4 Binding Techniques to Rust Dye Cotton Fabric | Kathy Johnson | Skillshare

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4 Binding Techniques to Rust Dye Cotton Fabric

teacher avatar Kathy Johnson, Artist/Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Intro to the class

    • 2. The supply list

    • 3. What is rust?

    • 4. Where do you find rusty metal?

    • 5. Getting started

    • 6. Technique 1 - fold & wrap bundle

    • 7. Technique 2 - rolled bundle

    • 8. Technique 3 - item placement

    • 9. Technique 4 - shibori style bundle

    • 10. Are they ready yet?

    • 11. Final thoughts

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About This Class

Welcome to 4 Binding Techniques to Rust Dye Cotton Fabric!

If you like to experiment with new techniques and have a love for fabric and earth tone colors, you are in the right place. In this class, I will teach you how to create rust stain patterns on cotton fabric using four different binding techniques. You will learn about oxidation and what conditions are needed for this rusting reaction to take place. With just a few household supplies and some rusty metal you can create unique designs that will inspire you to use and show off your newly dyed fabric in a variety of ways. By the end of this class you will have an understanding of the rusting process, know four ways to bundle fabric pieces for dyeing and have four finished rust dyed fabric squares, each with a different pattern.


You’ll enjoy this class if you like to:

- Sew

- Stitch and embroider

- Naturally dye fabrics

- Make quilts and wall hangings

- Craft and create DYI projects


No previous experience is needed

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kathy Johnson



I'm Kathy, an artist, and teacher living my best creative life in coastal southeastern Connecticut. I have a passion for plants and gardening, paper, rusty metal, creating a second life for all kinds of items by repurposing them into my art, and crunchy peanut butter (only the natural kind will do!). 

As a teacher, it gives me great joy to share ideas and information that may help guide you to follow your own artistic voice and make amazing art that inspires you. I hope you will always allow yourself the gift of time for creative play.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of your class projects so please take a photo of what you've made and share it in the projects section of this class. I love seeing what you do and it could be just the spark of inspir... See full profile

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1. Intro to the class : Hi, I'm Kathy Johnson. Welcome to my very first skill share Class four binding techniques to rust I cotton fabric . I'm an artist in Teacher, and I work mostly in the mediums of collage ICO printing. I love experimenting and trying new art forms, and over the past year or so, I've rediscovered my love for embroidery and working with fabric. In this class, I'll show you how to use rusty metal pieces to create beautiful patterns on fabrics. These are two examples of patterns that can be made. This is just a small part of my collection of rusty metal. I'll share my favorite places for finding rusty metal so you can get started on your own collection. You don't need a lot of metal to get started, and the best part is, once you find some, you'll be able to use these pieces over and over again. By the end of this class, you'll know for different ways to bind fabric with metal and be able to create patterns that are completely unique to you. Your class project is to take one of these techniques that you've learned and make a rust. I'd fabric square. There's no previous experience needed. If you like working with fabric and trying new things, I think you'll really enjoy this class. I hope you will join me and start making your own rustic fabrics. 2. The supply list : in this video, I'll show you all the supplies you'll need for this class. If you would like a print out of the supply list, which will also include the recipes for the two solutions that will be using you confined A . Pdf that you can download in the project section of this class. The first thing you want to be sure to have before getting started is a plastic cover to protect your working surface. I like to use shower curtain liner, since they're inexpensive and easy to find. Or a plastic tablecloth would be fine, too. You don't want to use paper because the wetness of this process and the rust will go through and staying the surface of your table. I had a little visitor stopped by. That's my cat Tigger. You'll need a measuring cup to measure the amount of water and still white vinegar. The mixture ratio is 1 to 1, and you'll need approximately four cups of each. Next, gather up a variety of rusty metal pieces. Any combination of these will do. Some large and small boats will use those for making the chivalry style bundles washers of all sizes for use in the item placement technique nails for the item placement technique and for making the role bundle and so random shaped pieces of all sizes. These are perfect for the folding wrapped bundle. You'll need 4 to 6 squares of cotton fabric. They can be any size that you like, but for the demonstrations, I'll be using squares that are approximately nine inches by nine inches. You confined cotton Muslins in any fabric store. White or the cream color is fine, and you can choose any weight that you like light, medium or heavy weight. If you would prefer to use repurposed materials, a thrift stores a great place to find items like placemats, napkins, sheets or table claws that can be cut up or used as is whatever fabric you use. I would suggest that you wash and dry them first to make sure that there's nothing on them that might interfere with the dying process. If your fabrics are new, they will have sizing in the material, and sizing is a resident solution added in the manufacturing. To make it look and feel nice and crisp, you need a plastic been large enough for soaking and rinsing your fabrics you don't want to use a metal container from past experience. I know it's not a good idea to use anything that might react with the acidity of the vinegar and aluminum container I used once ended up full of holes and the liquid leaked all over my table for string. I use cotton rather than a synthetic material. The cotton string will take on some of the rust color, so I like to save it to use. In other projects, rubber bands can be used in addition to or instead of the string and sisters. You just need those for cutting the string. Find a plastic or glass container. An old dish detergent container or little spray bottle like I have here works really well. This is to save some of the vinegar and water mixture to keep your fabric bundles damp. You'll want some gloves to protect your hands while working with the vinegar solution and the rusty metal. The last thing you lied is some regular table salt approximately two tablespoons or you can use two teaspoons of baking soda. These are interchangeable. They both neutralize the acidity of the vinegar and also help to stop the rusting process. 3. What is rust?: So what exactly is rust Rust? This nice, orangey brown color on these pieces of metal is an iron oxide that is formed when iron or steel corrode for corrosion toe happen. The metal needs to be exposed to water and oxygen. This could be a slow, gradual process. So in this class will be adding some vinegar to the water we use. The acidic nature of vinegar will help speed up the rusting process. 4. Where do you find rusty metal?: My favorite way to find metal is while I'm out taking a walk. I'm always amazed at the stuff you confined on the side of the road. Some days I don't find anything, which is okay. I still get my exercise in. And then some days I hit the jackpot. Like the day I found these eight pieces, all in less than one hour. Ask friends, relatives and neighbours. Someone knows someone who has a stash of rusty metal in the basement or their garage. Once people know you're looking for rusty metal, if you're lucky, you'll start getting gifts. That's how I've acquired a good part of my collection. Another sources. Antique junk Stores. Do you know those ones that leave all kinds of items outside, no matter what the weather do you have a restore near you? Restores are independently owned Rio stores operated by the local Habitat for Humanity organizations. They're great and very inexpensive. Source. I found all kinds of rusty metal there, including a can full of nails, washers, nuts and bolts, and even this giant pair of garden clippers. 5. Getting started: to get started. We need to make a water and vinegar solution to soak the fabric and in a container, mix equal amounts of water and vinegar. I've already got four cups of water measured in this container here, and I'll add that to the bin Mr Out four cups of vinegar. Add the vinegar and mix it around just a little bit. Add your fabric squares and you want to squeeze them and just push them around it. But you want them to get completely saturated. Then is your getting ready to make your bundles? You'll be removing the fabric pieces one at a time, and you'll want to squeeze out any of the excess liquid. You want the squares to be damp, wet but not dripping when you're wrapping the fabric with the metal. After you've made all of your bundles, you'll want to save some of this water and vinegar solution in a small bottle or container . This will be used to spritz them and keep them damn throughout the day or two. It will take for the rusting process to work its magic 6. Technique 1 - fold & wrap bundle: the first technique I'd like to show you. I call the fold and wrap technique. So with your gloves on, because you're working with vinegar and rusted metal, you're gonna take your first fabric piece that you've soaked in the vinegar and water solution. And it should be damp wit not super wet. Like if you give it a little squeeze, you shouldn't be seeing any water coming out of it. So we'll just open up that piece. And then out of all these random shaped pieces of metal that I've collected, I'm just going to start putting some on here. I'll just pull it over a few more things. Maybe some of the The wire is really nice because you get nice little squiggly lines when you use the little pieces of wire like that and just kind of just randomly put things in and wrap and roll unfold. Then I'm going to take some of the string I have here and then just start tying it up, making, making it a bundle and you want to tie. This is pretty tight because you're going to get your best rust marks where there's good contact between the fabric and the rust pieces. So I'm just going to start rapping pretty tightly back to where I started so that I can hide that together and just cook that piece, make a little not in there just so that it holds together. And there you've made your first bundle. 7. Technique 2 - rolled bundle : second technique I'd like to show you I call the roll bundle so we'll take another piece of fabric that's been soaked in the vinegar and water solution. And I've got a lot of nails here, and they don't all have to be the same like this. If you've got other long, flat pieces, you can use a bolt like that and I have these thin, skinny little things. I actually I didn't know what these were. For the longest time I found these on the road and somebody told me that they are little blades from the street sweepers that go by. So I thought that was pretty interesting. So I'm gonna lay the fabric out, and I'm just gonna start placing some of the nails here. And I keep them all going in the same direction because I'm gonna be rolling this up, just randomly placing. I'm going to start rolling it as I put them on there. I had a few more. Just keep rolling. Just a few more to get all the way to the end. Okay, so that's all rolled up. And now I can that one just stay in there. We'll get some string tight on the very end and then just start rolling wrapping rather than a string around the bundle, keeping it pretty tight. Just going all the way to the end, keeping it as tight as you can. Local that tight. And there you have your second bundle. 8. Technique 3 - item placement: the third technique I'd like to show you. I call the item placement technique and it's It's not a bundle you won't be using String to rapid, but you'll need two pieces of fabric about the same size in the soaked in the water and vinegar solution again. And I have just a little piece of cardboard because once we put this down, it's not gonna be like a tight a bundle where you can just move it. You're gonna want to keep it on some kind of a surface. So I have nails and some washers and some anything that's kind of flat will work for this technique. I have this piece here. I don't even really remember where I got this. I just know that I found it in my garden shed one day, and this piece over here would probably make a really interesting prints. You could just put that on the fabric and this piece I found just last weekend I was in the best buy parking lot, and it was just sitting there on the ground and I'm going to work with just washers and nails. I think for this piece, so I'm just going to start taking washers, and I think I'm gonna make, like, an arc pattern on here and just start placing them on missing all different, different sizes. And then I'm gonna take some pieces of for just some nails rather and start placing them around. Design on here kind of adjusting, adjusting it as I go, because once we get all of these pieces on here where we want them, we're going to be using the second piece of fabric to cover this so that you're gonna end up with two pieces of fabric that we're gonna have pretty much the same design on them. Okay. And then I think I'm going to put actually one of replace those with longer number nails here. And then I think I'll take this big washer that I have and just kind of put that in middle like that. And I'm going to take my second piece of fabric. Just lay it top and kind of smooth it down because you want to have good contact. You want to place a dance, you can kind of see the metal pieces through there. And that shows me that I've got good contact between the the metal in the fabric cause that's that's the only places that you're going to get your rust designs showing up when you have contact between the fabric and the metal. So then you can just take this piece here and put it with your other bundles. 9. Technique 4 - shibori style bundle: the fourth and last technique I'd like to show you is called the chivalry style. Or if you've ever done any tie dye and you tie dying, you probably are familiar with this technique. So I'm going to take a piece of fabric. We are going to be making a bundle and using string. But if you wanted to, you could use elastic bands for this to wrap up your bundles. But the reason I like to use string is because the stream will also get rusted so you'll get some string that looks nice and rusty like this, and you can use this in different projects for maybe embroidery. So I like to use bolts for this, something that's kind of long and thick pieces of metal. And what I'll do is I'm just going to take it and put it in the middle here and bring my fabric ends up and meet them here in the middle and then just kind of pull that all together like this, and then I'm going to take some string, tie it at the top here, and then wrap it slightly way down to the end. Okay, so that's the 1st 1 and I also wanted to show you, uh, you can use multiple pieces on there. So this is a piece of fabric. This is one of those pieces that I got a thrift store. Little handkerchief, I think, or napkin. And I'm going to use a couple of the shorter bolts that I have, and I'm just gonna maybe do three of them. And you work on different parts of this, so I'll pull that one over. Maybe for this, I will use a couple of rubber bands just so I can show you how that works. And you can just put the rubber bands around their and wrap it up, just like just like you were using the string. Make sure it's pretty tight. Otherwise, you might not get enough rust marks on there, and I'm gonna open it back up and just place another two on there. I'll pick this one over here again. Just bring the fabric. And along there and another rubber band and one more backup 1/3 time, I'm just gonna put one more here. Take third rubber band. Just read fats. Toughest, tightly. And she didn't get that river man to go all the way down to the to the end. Okay? And you've got a second bundle with the chivalry style, just with three different bolts in there that I used. So now you have all of your bundles done. We have the 1st 1 that we did. That was the Golden Raft. And then we have the role bundles that we did with the nails. Then we have the item placement one and to show Bori style that we did. So you're just gonna want to put these someplace. I like to keep them in my basement because, you know, it can be a little bit messy, So you wanna be ableto have it someplace where you can leave it out, and then, really, you should kind of check on it if you can check on it twice a day because you want them to stay damp because if they dry out than the rusting process is going to stop. So what I try to do is check on them twice a day like, oh, go in the morning and then in the evening and I keep some of the water in vinegar solution in just a And although this is a dish detergent bottle. And if it's starting to dry out and then you can just spritz it again and get them wet and then let them city, and it's gonna take a couple of days for the rust to start showing through. So in the next video, I will explain to you how you'll know when they're ready to unwrap. 10. Are they ready yet?: So how will you know when you're bundles are ready to be unwrapped? Well, I think it's pretty easy to tell if they look like this. With all of this rust showing on them, they are ready to be unwrapped. The's here only took about two days to get this rusted. But if yours air still very light and you don't see much rust on them than you can let them sit as long as is needed until you do see the rust that you want to have on the on the material. So let's start unwrapping these and see what we've got here. This one was the item placement where we used to pieces of fabric. So you can really see that those metal pieces that rusted right through there, that's with that. That's the one. The one piece there. And then we'll be take off the other pieces of metal here you can see. But the other one looks Those were those two. So next, all undo the chivalry. One. I actually did two extra bolts on here after I had finished showing you what I had done on these. So there's gonna be five five markings on this rather than just the three. I'm just gonna cut the the elastic bands to get them off. You see how that really rusted? That actually looks pretty black. Now I have noticed that the environment can make a big difference on how fast your pieces might rust. I know when I do it in the summer time when the conditions air warm and humid, it seems to really speed up the process. And then when I'm doing it in the wintertime, when it's a bit colder and drier, it can take a little bit longer. And the last one on here. Okay, so that's the she Bori style fabric, and you'll be able to see these patterns a little bit better once once they're washed. Okay, This one was the role bundle that I did with the nails in it. - And here's what this looks like. I like this pattern because you get a nice horizontal pattern on here, and here's the second she bori bundle. This is the one where I only use the the one bolt. See what we get on this one. Some of this black stuff is gonna is gonna wash out, but that's the look with the one bolt and then the last one we have to unwrap is threefold and wrapped Bundle and you can see how nice this, uh, the string is here with all this rust on it. Unwrap this piece. This is the one with just random pieces unwrapped on there. It's what that one looks like. The next thing you need to do to get your fabrics ready to use is you need to give them a rinse in and some salt water. So I've got a basin here full of some warm water, and then I have some table salt and gonna add about two tablespoons. Thea Mount isn't crucial. You just need to have about two tablespoons. It's measuring it in my hand there, that's good. And just swish it around. And the reason I'm adding salt to this water is because that will help neutralize the acid and it will stop the rusting process. And then I'm just gonna add all these pieces of fabric in here and just let them get them totally wet and soak in here. And I'm gonna add the string that I want to say. This will put that in there and then you just let them sit there for about five minutes and then they'll be ready to go to the next step. The next step is to wash your fabric and soap and water. If I only have a few pieces like what I did today, then I just wash them by hand. But if I have quite a few or and working with larger pieces, I will let the washing machine take care of that job. After washing, you'll want to let your fabric pieces dry. Here they are all regal, fresh out of the dryer. I like to iron the fabric once it's dried. When the wrinkles are out, you can really see and appreciate the patterns You've created a warning, though. When you're ironing, the rust that's now on the fabric can scratch the surface of your iron. So I suggest that you put another piece of fabric on top of the rusted fabric before you iron them. So here we have the finished pieces, all washed and somewhat nicely pressed. The folding wrapped bundle the role Bondo, both pieces that were made with the item placement technique she Boeri that was made with multiple bolts and the chivalry technique that was made with one bolt 11. Final thoughts: thank you so much for taking my skill share class. I hope you enjoyed your venture into the fabric rusting process. During this class, I focused on using cotton fabric but silk and will also work really well. If you do, try it. Either of those, you'll want to watch your bundles carefully while they're rusting. These protein type fibres are more delicate than cotton. If left too long, you could end up with holes where the corrosion eats right through the fabric. Do you have a favorite out of the four different bundling techniques? If so, I'd love to know which one it is. I love them all, but if I had to pick just one, I think it would be the chivalry style technique. It makes such great patterns that work well with the embroidery that I love, too Dio. If you enjoy this class, I hope you will tell your friends about it. You can follow me on Instagram at Kathy Johnson Art and see more of my work on my website. Kathy Johnson art dot com. Don't forget to share your finished fabric squares in the class project section, and if you take it a step further into perhaps a sewing or embroidery project, I hope you'll share those as well