Thursday, February 9, 2012


Oh, my goodness. What fun! I have been rusting watercolor paper and experimenting with encaustics. For my first rust experiment I layered damp watercolor paper and metal washers and sprinkled some recycled tea over the paper and let it do its thing overnight. The results weren't bad.   Then I decided to try using the whole tea bags sandwich between the layers of paper. Meanwhile on the bottom side I layed out some steel wool fibers. Next morning... nothing. The tea bag part was pretty cool but no change in the steel wool. Humm... oh, add salt and vinegar!  I put a tiny bit of epsom salts on the tea bag side along with a dribble of vinegar and wow. Things started happening. See the 3rd picture.  I think perhaps the best part is what happened to the paper towel  I was using to hold in the moisture overnight (bottom images). What color!!

Top photo:
strip #1 - just the tea bags
strip #2 -  metal washers and tea sprinkles
strip #3 - the encaustic experiment with sumi-e ink, watercolor and beeswax

Photo #2:
strip #1 - black and white swirl - more encaustics
strip #2 - rusty washer rings and tea sprinkles
strip #3 - whole tea bags, epsom salt and vinegar (stuff bleed through from the back experiment?)

Close up of the tea bag, salt, & vinegar

This strip was the steel wool, vinegar and epsom salts experiment

Close ups of the rusted steel wool on watercolor paper
and below the paper towel.

Don't you think a trip to the metal scrap yard is in order?


  1. Jan these experiments are fabulous!!!! Yes, scrap yard! I love to go to metal scrap yards, they are so fun. I covered a couple of pages with coffee the other day, really soaked them after I drew designs with tape so when the tape comes off there is a wonderful bloom effect, would work as well with tea. Really love you effects with tea, salt and vinegar, what great colors, and perfect to go with the whole encaustic painting. Rock on girlfriend.

  2. Oh yes! This post has me so jazzed! I love rusting, dyeing, and otherwise making a fabulous mess of paper. I think I've found a kindred spirit. I've got several rusty bits that I'm saving to make my "rust bath" but I'm not getting the right process I think. Had to laugh with comments above - I had a coffee day the other day and LOVE what came out but have (again) major process challenges. Perhaps we should start an email "rusted stuff" group?!! Congrats on your beautiful work. Tell us more!

    1. Thanks Margo and Hollis. I do have to admit yesterday as I sipped my coffee I was eyeballing the grounds, giggle. It is only a matter of time before I begin grabbing people's cups as they hit the dregs in an attempt to make drangles.