How to: Make a DIY Upcycled Rag Rug

How to: Make a DIY Upcycled Rag Rug

Hi Curbliers! Today, I'm excited to share an easy tutorial on how to make a inexpensive rag rug. This handmade, vintage project can bring some warmth to any room, and will last for a very long time. Plus, they're machine washable, which only adds to their softness. 

Materials and Tools:
  • Old bed sheets (twin size or larger)
  • Scissors
  • Tape Measure
  • Craft Needle (used for sewing through heavy fabrics)
  • Invisible Thread
  • Safety Pin
  • Straight Pins
Due to my frugal nature, I like buy my sheets on sale or from a thrift store. I chose three different colors of sheets for this rug, but you could stick with one or two, or choose as many as you'd like.
Tip: Always wash the sheets before making the rag rug. The sheets should either be 100% cotton or a poly-cotton blend (and the thread count doesn't matter) 
 Step one: Measure and cut a small slit every 3" on each sheet.
Next, tear strips from one end of the sheet to the other.  
 Step two: Safety pin three strips to a pillow, couch cushion or your husband's pant leg, and begin braiding the strips together.
Make sure the end of the strips fall at various lengths. I did this by starting out the first braid with three different strip lengths. When the strip is getting close to the end, cut a one inch opening in the bottom of the strip. Add a new strip by slipping it through the opening and folding down the edge. Continue braiding while tucking the edge underneath.  
After you have braided together all of the strips, make a knot in the beginning and the end.  
 Step Three: Start by pinning from the center of the rug outwards. I decided to stray from the norm and turn this rug into an apple.
Continue pinning until the size of the rug has been achieved. (I roll my braids into a ball to stay organized.)  
Step Four: Hand stitch together each braid with invisible thread and the crafting needle. Stitch back and forth from parallel braids, every inch or so, working from the center outwards.  
That's all there is to it. Enjoy your vintage one-of-a-kind rag rug for years to come. 

Rebekah Greiman is the creator of Potholes and Pantyhose, a web blog dedicated to original DIY projects. Rebekah’s detailed tutorials are written to educate and entertain, while highlighting crafts, home decor, recipes, remodeling and more. See them all at Potholes and Pantyhose.

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Kandy on Mar 06, 2013:

Oh gosh it's me Kandy again, well my hero has me thinking of yet ANOTHER craft project to do with my 3 girls (age 12-29) I have been hanging onto those old sheets of mine for a reason... and now you have told me what it was!  I am so glad I can crate something nice with them! 
Ya know, my mom had a wall-to-wall ragrug installed in our famly home way back in 1962!  Don't know where she found a suplier for one so big, but everyone who saw it for the first time was surprised and thought it was so cool.  Then when I got older and saw the smaller sized area rugs around, it really made me appreciate that wall-to-wall installation my mom had back then!  And you're right; I remember her saying how "It wore like IRON!"  HA!  Well, yet again, another service project idea for me and the girls!  Thank You So Much <3

monica on Feb 25, 2013:

Hi- I'm excited to try this project, if I need to make a very large rug (maybe 10 feet across- and area rug to really warm up a loft-type space) how many sheets do you think I will need? I'm going to crowd source friends for their old sheets- but don't want to overdo it.

Christina on Feb 21, 2013:

Almost bought one of these, but I have three old bedsheets I was going to turn into cleaning wipes, so I guess I know what I'll be doing this weekend.  Thanks for the project!

Rebekah Greiman on Feb 15, 2013:

I tried the zig zag technique & didn't like the look. It smashed the braids down. I wanted it to remain a little "fluffier". Thanks for your observations!

Anonymous on Feb 14, 2013:

Why didn't you just use your zig-zag setting on the sewing machine to connect the braids?

Emily on Feb 13, 2013:

Your cat looks almost just like ours, except ours has eyebrows! :) Love the rug!  Pinned it!

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