Love the look of rag rugs but dislike the store price? Today I’m going to show you how to make rag rugs with a simple tutorial!
How to Make Rag Rugs
As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve been very excited to get moved into our farmhouse since we basically found out we didn’t have any other options. But even though that was the case, we are determined to make the best of it that we can.
Previously to moving into our camper, we sold everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. Everything that we did not use on a daily basis, all furniture, all decor, and anything extra that couldn’t fit in the rv (some clothes, books, ect) was sold. I didn’t think anything of it because at the time we planned on living in the camper for a few years while we traveled and then moved it onto some land.
Well, I guess not everything turns out the way we planned so here we are, 9 months later in our new home without anything much for it and without any money to buy things for it. You might think that this was a depressing scenario for us to face but as I mentioned above, we are bound and determined to make the best of this, no matter what. I’ve been raised as a hardy South Dakota girl. We make the most with what we have or we simply do without.
One of the things I wanted for my new house was some pretty rugs. I had one large area rug that we had in the camper that I put in the living room but that was it. So one day I wandered into the thrift store and headed over to the bedding department. Although you can generally find fabric at the thrift store, if it’s large quantities you are wanting, go for the bedding section. I picked out a king and a full sheet with patterns that I felt went together and paid a whole $1.50 for the both of them. I headed home with my new-to-me sheets and made them into this beautiful rug for our home.
It was incredibly cheap (for a nice rug) and not very hard to put together. It did take some time but it’s something you can work on during these cold winter evenings. I plan to make more as I find more sheets so we have pretty rugs all throughout our new house. Here’s a tutorial on how to make rag rugs so you can make some too! I suggest doing this while listening to Pa’s Fiddle Band cd for full “homesteading” effect. 🙂
How to Make Rag Rugs
What You Need:
- Rags, Old Clothing, Old Sheets, ect
- Sewing Machine
I found 2 old sheets at a thrift store in good shape. They were both flat sheets (which I would recommend, you can use the others but they would require more cutting, this was easy!). I felt that both sheets were complimenting colors so they would go well together
Start by cutting a small strip on the end of the sheet (lengthwise, not across). I made mine about 1 1/2 inches wide but yours can vary depending on how tightly braided you want your rug to be. Once you have this little slit made….TEAR! You can rip right down the sheet to make your strips without cutting and they will stay the same width.
Keep tearing strips from the sheets until you have as many as you want. I completely tore up both my sheets into strips because I wanted a fairly big rug for this one.
Then take a pull all the frayed strings off the edges of each piece. Make sure you keep your strips as clean as possible because these will really mess you up while you are braiding.
Take 3 strips and make a knot at the end of them. Then take the end and hook it around something to create some tension on your braid. I used a safety pin and hooked the ends around a cabinet handle.
Then braid! And braid and braid and braid.
It fun to curl up your braids every so once in a while to see how big your rug is getting and decide how many more braids you want to make.
At some point you will need to attach another strip to the end of the strip you are done braiding. This is pretty much the toughest part in the whole rug! Cut a small slit in the end of both the strip that is ending and the strip you want to add.
Pull the strip you want to add through the slit that you made in the strip that you are adding to.
Bring the other end of the new strip up and put it through the slit on the new strip to make a loop.
Pull the piece through the slit until you have a very loose knot. I found that it was better to not tighten it up otherwise it created large lumps in the rug.
Then just keep on braiding until you have a long enough braid to make the size of rug you want.
Time to sew! Set your sewing machine on a loose and large zigzag stitch. Curl the rug around its-self and sew the braids together. Only do this if you have a heavy duty sewing machine that is built for sewing thick fabrics. If you don’t have one of these or don’t have a sewing machine at all, the best option is to hand sew the braids together. This is just as effective and usually quicker than sewing these with a machine!
I love these rugs and the way that they look around my home. I also love that they can be made for next to nothing!
Need another craft project to make? Head over to my Crafts and Homemade Gifts page!
Do you make your own rugs? Have you ever tried to learn how to make rag rugs before now?
This post on How to Make Rag Rugs was originally published on Little House Living in November 2013. It has been updated as of December 2018.