Learning how to make a rag rug out of fabric is a simple and fun way to recycle and repurpose your old t-shirts, jeans, bed sheets, sweaters, and any other colorful fabrics you have on hand. With just a few supplies and little time, you can create your own beautiful, handmade rugs.
The first step in learning how to make a rag rug is to gather your rags or fabrics. It is important to make your rug out of only one type of fabric. Mixing different types of fabrics may result in a patchy or uneven rug. Hooked rugs are best made from old woolens; t-shirts and knits are great for crocheted rugs; and braided rugs made of wools are very durable.
Next, launder your fabrics in hot water and dry on a hot setting. This is very important because it allows all the shrinking to occur before you make your rug. Be sure to color coordinate your fabrics, so they do not run when you launder them in the future.
Once your fabric is ready, you will need a scissors and ruler. Depending on the type of rag rug you choose to make, you will also need heavy thread, an extra-large crochet hook, a latch hook, a sewing machine or a weaving frame.
Types of Rag Rugs
When first learning how to make a rag rug out of fabric, the easiest rug to make is a braided rag rug. For this rug, the only supplies you need are a needle and thread. Start by cutting your fabric into strips that are equal in width. Next, sew the strips together, and make them into three long strips. Braid the three strips together. Sew the braid together into a circle until it becomes as large as you would like.
Making a crochet rag rug is very simple for someone who already knows how to crochet. Cut your fabric into equal width strips. Sew the strips together at the ends to make one very long strip. Rolling the strip into a large ball makes it easy to use. Then, using a single crochet stitch, crochet the fabric into the rug shape of your choice.
Latch hooking is a very simple technique, which can be used to make a rag rug. You need a hook and a blank mesh canvas that has at least one-fourth inch openings. Cut your canvas into the size of the rug, and cut your fabric into strips that are a one-half inch wide and threed-fourths inches long. It is imperative that they are all the same length to avoid having to trim uneven ends later, which can be difficult and time consuming. Next, sketch the design you would like to do onto your canvas, and hook your rug using your rag strips.
The sewing machine technique for making a rag rug is fun and easy. Start by cutting the fabric into the size strips that you would for the width of your finished rug. Sew any shorter pieces together until all strips are the desired length.
Next, pull the ends of the strips slightly so they curl along the long edge. Lay the strips side by side with their ends even. Using your sewing machine, stitch the strips together perpendicularly. Keep sewing as many parallel lines as are necessary to cover the entire length of your rug.
For the woven method of making a rag rug, you need a weaving frame. If you don’t have a weaving frame, you can make one from an old picture frame. Start by cutting your fabric into strips that will be the width of your finished rug and sewing any shorter pieces together. Prepare your weaving frame by driving nails or screws for each vertical warp string. Once you have strung the warp strings, weave the rag strips and tamp them snug with a rod or dowel. Continue weaving in each rag strip and then tie the ends off firmly when you have reached your desired length.
Caring for a Rag Rug
Rag rugs can be cleaned in the same manner as other rugs, but use extra care when cleaning a rag rug made with delicate fabrics. If you can fit the rug into the washing machine, use cold water only, a mild detergent and no bleach. The first time you wash your rug, pour a cup of vinegar in with the detergent to help set the dyes. Hang it to dry. If your rug is too large for the washing machine, spot clean it with a mild soap when necessary. To clean it, shake it outside to remove any loose dirt or debris, and use a vacuum cleaner attachment, if necessary.
Learning how to make a rag rug out of fabric is a great way to recycle old clothes and linens, and save memories of the past. A well-made rag rug can last for many years.