Rust Dyed Pillow Covers

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I know that you were itching for some more rust dyeing! Okay, maybe it was me who was itching. I bought these little beauties on Etsy and I couldn’t wait to turn them into something.

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I had a few silk pillow cases laying around so I figured that I would try to do a two for one (two pillow cases, one project).

Materials:

  • natural fiber fabric such as cotton, wool, linen, or silk
  • vinegar
  • rusty stuff
  • aluminum foil
  • heavy pavers, bricks, or rocks
  • time!
  • salt
  • black tea (optional)

Tutorial

Step 1: Soak your fabric in a vinegar bath for a few minutes. This is a very important step because the vinegar will significantly speed up the rusting process!

Step 2: Lay your fabric out as flat as possible onto a hard surface covered with several sheets of aluminum foil. Make certain that you leave an inch or two of foil around the edges so that when you place more foil on top you will be able to seal up your little package nice and tight (this will make more sense later on…just do it people!). 🙂

Step 3: Create a design with your rusty stuff.

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Step 4: Once you are happy with your design, carefully lay your second piece of fabric on top. Please note that you only need to do this step if you are rust dyeing two pieces of fabric at the same time. If you are only dyeing one piece, skip ahead to step 5.

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Step 5: Spray with a 50:50 vinegar and water solution (optional – I just wanted a bit more moisture to hasten the rusting process). Lay more foil over the top and seal your edges being careful not to disturb your design.

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Step 6: Place something heavy on top to insure good contact between your fabric and your rusty stuff.

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Step 7: Wait two or three days…if you have been reading this blog then you know how much I love to wait! :/

Once you have achieved a deep rust color (which took nearly 3 days in this case), open up your package and let it air dry completely. Some folks say to let it “cure” for 24 hours but I’m really not sure how crucial this is.

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So pretty! I’m wondering how it will look once I remove the metal pieces…

Step 9: Remove your metal bits and iron for 3 minutes to set your design.

Ackkkkkkkk! I forgot this step! I’m not certain how much difference it will make?! Hopefully not too much!

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Step 10: Soak in a bath of warm water and salt (1 tablespoon of salt to 1 gallon of water) for 15-20 minutes to arrest the rusting process.

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Step 11: If you are happy with your design then give it a quick wash, let it air dry and iron if needed. I felt like mine would look better with a dip in some black tea. As you can see I used the expensive stuff (about 20 bags because why not?).

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They’re starting to look grey! Nice!

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Step 12: Soak until you have achieved your desired color bearing in mind that the color will be quite a bit lighter when dry (I let mine go for approximately 4 hours). Squeeze out your fabric, hang to dry and iron to set the color. Last but not least, give it a quick wash in a mild detergent until your water runs clear, hang it to dry and iron (again).

Here they are. What do you think?

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I think they’re lovely. I like the juxtaposition of the silk with the rust as well as the somewhat graphic yet abstract design. I feel like the grey plays nicely with the brown and gives it a more polished look. For my taste, the rust against the white came off a bit too rustic (no pun intended!). I also like that although the pillows are very similar, they don’t completely match.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial! Please feel free to comment or ask questions and please click the Follow button to receive regular posts.

If you would rather buy then DIY go here.

6 thoughts on “Rust Dyed Pillow Covers”

    1. Thanks Christine, I hope that you get beautiful results! I rust dyed some cotton and it wasn’t very successful. The print wasn’t as clear and the fabric just looked dirty. However, I have seen some pieces online that turned out far better, so perhaps I did something wrong. I would love to hear how it turns out! ☺

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    1. Hi! They can be hand washed with a mild detergent. The rust is completely permanent. The tea dye is slightly less permanent meaning that if you washed it with something like oxy clean it would probably fade. But with gentle and minimal washing these guys should stand the test of time. 😊

      Renée

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