CAUTION...wear rubber gloves whenever coming in contact with rust. That's a universal suggestion no matter what instructions you read.
Here is my rusty stash outside. Whenever I find another worthless piece of junk with rust, I toss it here.
Use a shallow flat-bottomed plastic container with a lid (mine is about a foot square, from Target, around $6) and a plastic spray bottle (also from Target for 99 cents). Line the bottom of the container with a piece of fabric to be dyed, 100% cotton is good.
Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in the spray bottle and spray the fabric in the container until it's saturated.
Lay rusty items of your choice on top of the sprayed wet fabric.
Put another piece of fabric to be dyed on TOP of the rusty items, and spray again until that piece is also wet. Then cover it all with plastic (Saran Wrap works) and push down in and around all the rusty items for the fabric to make good contact around them. Then close the lid and put in a warm place. This is how it looks before closing the lid. I put mine near our heating vent.
After a few hours, rust starts to dye the fabric (exciting!). You can quit then for subtle rust-dyed effects, but I left mine until the following morning to get darker results.
When you want to stop the dyeing process, take the box next to a sink and start to remove things beginning with the covering of plastic, which goes in the trash.
Then remove the first layer of fabric laying it in the sink.
Soak the two pieces of rust-dyed fabric in salt water (15-30 mins) to stop the rusting process before washing them (in the washing machine is fine, I put mine in with dark laundry).
In the end, here is something like you may have on your two pieces of rust-dyed fabric. I started with peach and yellow cotton fabric. For the most dramatic results, I like using white.
I love doing this, and I find myself looking for rusty things everywhere I go. Now for the biggest challenge -- deciding what to create with my new rust-dyed fabrics!
PS...if your rusty objects are too large to lay flat like in this tutorial, you can wrap your vinegar/water soaked fabric around them, tie with string, and put into a plastic bag for dyeing. The tightly tied string produces a very interesting striped effect. I will show that result in my next post, a shorter post, I promise!