How To Make A Rag Rug

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 6:39 am on Sunday, November 2, 2014

[New England Quilter]

I’m considering making a rag rug. The idea is that you use strips of fabric to make a rug. I’ve never made one before, but it seems like a cool project and a great way to re-use old (read: baby) clothes.

There are all kinds of ways to make a rag rug. They can be made with a loom, a sewing machine, braided, crocheted, knotted, and so on. After some research, I’ve narrowed it down to a few techniques:

1. Braided.

[Home Things Past]

There are two types of braided rugs. In one, fabric strips are braided together until it forms a rug, usually a large oval or circle. Here is a tutorial.

Alternately, you can braid the fabric in one long rope and then sew it together as a rug, like so:

This last method is a lot of work, but it also gives you leeway for manipulating the rug to look the way you want.

2. Crochet.

[Debs Crochet]

You use a crochet hook to crochet the rug. This video shows how:

I’m not very good at crocheting, but this method seems to yield consistently attractive rugs.

3. Knitted.

[Mandy Gerth]

This technique uses knitting needles. It seems to work well for square or rectangular rugs. Here’s more on knitted rag rugs.

4. Loomed.

[Old and Interesting]

As you might expect, you use a loom to make the rug. Most commercial rag rugs are made with looms. But as I don’t have a loom, I’m probably not going to go this route.

5. Woven.

The fabric is criss-crossed the same way thread is woven to make fabric. Usually these rugs are rectangular or square and have tassels at the end. Here’s a tutorial.

6. Latch Hook.

With latch-hook rugs, the cloth is cut into 1 X 5 inch rectangles and knotted onto a non-skid rug mat, like so:

According to this site, “for a thicker rug, knot along every line or knot along every other line for a thinner mat.” (Reminds me of these t-shirt rugs.)

Have you ever made a rag rug? Tell me about it.


Comment by Shari Harniss

October 2, 2012 @ 5:33 am

I haven’t made one yet, but I think I will attempt to crochet a rug this winter. I’ll start small, and if it doesn’t drive me crazy i’ll do a bigger one!

Comment by Sandra

October 2, 2012 @ 7:01 am

I’ve made a hooked rug, but with yarn, not fabric scraps. It’s fun to be able to make your own design (abstract or geometric or pictorial)!

Comment by janelle

October 3, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

Ive made a crocheted rag rug. I love it the only thing i don’t like is the cutting of the 1″ strips very annoying. But after convincing my husband to help it was a lot better.

Pingback by Savvy Housekeeping » From Shoes To Barrette

November 20, 2012 @ 7:56 am

[...] also happened to have a black tee-shirt cut up because I am making a rag rug. To make the barrette, I first glued the tee-shirt on the barrette with a hot glue gun. Then I cut [...]

Pingback by Modern Rag Rug: the beginning | A Simple Modern Life

June 30, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

[...] The other day I was inspired! I was perusing the internet looking for a textural, vintage inspired, colorful rug for the seating area in my great room. I know it may seem like a contradiction in terms to want something that is both modern and vintage, but that is my style! Needless to say, I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted… well, at least not in my price range. I thought to myself, “self, you are lviing in a 1920 Bungalow, think 1920′s” I came up with the idea of a rag rug. I started doing some searching online and saw mostly the traditional, concentric color band designs that have probably already popped into your head, like this one; (photo courtesy of the blog Savvy Housekeeping link) [...]

Comment by Janice H

January 5, 2014 @ 9:31 am

Hi, I’m making a rag rug right now – it’s on a handmade loom. I’ve seen it called twining but I don’t think the technique I’m using is actually twining? Does that make sense? I’m using a technique I found in a craft book. My husband and I made the loom out of strips of wood and lots of nails on the end strips. You can see the technique here: The sell the looms if you’re interested.

Comment by Joy C

November 1, 2014 @ 10:17 am

I’d appreciate suggestions for finishing the back of #6 above, the rug with the little girl sitting on it. It was very time consuming but well worth it and it needs a nice backing. I left an edge of about 1 1/2 ” all the way around. Thank you.

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

November 1, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

Joy C, here’s a link that might help: Good luck!

Comment by Sandra K

November 3, 2014 @ 10:15 am

What they’re calling knotted is what I would call latch-hooked (as would the other Sandra). I’ve made one to my own design, and like the flexibility that is available. How “puffy” it is would depend on the size of the pieces of fabric you use for each “knot”; you could use narrower than 1×5 rectangles for something more rug-like than the example given.

Search quilting websites for hints on cutting strips of fabric for whatever method you end up using – it’s the most fiddly (and boring) part of the process.

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

November 3, 2014 @ 10:20 am

Thanks for the correction. I made the change in the post.

Comment by Sheila palmer

March 2, 2015 @ 12:24 am

I’m just about to embark on this project I have so much fabric ,mainly curtain material,around and wonder what would be the best way to use it and if it is at all suitable
Your advise would be appreciated.
Many Thnks

Comment by Savvy Housekeeper

March 2, 2015 @ 8:55 am

Sheila Palmer, I don’t see why not. Sounds like a great idea.

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