Rag Rug Project: Completed! (plus a tutorial)

Well I previously posted about my Rag Rug Project and it’s progress, well it has finally been completed!

It took quite a while firstly just because it was quite large and fiddly, but also because it was quite difficult to find periods of time to actually sit down and spend a decent bit of time working on the rug. But now it is done and I’m really happy with it!

(In fact I even contemplated the idea of starting another one for my Mum, but I think I would need to get a different type of backing for it – and she wants to see how well it reacts to being walked over/vacuumed first) 

So how did I do it?

First of all I got my backing ready, I used a burlap sack which I found on sale in a charity shop, opening it out it was a nice size for a rug. Although I would definitely advise using something which has a little bit more solid a backing… if only because it makes feeding the fabric through the backing so much easier. If I do it again I think I will buy a plastic rug backing which has squares already on it.

Here you can see the sacking with the first few edge pieces through it

There are a few different methods to ‘tying’ the fabric pieces through it. Firstly you can either do a woven rug where you use longer pieces and weave them all the way across the rug, or you can do hooked rug where the strips are hooked through individually, there are also other methods such as braided rugs or crochet rugs which don’t involve the use of a backing material.

The rug that I decided to make was a ‘hooked’ rag rug, where I took strips of the fabrics and hooked them through sections of the backing. For attaching them you can either double knot the fabrics individually, or the method I used: you double the fabric strip over a hook (I used a bun pin), pass it through the backing and back to the top side and then pass the ends of the fabric through the loop which was created over the hook, then you pull it tight, and voila. It won’t necessarily hold tight forever, and could probably come undone, but it seems to have worked fairly well, is quite quick to do and I think it will feel nicer underfoot than the knotted method.

For the strips themselves:

Some of the fabric used in my rug

I started out wanting to complete the whole rug using just fabric from old t-shirts so it could actually be a rag rug. But it turns out I had definitely underestimated the amount of t-shirting material that it would take compared to the types of t-shirts that I had (polo shirts don’t work quite so well), and that I had rather a yellow selection of old t-shirts to use up… so I ended up buying some t-shirting material from fabricland in a variety of colours to supplement the old t-shirts that I had to recycle.
This allowed me to have a really nice mix of colours, plus it feels soooo soft.

All cut into strips

The fabric was then cut into strips. Depending on how think the fabric was I usually cut them about 1″ wide and then pulled them to get the edges to curl in slightly.

The strips were cut to approx 6″ long, although this did vary a little depending on how many strips would fit into the width of the fabric.

It doesn’t really matter if some strips are wider/narrower than others but try to keep them fairly similar. Also the same with the length, since it’s all fairly random in the rug you won’t really notice if a few a different lengths.

Now for the making of the rug! I had my rug making kit which comprised of the fabric, scissors, a large bag containing the strips, the rug in progress and the all important bun pin which I used to feed my fabric strips through.

I started by going round the edge and then filling in the centre. I think to start with this made me feel like I had done more in the early stages, but I would advise starting at one corner and making your way across. That way if you decide it’s taking too much time, you can always cut off/resize the backing without too much hassle. Or if you do it like me you have to just slog it out till it is done…

Don’t go all the way round the edge!

The colour make-up of my fabrics did change throughout the making of the rug and I did go and adjust a few strips towards the end to even out the colours, but actually since the colours are so ‘random’ anyway it doesn’t really show the changes in colour distribution. This might depend on how much of a perfectionist you are though, I’m surprised with how little I needed to change it.

I did try to make sure that I didn’t have the same colours next to each other, but other than that, I just picked a random colour from my bag and looped it in to the next bit of the backing. When you have lots of neighbouring pieces it does get a bit more difficult though.

Starting to get there… still a long way to go…

It definitely did take a while to complete it all, but I definitely think it is worth it. I now have the rug in my bedroom at the end of the bed and it gives a nice pop of colour and feels really good under my feet when I wake up in the morning!

Ta da! Done!


Leave a Reply