Instructions on how to make a rag rug out of strips of materials as suggested by the ThriftyFun community. Post your own advice here.
My mother taught me how to make rag rugs when I was a child. You take scraps of material that you want to use and make three separate, very long strips. Each strip would be a piece of material tied together at the end by a knot. The three strip lengths should be equal in length, and the length would be determined by how large you want the rug to be. You could always add at the end if it is too short. You can also add as you go as long as they are equal in length to make it easier. Now that you have the three pieces, you start braiding like you would braid hair. Form braids in a circle and when you are through, you would tack them together with a heavier thread or yarn, etc. You can also use masking tape to hold it until you get it tied. Have fun!
I love rag rugs! I learned the simplest crochet chain stitch from a friend, and I crocheted 2 rag rugs out of old tee-shirts. I cut a long strip of cloth out of each tee-shirt to use as yarn, about 1/2 inch wide, and on a spiral from the bottom of the shirt to the top, all in one continuous long "thread". Then I roll that up for a "ball of yarn" to crochet with.
I have made a circle rag rug and a rectangle rag rug this way. They are multi-colors (no patterns) and all from tee-shirts. They are sturdy and wash up easily in the washing machine. I highly recommend the person who wants to start with rag rugs try making one like this...it's easy and looks nice when finished. (10/05/2001)
For rag rugs that absorb water well (best for bathrooms and in front of the kitchen sink), try using stripes of old sweaters. This does need a little prep work with the sewing machine. Cut the strips about 2 in wide and zig-zag around the outside of the strips (this prevents any runs that will develop. Braid the strips together. When you get near the end of the strip (I recommend 2-3 inches from the end), take another strip and encorporate it into the rug. When you reach the desired length (I believe about 5 feet), stay stitch the ends to prevent them from coming apart (this step is not required but if it is your first one, it helps). Begin to turn the one end of the braid to create a spiral. When the spiral is completed, stay stich in frequent intervals. I personly prefer to zig-zag stitch it on the machine, it stays in place and withstands frequent washing.
You can use strips of cloth as "thread" and do counted cross stitch on latch hook rug "fabric". Nearly any cross stitch pattern would work, but one with large sections would be best. Perhaps a large heart in the middle of a simple geometric background. Draw it out on graph paper if you'd like to design your own pattern. (07/02/2005)
By Leigh Ann
My husband's grandmother used to tear strips of fabric into strips approximately an inch or less wide. Then she would roll the fabric into balls. She would crochet this "yarn" into an oval or circular rug. To add to the rug, she would stitch the new strip on to the just finished strip of cloth and continue crocheting. For the outer border, she would use the "pineapple stitch" to make it pretty. These rugs need to be washed by hand and hung out to dry, for best results. (12/15/2006)
The rags needs to belong to the same washing instructions or you might have shrinkage and color transfer problems later. Been there, done that. :(
My mom and I made rugs by sewing strips together and crocheting them.
I found complete free instructions for toothbrush rugs, plus traditional hooked rugs and many many other homemade rugs on the website for Rugmakers Homestead. This is a wonderful site, with a "tour" of all the kinds of rugs thrifty women have made for centuries. If you need instructions, this is the place to go!
Go to the website called yarnloversroom (http://www.knitting-crochet.com/pattern.html) I got my pattern from there and it's brilliant. I've used it so many times. It is so quick and easy.
First thing you must do is decide what type of rag rugs you want to make. There are ones that are woven on traditional looms, ones woven on a basic flat homemade loom, hooked rag rugs, braided rugs, crocheted rugs (in several different stitches and shapes), ones made on a rug canvas (kind of like a needlepoint backing), old spool-like looms that make circular yo-yo circles that are stitched together (NOT like the yo-yo quilts), and some that are pieces stitched to a cloth backing. I'm sure there are others that I've not mentioned here.
Look through books, flea markets, etc., to see what type you like, then look for instructions. It's kind of hard to explain how to make them when one is not sure of the type you're wanting to make. Some need special equipment (looms, hooks, needles, etc.).
Also, the best type of fabric to use depends on the type of rug you want to make -- hooked rugs are best made from old woolens, ones woven on looms are great made with cottons, crocheted rugs work nicely when made from old t-shirts or knits, braided rugs made out of wools last forever, and so on. Also, I've found that ones made from cottons or sheets last longest when the strips are sewn together end-to-end rather than pulled through loops/slits or tied -- they seem to hold up through more washings.
I absolutely love rag rugs and have used them for almost 50 years. They are a fantastic way to recycle outgrown, unstylish, stained, or ruined clothing and get something usable. A lot of work goes into them, so make sure you make a style that will work both for you and the fabric you have on hand. (01/02/2007)
Feedback about this article is posted here. Want to contribute? Click above to post feedback.
By debra 04/03/2010
I went to a home and garden show in St. Cloud Minn, quite a few years ago. There was a woman there that had a flat loom with nails on it and used strips of material both up and down to weave a rug. I lost her card and can't find anything close. Does anyone have this pattern? Thanks.
By Shanny (Guest Post)02/08/2009
I found some youtube videos and an explanation that show you how to make a toothbrush rug:
It looks really easy!
By chas (Guest Post)01/22/2009
Am looking to make a rag rug the easiest way. I like the braided way but how wide do I cut the material to do this. I know it's 3 very p long strips and you tied them together by a knot. But how wide is the I strip. Pleases if anyone knows?
By (Guest Post)12/28/2008
This site link below has instructions for creating the toothbrush rugs and has a couple of pictures that help out - along with a picture of the toothbrush needle beside a toothbrush for a reference point.
http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/shows ... cle/0,2045,DIY_15079_2502122,00.html
By sandy (Guest Post)09/08/2008
Does anyone have a copy of the easiest rug pattern, I could have. Thank you so much.
By Karen M. (Guest Post)08/27/2008
I have looked at all the sites recommended and did not find instructions on any of them. I only found descriptions of the rugs, no instructions on how to make a toothbrush rug or what the toothbrush should be shaped like.
By Leah (Guest Post)01/19/2008
Thank you SO much for the instructions. They will really help!
By Debra Williams 11/16/2007
THANKS SO MUCH TO EACH OF YOU THAT SHARED YOUR IDEAS! THESE WILL BE MOST HELPFUL.May God bless each of you.
By email@example.com (Guest Post)11/15/2007
I love all the directions listed, but need to please know what size needle I need to have to crochet a braided rug, and other things or thought that come to mind. Question: I'm LEFT handed, does this make any difference? Thanks Linda
By LITTLE SUZY 10/27/2007
HERE'S ANOTHER THING TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN ORDERING PRECUT AND PREFOLDED FABRIC STRIPS......THE PATTERNS I USE ARE FOR A SIZE Q CROCHET HOOK. IT TAKES 16" OF FABRIC TO MAKE ONE DOUBLE CROCHET. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I'M SAYING......IT TAKES A LOT OF STRIPS TO MAKE A RUG. BE SURE YOU KNOW HOW MUCH TO GET WHEN ORDERING SAY 50 YDS. OF STRIPS. YOU'LL NEED MUCH MORE TO MAKE A RUG. SOMETIMES THE INSTRUCTIONS WILL CALL FOR SO MANY LBS. OF STRIPS ROLLED INTO BALLS. BE SURE THE PATTERN TELLS YOU EXACTLY HOW MANY LBS. YOU NEED FOR WHAT SIZE YOU ARE MAKING. FOR INSTANCE, I HAVE A PATTERN FOR 4 CHAIR PADS, IT TAKES 3 LBS. OF STRIPS, AN OVAL RUG 25" X 32", IT TAKES 4 LBS. OF STRIPS, A HEART RUG 36" X 24", IT TAKES 350 YDS. OF STRIPS.
By LITTLE SUZY 10/24/2007
Remember too..........when making a rag rug if you use fabric in a piece then cut into strips, you'll need approximately 10-13 yds. of material to make a decent size rug, maybe 36" dia. And if you sew shorter little strips together you'll need lots and lots of scraps. I have made many of these and love them. The tee shirt rug takes about 11 mens tee shirts to make a good size one.
Add your voice to the conversation. Click here to share feedback.