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.

Sun Printing with Dye-Na-Flow

So here I go with another new technique! The first time I did this it didn’t go so well, mostly because I failed to follow the directions. Hopefully things will go better this time.

This is a sun printing technique using a fabric paint called Dye-Na-Flow. According to the Dharma Trading website where I purchased this paint it is a “thin, free flowing concentrated color that works on any fabric.” I had it on hand because I had used it to do some marbling (another tutorial?). According to what I read, you simply paint it onto some fabric, place a mask of some sort (stencil, flowers, rocks, whatever) on to the fabric and put it in the sun. The magical part is that wherever you put the mask the fabric will return to it’s original color. I have no idea how this works but it’s super cool!

As I said, my first attempt with this technique didn’t work out so well. I painted a white silk scarf with a combo of white and black paint and then placed some rocks on top to create a pattern. The pattern was just okay. The rocks left a less defined print than I would have liked and I didn’t do a great job of smoothing out my fabric so anywhere that there was a bump or wrinkle was imprinted! Yikes! When it was dry I hastily scooped it up and rinsed it (before checking the instructions). Apparently, I was supposed to wait 24 hours and then iron it for 3 minutes before washing it. So, not surprisingly a lot of the color washed out. Here are a few pics:

Now for round 2!

Materials:

  • white cotton pillow cover – or fabric of your choosing
  • Dye-Na-Flow paint
  • mask or stencil of some sort
  • sunlight 🙂
  • Derwent Inktense color sticks – optional

Tutorial

Step 1: Pick a piece of fabric and give it a quick wash to remove any schmutz. Then smooth it out REALLY well. You don’t want to have any creases because as you can see from the pics above, they will show up in your final result.

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Step 2: Paint your fabric with Dye-Na-Flow making sure to cover it well. I’m using a blank white cotton pillow cover that I purchased from Dharma Trading.

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Step 3: Add your stencils or “masks.” I am using stencils that I made from hot glue (I see another tutorial headed your way!). I played around with the design until I was satisfied and then I put it in the sun until it was completely dry.

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This is how it looked when I took off the stencils. Interesting that it isn’t solid black around the zipper even though I put a lot of paint in that area. Apparently, it needed more! Some of the edges are also a bit lighter then I would like. The pattern is kind of interesting, but I’m not in love with it.

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Here’s the back side. I made sure that it was saturated with paint, so I’m not certain what happened here but it’s kind of cool.

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I really wasn’t happy with how this came out so I did a little embellishing.

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I used these to add the color. Better.

Step 4: Let your fabric “cure” for 24 hours and then iron on high for 3 minutes to set the color. Wash with a mild detergent until your water runs clear. Hang to dry and iron.

Here’s the finished pillow:

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As you can see, some of the color washed out. I don’t mind that it’s more muted but I’m not gaga over it. It looks more “craftsy” than “artsy” to me but I think that this technique has potential and I will very likely revisit it at some point. Thanks for hanging out with me! I would love to get your thoughts on this one. 🙂