Rusted paper for Joint Project.

Not all rusted items are equally useful for staining paper, which is far more difficult than dyeing fabrics. As most know getting a blackberry stain out of a cotton T shirt can be difficult because the material absorbs the juice very easily.

The following suggestions are ways I have rusted paper but are no means definitive. There are lots of suggestions on the web but many keep the really useful techniques to themselves,

##  care must be taken when using some of the methods which might be toxic.

cotton rag
Paper :  is more difficult to manipulate to the same satisfying degree.  This is largely dependent on  the fibre make up and quality.

Obviously 'Cotton Rag' will work beautifully as it is a printmaker's favourite being very absorbent. Unfortunately  It is also rather expensive. But as with any artwork you get what you pay for.

Another printmaker's favourite is the somewhat cheaper Somerset Velvet.  This is less robust than the rag but has equally  good absorbency .  Other watercolour papers can be used (even cartridge paper) but they contain 'size' which has to be soaked away before use.  The heavier the paper the longer the soak.

The Soak :   50% water to 50% mordant ( White  Vinegar) 

In a flat tray for 2-5 hours depending on thickness.  Before use dab off excess fluid with paper towels.

Using the right rust 

I take much ridicule about extolling the virtues of   'fluffy rust'    But.......not all rust detaches from an  object  to the paper in the same way. 
( this is one of the secrets you do not get on the Internet)

The rusty metal objects take a week or two of preparation to enable them to release their rust,  before even thinking about what paper to use. 

By far the best rusty item to use is an old cake tin....these were obtained from charity shops.  Give them a good scratch with a screw driver or scissors to break the seal.  Fill with 50/50 water and white vinegar and  they will start to rust in no time.

Other items
( trick : spraying regularly through the day with 50/50 solution helps things along a bit faster.)

As you can see from these pictures there are different coloured areas of rust.  It is the bright orange we are aiming for. 

Rust can take several weeks to develop so be patient.  Also once it detaches to the paper it has to be grown again.  Usually this reactivation is much quicker. 
(4-5 days)

Transferring rust to paper :

This part of the process is quite easy as most of the time you sit back and wait.

I have collected various 'heavy' items of rusted metal over the past few years, some bought in second hand shops from old tool boxes and others donated by friends.

These are used to weight down the paper onto the base of the cake tin or flat sheet.
Stack  as many rusty items on top of the paper that will fit 

( trick  : use old teabags to fill in the spaces. Tea and rust combined give you a very dense black effect )

Then everyday spray paper and items with 50/50 liquid,  enough to dampen but not flood. 

If it rains hard and fills with water just empty out,  do not let it drown. 

Keep this up until you can see the rust staining the paper,  approx 5 days.

Then let it dry out completely.  Only  then remove items and peel away paper from the base.  The result should a beautifully rusted double sided sheet. The hard part will be  deciding which side to use.

It is a slow process so will take some time to collect several sheets of rust paper to work with.

The joint project of a 'hanging' will obviously take until next year to complete but should be well worth the effort.

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