rust objects I moved on to experiment with non rusty items. My thoughts were could I have more control over the results, create patterns?? I experimented with pins, staples and metal washers. Non of these objects had rust to start with. I pleated the fabric, adding the metal items to see if I could create specific patterns.

Initially the results looked unpromising but after two to three days I am delighted with the results.

  • Dying with pins

  • Dying with metal washers

  • Dying with staples

These results were not as controlled as I anticipated but I still love them.

Naturally the next question is what to make with rust dyed fabric? I am thinking slow stitch could be beautiful – a piece of wall art? a rust fabric lampshade?



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Sue Carter

Wednesday 8th of September 2021

Very impressive!!

Sue Carter

Wednesday 8th of September 2021

Your very talented and creative. Tyvm for sharing.. awesome work…

LouAnn Ingram

Monday 12th of March 2018

Wow Vicky this sounds so interesting and creative and that is what I love. All of the responses from these ladies I love their ideas also. Out on my deck I have a lot of things that rusted over the winter, one thing I have is a bowl of nails which has rusted, what I've done was pour out the water every time and used it for my plants. Now I will try to use it in a craft project. Love this will let you know if anything comes of this. Thanks for sharing.



Monday 1st of May 2017

So cool! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow afternoon that features your rust dying tutorial:



Sunday 23rd of April 2017

Such an interesting idea. I can imagine it looking very effective when combined with embroidery. Looking forward to seeing what you make with them :)

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