Monday, April 30, 2007

experiment in rust

I didn't have much energy for art this weekend, but I did experiment by concocting this solution that's supposed to "rust" objects. I've been wanting to do some assemblage and thought a rusted Altoid tin would be a nice starting place.

The recipe is equal parts of vinegar and household bleach. I used white vinegar. DO NOT TRY THIS INDOORS!!! Well, I guess you could; it doesn't seem to be volatile, but the stench is horrific. I did this outside and was still almost overcome by the fumes. Even my dog did not venture within five feet of the stuff.

I separated the parts at the hinge, poked some holes in them with a nail, haphazardly sanded the surface, submerged the pieces, and waited for the magic. Oh yes, I placed a rusty nail in there, too, which is supposed to accelerate the process. Two days later, this is what I got. What looks like rust is a runny slimy brown goo. There's a bit of oxidation around the edges, where the sandpaper bit more deeply, and where I scratched with the nail, but overall this is not what I expected. I'm letting the pieces dry to see if the goo will harden and/or stick to the metal. If not, I will probably sand a bit harder and try again.

I don't know what to do with this stinky pan of bleach and vinegar. I don't think it would be good to dump it on the ground or put it into the sewer system. I could let it evaporate, I guess. I don't know if I want living creatures to have to inhale the stuff. If I knew it wouldn't explode if put into a glass jar, I could do that and drop off at the hazardous chemical place. I should have thought of this beforehand.


lee said...

Thanks for leaving the nice comment on my blog. I was looking at my altoid tin tonight thinking I would like to do some kind of collage thing and make it old looking. I dont know if I will try your process, but it seems intersting.'

wastedpapiers said...

Hazel - the Mother Of Invention - went to a workshop in Norway where they did some natural metal colouring with all kinds of stuff- grass, tea bags, urine, wood shavings, potato peelings etc. They just wrapped the organic matter round the metals (brass and copper colour particulary well ) and buried in in the ground for a few days and dig it up again as far as I recall. I dont know if it would be less stinky but worth a try! It might even rust too!

Yoga Gal said...

Cool blog! you attempt at getting that rusty texture. Namaste.