02 May 2013


My friend, Marcella, goes to Florida for a few months in the winter. She saw this workshop on making rusted scarves for $60. I thought that was a bit much so I told her to wait and we would make them when she got back to Maine.
She returned a few weeks ago to open her cool store in Rockland and a few days later she came up to rust away.

I have these cool caribou cut out of sheet metal (a wind chime) and they were very rusted. I thought they would make good candidates to rusting a scarf. I laid the caribou on the end of the scarf, folded the silk over top and placed another caribou til I had all four caribou touching silk. I covered everything in vinegar and left it outside. I also did the same thing with cut up tiny bits of steel wool from the hardware store. I laid that scarf on a sheet of poly film, covered it all in vinegar and closed the film over the scarf loosely.

The next day Judith came to play and I decided to wash out the rusted scarf. When I went to unwrap it ONE caribou and a half (yes, a half) was rusted and there was nothing from the other end of the scarf. Maybe it needs oxygen??

I was so excited to see just a great rusted image

That was it. One and a half Caribou (boo!)

Nothing on the other side. I put the caribou back in the silk carefully lining them up but the next day had nothing but a stain.

 Ironed out (good end)
Ironed out blob

That same day I checked inside the poly with the scarf with the steel wool bits and almost nothing. I figured I would throw it away. The tiny steel wool bits were all over the kitchen and getting stuck in my fingers - yuck!! I wasn't interested in washing out all those bits and nothing much had happened so I was bored. A few days later I went out to pick it up, drain in on the lawn and throw it in the trash when I saw this dark deeply rusted "thing". I laid it out in my driveway and used a high pressure washer to get the bits off. NOT MANY BITS left. They had rusted away for the most part. This is the scarf washed (a lot) DRY and ironed.


  1. So you see rusting needs time, I like to doo it with cotton fabrics and than I let it stay for at least vour days and than I wasth the fabric in my machine on wool temp.

    But I like the last photo.

  2. I didn't have much success either. Carefully arranged old pins for my family history project - really not much good at all. A friend used rusting powder through stencils and that worked very well indeed. But I wanted actual 'prints' of old pins and needles. Back to the drawing board with that one.
    Still got plenty of vinegar in my bottle though!

  3. The second scarf just turned out beautiful. I love its delicate pattern.

  4. Be careful handling the rusted items... you said the bits were sticking to your fingers, and that can cause some health issues. I used to follow a blog about rusting, and after doing some experimenting I decided it wasn't worth the effort. I do love your final results though! I got some nice impressions tying fabric around a piece of rebar...

  5. Oh, I love the one you were going to dispose of! (But Judy is right--iron overload in the body... not a good thing... Skin. Airborne rust particles too.)


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