Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rusting Fabric?

Every great inspiration is but an experiment.
Charles Ives

What I worked on over the weekend..... For a very long time I have wanted to learn to dye my own fabrics; the problem is that I am not sure where to begin.  Lately, there have been lots of magazine articles about natural dyes and natural methods of dyeing with objects.

 I receive the Australian magazine 'Embellish' (a wonderful magazine for textile artists!) , which includes many articles about shibori techniques. In Issue #2, there was an article about using bottle caps to create cloth.  One of the first steps in the instructions is to place your prepared bottle caps wrapped in fabric into caustic soda.  It mentions that this is something that you can find in the laundry soap aisle at your grocers. This seems not to be true in the United States; I have looked at grocery, big box hardware, family hardware, and farm supply stores- all with no avail.  I am going to Amish country in a couple of weeks and will try there!
So, I decided to put my fabric with rubber-banded bottle caps in salt water.  Every day, I poured boiling water over the top.  After a week, the only rusting I had was on the edges of the caps (Yes, I was impatient and only gave it a week).  I have removed the bottle caps and you see the end product at the top of this blog AND I love it!
Bottle caps wrapped in fabric
I am not stopping there, I have now purchased muriatic acid to soak the bottle caps; hopefully this will take the sealant off the caps so I can have fully rusted fabric on the next go-round.

Bottle Caps Soaking in Salt Water
Stay tuned for further bottle cap dyeing.

Have you ever tried any natural dyeing techniques? 


  1. What a wonderful effect you got! I have been wanting to play w/ drying more. Thanks for the great idea.

  2. Thanks, Katie. I, too, is hoping this will get me dying much more!