Mixed Media Monday gave me a great excuse to try a technique that I had been considering for awhile: Rust Dyeing. The basic concept is to put damp fabric in contact with iron. I did a little research online and found that adding some vinegar to the water can make the process move faster. (Note: Source is Prairie Fibers Co.)

So there I was, standing on my back porch, with fabric, vinegar, and … (she looks about desperately for some rusty metal) nothing. Crudders! What to use. Everyone else online seems to have old hinges and nails just laying around — ready for art. But not me. Iron. Rust. Hmmm.

I look about the yard, and finally, I find some old political signs that my husband has stashed under the porch. (Our primaries were in May, and all political signs need to be removed within two weeks of an election. My husband hadn’t figured out how to recycle the metal stakes, so they wound up sitting in the dirt and damp for the past two months.)

OK. Now all I have to do is take a bolt cutter to break the stake into manageable pieces, scatter them in my tub, lay the vinegar-soaked fabric on top and then lay plastic and some weight on top of the mess and wait.


I hate to wait.


I check the next morning. Hmmmm… Not enough. I rinse, salt, and try again. THIS time I use apple cider vinegar.

OK. More waiting.

But the next day, I unveil the results. Wonderful! It’s not easy on the fabric, which feels delicate — even after the salt soak and wash. But the rust color is lacy and bold and unexpected. I do love it. And will be cutting up and re-shaping the remaining metal posts in my husband’s cache to see what more I can do.