Making a Rag Rug

Category Rugs
What better way to reuse and recycle a variety of used fabric than to make a rag rug? This is a page about making rag rugs.


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Using old tee shirt scraps I used to make a t-shirt quilt, I made a crocheted rag rug. My rug is 40 inches in diameter.

Approximate Time: 10 hours.



  1. Cut 1 1/2 inches wide strips from tee shirt scraps. Sew the ends together.
  2. Roll up the strips into balls.
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  4. Chain 4. Join with a slip stitch.
  5. Chain one and single crochet 12 stitches in the chain 4 circle.
  6. When you get to the beginning of the first row, join with a slip stitch and chain one.
  7. Crochet two single crochets in each stitch and join with a slip stitch when you get to the beginning of the second row. You should have 24 stitches.
  8. Join with a slip stitch. Chain 2.
  9. Double crochet in first stitch and 2 DC in the next. Crochet in this pattern all around and join with a slip stitch as before.
  10. Continue increasing at regular intervals for each row. Continue around as big as you want until you are out of strips.
  11. Slip stitch into the first stitch of the last row you did. Cut the strip. Fold it back under a loop and hand sew so you cannot see it.

By Little Suzy from Millbury, OH

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October 24, 2007

Instructions on how to make a rag rug out of strips of materials as suggested by the ThriftyFun community. Post your own advice here.

Make A Braid

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!

By agatrel

Crochet Together

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's easy and looks nice when finished. (10/05/2001)

By Ness

Rag Rug Out Of Sweaters

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.

By the_mouse_2b

Cross stitch On Latch Hook Material

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

Grandmother's Crochet Technique

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)

By AnnMel

Use Fabrics With Similar Washing Instructions

The rags needs to belong to the same washing instructions or you might have shrinkage and color transfer problems later. Been there, done that. :(

By Holly

Sew Strips And Crochet

My mom and I made rugs by sewing strips together and crocheting them.

By bobbie

Free Online Instructions

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!

By Mary

Yarn Lovers Room Pattern

Go to the website called yarnloversroom ( I got my pattern from there and it's brilliant. I've used it so many times. It is so quick and easy.

By cettina

Advice About Techniques, Fabric and More

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)

By susan

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I have just joined the site and thought you might like to see a rug made from recycled fleece jackets. They are very cheap to buy in the charity shops, there are some brilliant colors and make a super rug.

Rag Rug From Recycled Fleece Clothing

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I crocheted this small rag rug out of 2 nighties, 2 tee shirts, and a pair of knit shorts. It measures 28 inches in diameter. I love working with old knit clothing because the edges do not fray.

Finished rug.

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This is an image of a picture I did using the same technique as the rag rug using narrower strips.

art piece using hooked rug technique

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 17, 2008

I have just taught myself the basics of making a rag rug using a knotted method, rather than crochet (because I'm not really sure how to do that) but for all the fabulous instructions I've found, there is nothing that tells me how to make it lay flat, without making the outer stitches huge. How do I make it flat and keep the stitch continuity?

This was the link I used and the basics were really easy to understand (except for that whole laying flat thing).

Claudia from Morrisville, PA


September 17, 20080 found this helpful

I had the same issue on mine I made from old flannel plaid sheets i used. It turned out wonderful but wants to rise up in the center much like a bowl with sides. I laid a heavy item on it for days and it helped some by still not completely flat. I hope someone post the fix it answer on your request.

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September 17, 20080 found this helpful

You might try steam ironing it. Mist lightly with water, then
place a towel underneath and iron it directly on the floor.

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By Judy Bond-Tucker (Guest Post)
September 17, 20080 found this helpful

If you are trying to make a round rug you have to increase the amount of stitches at the ends. When you go around the end of the rug put two stitches in every other stitch until you get back to the long sides. It is much easier to do a square or an oblong rug rather than a round or an oval rug.
Good luck.

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By suzin (Guest Post)
September 17, 20080 found this helpful

I have made quite a few crochet rugs from rags and the way I done it is lay the rug down quite often to see if it is staying flat. When ever it looks like it is going to start turning up I crochet a extra crochet stitch in the same hole. That will make the curved areas lay flat. Probably several extra stitches in every round. A time or two when I had a bowl I would wet the rug and lay it down, patting it down till it lays flat, and then let it dry that way.

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September 17, 20080 found this helpful

I've done the same technique, when making grass, fiber, rag or coiled fabric baskets. What I did was just add another stitch every 4 or 5 stitches all around the whole thing whenever I wanted to increase OR, do the regular stitch for 3 or 4 rows, then do 2 stitches in a hole every other stitch for one round, then go back again to one stitch per hole for 3 or 4 rounds (It's kind of like crocheting a hat with a flat brim or a flat doily). You'll need to mark where each new round starts with a bright piece of yarn or a safety pin. This way you'll know when to start or stop increasing... You said "I've found, there is nothing that tells me how to make it lay flat without making the outer stitches huge. How do I make it flat and keep the stitch continuity?" My answer would be to do 2 or 3 regular stitches instead of one huge one. (It looks like the blue rug in the picture is a bit "floppy" around the edges)

Getting your rug to lay flat is the problem with nearly ALL rag rugs. I had the very same problem with the first one I made & also with crocheted rugs or even crotched blankets that I've crocheted in the round. It's really all about getting the right amount of tension & fabric around each successive round. When it comes right down to it, you either end up with to little on the edges & end up with a bow shaped rug, or to much fabric or yarn on the edges & end up with a rippled effect.

As you are making your rug, you have to be VERY careful & check out the lay of the rug EACH time you go around. Just lay it on a flat floor & see how it's going. You may have to add more fabric (or more crochet stitches if you're crocheting it) or less.

As far as fixing one that's all ready completed, the only thing you can do is either dampen it then set something heavy on it until it's dry. You'll need to put a large garbage bag that's been cut open (to increase the size) or some kind of plastic tarp on the floor, then above the rug to prevent damage to your floor. Set something heavy on it until it's totally dry. You may be able to get by with just spraying a bit of water on it, but I think you'll have to completely wet it, then leave it to dry as you would when setting your hair.

If it was made of wool, you could block it with pins & then steam it with an iron. These may force it down. But, this technique won't work if your fabric is polyester or not a "natural" fiber. When it comes right down to it, if your finished rug is not laying flat you'll probably have to rip some of it out & start over again. Before you do something that drastic, why don't you take a look at some of the sites below & see what info you can get out of them. I believe the top URL is what you are looking for, but also, click on the second URL, then look to the left on that URL & you'll see a whole list of rug info you can click on. Also, click on the "Amish Knot" on that same site.






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January 20, 2013

My round rug (3 ft in diameter) is really puffing up in the middle. It seemed to be laying flat while I was working on it. Then the farther I got from the middle it started poofing up, cone shaped. I have read about misting, wetting and putting heavy objects on it. I was wondering if it would be possible to take the center braids loose and re-lace it working from the poofed part backwards into the center. Is that too crazy or would it work?

By Sue S. from Knoxville, TN

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February 2, 2010

How do you make a rag rug or a tied rug?

By Penny from Watson, LA


February 3, 20100 found this helpful

You usually need a loom to make a traditional rag rug. However I have seen a charming rag rug made using crochet. First you make strips out of the rags and attach them end to end. Next you take a large plastic crochet needle and crochet the one long strip. You can make round/oblong rugs by single crocheting in a circle/snail pattern. Or you can make rectangular ones going back and forth.

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February 3, 20100 found this helpful

You can cut rags into long pieces about 2 inches wide & plait them as in hair. Lay them in a circle then sew them together by hand with needle & thread, good luck.

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July 14, 2009

How do I make a rug from material?

By CA from Simi Valley, CA


July 15, 20090 found this helpful

I watched a series of videos on Youtube which explained the process very well.

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July 16, 20090 found this helpful

I have a Word document that shows photographic step by step instructions. If you're interested, click on my contact button here and I can email it to you.

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July 16, 20090 found this helpful

The only requirement for this sit-on-the-couch project, is that you need to know how to crochet, just a single crochet, a chain stitch, and a slip stitch.

I make cotton rag rugs. I get material for these anywhere it is cheap: yard sales, salvation army, linen closet, ads in the paper(you wouldn't believe the things that people give away for free), etc. sheets make excellent material for rugs. They are sturdier than regular material. They're cheap at yard sales and the salval and you can always ask around if anybody has any they want to get rid of. Plus, they have nice length. I mix different patterns and colors together when I sew my strips. Again I make them into balls. You can sew tubes with these or tuck in the salvage edges as you crochet or not worry about the edges, thus giving it the raggedy, frayed edge-look, rag rug. Once you have collected an array of colors, you can make them in shades/patterns of blue or green. I have done varieties of colors and patterns and I have also done specialty rugs to match the shower curtain and window curtain that I made for my bathroom in blues and yellows.

you can do a trial project to see if it's for you by making a hot pad trivet. rip your material in 2 1/2 inch to 3 inch wide strips. snip the length end of your material every 2 1/2 -3 inches and start tearing. and you're basically ready to go. connect your strips, make your ball, and start crocheting. you can go back and forth, flipping your rug, or you can crochet solely on the top side, hooking into the outer edge of the stitch in the row below.

here is a site that shows you how to connect your strips without sewing them together. so you could rip your strips, connect them and ball them up all from the couch if you'd like.

i have a large wooden hook(R to Q size) that i use to crochet around a chain of my choice. if i want it round, i make a chain of 5-6 stitches, hook it at the one end like the center of a granny square, and go from there. i do a single crochet stitch, putting in a slip stitch around the "corners" where you can visibly see the stiches from the row before do not line up with the row you are working on.

i can send pictures of some of my rugs if you'd like. feel free to contact me through the group or at my personal email address

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April 7, 2009

I am looking for instructions to crochet an oblong rag rug.

By Dee Hafemann


April 7, 20090 found this helpful

I don't know whether oblong means rectangular or oval, but here are instructions for making an oval crochet rag rug.

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April 12, 20090 found this helpful

Decide on the width and length, and just crochet a beginning row, turn and crochet back and forth. You can change fabrics to create stripes, or just crochet until you run out of one fabric, then add another color. I like to use knits from old t-shirts and use a half double stitch.

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January 9, 2012

Does anyone know approximately how many tee shirts of varying sizes it would take to make a 6X9 foot recycled rug, the kind that's looped through a grid backing? I'll cut the strips 1X 4 inches, as suggested.

I just need to know if I've set my size sights too big. Would 100 tee shirts make this size?


By Patti S

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Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this page.

I like to crochet rag rugs out of fabric scraps. However, you always have to deal with the edges fraying. I got an idea. My husband had about 11 old colored cotton tee shirts. I cut them up in 1 1/2 inch strips going around and around (the fewer strips you've got, the less sewing them together you have to do). Then I crocheted them into a round rug. I think it turned out beautiful. I use it on the side of the bed. It matches everything.

By Donna from Millbury, OH

Finished project.

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These are rag rugs that I make and sell. They are around my house on all of the floors. We enjoy using them!

By Susie Graham from Enumclaw, WA

Circular rag rug.

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May 20, 2018

According to many crafters, when you are cutting the fabric for your rag rug project, cut it lengthwise. Although cutting on the bias may reduce fraying it can cause the fabric to stretch more. This page contains some tips for cutting material for a rag rug.

Rag rug closeup.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

July 14, 2009

I would like a simple example of how to lace a rag rug. Thanks.



Simple Rag Rug Instructions

Darla, I make rag rugs all the time, but don't know if I can explain this in an e-mail. Here goes, I'll try. These are called "toothbrush rugs" and maybe you can find some more info on the Internet. Your tool is the handle of a toothbrush. Cut off the brush part. Sand down one end to a dull point. Drill a hole in the other end. Now you have a big plastic "needle".

Tear your fabrics (cottons and cotton blends) into strips about 1-1/2 inches wide. To attach your strips together: cut a slit about 1/2 inch long in the ends, pull the end of piece A through the hole in piece B, then put A's tail through the slit you cut. Tug gently to snug them up. Start with putting 2 strips together. Fold it in half so you have one strip for your "base" to work on and thread your tool through the end of the other.

The general idea here is to make blanket stitches onto your base thread (and later on, also the row below). Add more strips as necessary as you work. At first, like many needlework projects, it is very awkward. You're only working on one strip of fabric and it curls and is unruly. But persist. When you get it as long as you want, put a few blanket stitches in the end to turn.

You can make these square, oval or circular. I like the ovals best. Work down the other side, and now you'll see that you put your needle into both the base strip and the row below. You judge as you go how many stitches you need to keep it flat. The biggest problem seems to be getting too many stitches in there and it makes the rug ruffly, so be careful and lay it on the floor often to be sure it will lay flat for you.

These are very heavy nice rugs and wash well in the washing machine. Hang them over the banister to dry. They last for years. I hope I didn't make a mess of these instructions. It's easier to learn something if you see it done, that's for sure. If you have questions, post them and I'll try to clarify.


By Jayne

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