Scrap Happy Stitchbook

This month’s Goody Pack from The Stitchbook Collective, is all about dyeing and staining.

beach finds

It probably comes as no surprise that I have a Rust Collection. These are all pieces I have gathered over the last 5 or 6 years whilst beachcombing.

I have been waiting to use them for dyeing fabric, but every time I looked online for instructions, I came across confusing information, so didn’t have a go …. until now!

Helen Birmingham’s written instructions are clear and run alongside a helpful video tutorial. This gave me the perfect kickstart. You can still buy the kit in her online shop.

I relished getting each rusty piece out and arranging them.

flat lay

enjoying the texture and colours.rusty nails

Then the happy task of wrapping them in white-vinegar-soaked fabric.

fabric dyeing with rust

Leaving them overnight was a challenge – I’m SO impatient

Some were stacked on a trivet above my cooling wood-burning stove to speed up the process

rust dyeing stack

I also stained a few bits of paper for collage at the same time.

oven rust

The larger pieces were put on top of vinegar-soaked fabric and put it in the oven.dyeing with rust

I put the oven on the lowest temperature for just five minutes and left for a while, repeating this several times, sprinkling with white vinegar to keep it moist.

rust stain

The grid effect came from a disposable barbeque mesh, that had been left on the beach.

rust dyeing

Fun!nails in calico and curtain lining

Nails wrapped in strips of an old calico curtain and the lining were my favourite little experiments


My intention was to dye strips of fabric and embroidery thread to use in textile artIMG_6874

– but I loved the look of the wrapped nails so much I have kept some of them wrapped

wrapped and rusted

and will use them as they are.

To preserve them, I have painted them with some old acrylic varnish found in the garage, left by the previous owner – it must be at least 15 years old, but it did the trick.


So exciting.

This is a little stitched sampler that will go in my Stitchbook.

textile art for The Stitchbook Collective

I am enjoying this so much!

Joining Kate for her monthly Scrap Happy get together.

There are lots more Happy Scrappers to check out as well.

Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
MoiraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

Have you been creative with things destined for the scrap heap? If so, leave a link in the comments of Kate’s post and join in the fun.

46 responses to “Scrap Happy Stitchbook

  1. These are cool. I recommend wearing gloves and having an up to date tetanus shot,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely wonderful❣️❣️❣️ Thank you soooo much for this. Have wondered about getting rust onto fabric ever since I read a costume designer used rusted fabric for its’ effects. It should work with any natural fibre, like silk, wool, cotton, and cellulose viscose. No?
    Again, thank you 🥰 ❣️ 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So creative. Amazing what can be done

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oooh what beautiful metal!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. oh, what fun. the fabric is just begging to be stitched on. Can’t wait to see what you do with the wrapped nails. I’ll be on the lookout for rusty bits.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful idea, I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You always amaze me!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You’ve been having a lot of fun! And there’s more to come as you use your rusty fabrics in future projects. 🙂 Is there any concern about the rust damaging the fabric over time, like the old dyes that were used in silk?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We soak the pieces in salty water to fix the dye and then rinse thoroughly. I’ve no idea about what happens over time, but as I will be using the fabric for decorative stitching any further decay will only add to the charm, if it occurs.


  9. You have attained some wonderful effects with your experiments – who knew vinegar infused cloth could become so attractive! I’m looking forward now to seeing what happens next……..

    Liked by 1 person

  10. They look like little mummies – all ready for a little sarcophagus!

    Liked by 1 person

    • HaHa! Yes, I see what you mean – others have said they look like dead fingers, archaeological finds and people walking across a desert – I love how we all see different things.


  11. I would have had no idea!! LOL!! That you would ever do this!! How delightful!
    My problem is that we own 19 acres in the woods with 20th Century metal items buried EVERYWHERE! (think dryer parts, motorcycle windshields, car
    parts) My son uses a metal detector so we can pull out some to take to the dump. But I’ve developed a hate for this rusty stuff.
    A lot of your stuff looks interesting and much older. I could develop an appreciation and enjoy what you are doing with you lovely finds. But I’ve hated ours so long now. Even in our yard in the City where we live, 100 year old nails show up from farm buildings. And I’ve never been excited to see one! Ha! Ha!
    Thank You for sharing this and opening my eyes and mind to the beauty I see in yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you got something valuable from this slightly crazy bit of creative experimenting. About 20 years ago I went to stay on a little small-holding and there was masses of rusty bits and pieces lying around. Using a couple of large pieces and some old chain, I made a sort of mobile/windchime to hang in a tree, with smaller pieces dangling from them – the owner was delighted.
      I have always had a ‘thing’ for rust. 😉


  12. who’d have thought that playing with rusty nails could be so much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow! Love the final piece, looks quite an exciting box this month – I’ve still to start mine!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Gorgeous effects, well worth the strain of exercising patience. I particularly like the piece with the bbq grill and the wrapped nails have a very Japanese look, somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. How amazing, I shall look forward to seeing how you else use the fabric, it’s come out beautifully. CJ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s so inventive. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What a great use for all those rusty bits and pieces you found. I love tea-stained fabric but had never thought of rust staining. I think the wrapped nails do indeed look fabulous and will work really well in various projects.
    The little sampler for your stitchbook project is a perfect reminder of your rust experiments too.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Absolutely fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

I love your comments, keep'em coming :-)

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