My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tea + Rust = Grey

I've used tannins to turn rust dyed fabric grey or black before.  But I wanted to know if I could control the effect more.  Turns out you can.

I also want to show you one way I use my own photos for quilts, even if the photos aren't perfect.

So, here's a photo of a white faced heron taking off.  Blurry and unclear.  But I can still use it.

First off I print it in greyscale in A4 size.  Then I take a thin black marker and outline the bird.  I refer to the photograph and if something isn't clear, I just fudge it.  Then I take this photo and enlarge it to the size I need.  My printer has a posterise function that automatically resizes an A4 sheet to A2, then I just tape the relevant prints together.

I use a light box (my mac screen makes a great light box!) or a window and trace this onto freezer paper.  An x-acto knife makes cutting out precise and easy.

So now you can paint, or stencil, or discharge or use this stencil however you like.

In this case, I ironed it to a previously rusted piece of fabric.  Then I applied wet tea leaves over the shape.

I didn't want the liquid from the leaves to 'wick' too far under the stencil so I wanted it to dry quickly.  To do this I placed paper towels over the top and ironed it on a hot setting.  Once it was pretty dry, I brushed off the tea leaves, peeled off the stencil and ironed it again.

I'm very pleased with the results!


  1. Love the process. Thanks for sharing Lottie. The result is just so good, so creative!

  2. Also wanted to add that I enjoyed your interesting podcast with Kerry of Tulis. Always visit and purchase at her stand at the show!

  3. I like that effect :) Had my final for the semester today. No idea how I went yet although it seemed ok. Now I get to plan for next semester...


  4. Very cool - I love the effect of the rust.

  5. And so you should be pleased, this is a beauty!

  6. I love how you saw outside the square and used your imagination to the full. Your work inspires me.

  7. Wow! That turned out wonderful. Look forward to your progress.


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