Since running out of my supply of rust printed paper, I've been meaning to make some more. Seeing my friend Lyn Belisle's recent blog post about her experimentation with rusting for an upcoming workshop she's teaching inspired me to finally get to it. It's kind of smelly and icky which is why I kept putting it off but since the temperature has finally begun to be tolerable, I made it happen. This kind of project is actually perfect for my schedule because it involves a lot of letting things sit around for awhile.
The night before, I threw all my rusty bits in a big bucket from Home Depot. Lots of washers, an old bike chain, gear-looking thingys, coiled thingamabobs and squared nails. I covered it all with a mixture of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water. I left it overnight. The next morning, after I dropped my son off at pre-school, I covered my picnic table with trash bags and then a layer of paper and some fabric (Rives bfk sheets, watercolor paper, rice paper, and a fat quarter of 100% cotton). I spritzed it all heavily with a spray bottle (again with a mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water). I then started to arrange the rusty bits on the papers. Make sure to wear heavy duty gloves like the toilet scrubbing kind. I used my flimsy disposable ones and these did not do the trick. My hands looked and smelled like rusty pickles when I was done. I used a plastic kitchen ladle to pour some of the rust water from the bucket onto the papers but I didn't cover it completely because I still wanted some white to show. I put another layer of thoroughly spritzed down paper on top of everything, covered it all with trash bags, and weighed it down with bricks so that the rusted bits were sandwiched tightly between 2 layers of paper or fabric. I left it all to sit until later that afternoon when my son wanted to go play outside. While we were in the backyard, I peeked under the garbage bags and decided to move some of the metal pieces around to get even more prints on the paper. I dunked them in the bucket again before I put them on, I gave everything a quick spritz and covered it all up again. In the evening, I laid my prints to dry overnight. Since I still had some rust liquid in the bucket, I decided to start another round and let those sit overnight as well. TIP: If you use super flat rusted pieces, you can keep layering the papers allowing you to get two-sided prints. This should definitely be done outside but it's probably a good idea to work on top of a hard surface. Also, I plan on researching de-acid spray products to treat these papers before I use them in my work, something I didn't think to do in the past.