Rag Rug Tutorial

~ How To Make a Rag Rug ~
I think I’ve already mentioned that I LOVE watching the Olympics – every sport is so fascinating.  I normally don’t watch so much TV, so I feel like I need to do something while I’m watching.  It had to be something I could sit and hold, that required minimal thought.  This Rag Rug was perfect – I made it while watching last week.  In fact, last summer Olympics I did the same project, just different material – I made it for my girls’ room and I actually like it better than the one I just made, but I wasn’t in tutorial mode back then.  Here’s a visual so you can see how the rug looks in different colors and shape (round versus the oval).
On to the tutorial.  First, gather some fabric – if you go buy it, this project is going to cost more than you want it to.  I suggest using old sheets – keep your eye out for them at thrift stores and yard sales.  The pink/purple is from sheets – the yellow/white is actually discarded curtains I had made years ago to divide a room.  So after finding your fabric you need to get it into strips – mine are about 1 1/2 inches wide but I didn’t measure each one – just guesstimate.  You can cut them, but I found that ripping went much faster.  To do this, just cut  the starts to your rip lines, then rip the rest, as shown.  Then wind up the strips into balls – it’s an extra step but you’ll be glad you did it.
Now I don’t want to scare anyone away, but this is a crocheted rug.  Don’t panic if you don’t crochet – it’s really just making loops using a hook.  You can do it.  Go buy a big hook.  Here’s a video on the basic loops you’ll be making – watching it, you’ll think, “that’s it?! I can do that!”

Did you see where you poke the needle in to grab the loop?  Here’s a picture – usually it’s not so defined, but I stuck my finger in the holes so you could get a good view.  And if you can’t find the exact hole, don’t worry, something close will work.

If you’ve watched the video or noted the picture, you know that I started in the middle of the project.  That’s because I wanted you to know how easy it is once you get started.  The downside to crochet is that the beginning is always the hardest – and who wants to start something they’ve never done at the hardest step? – no one, but trudge through it and it will get easier, I promise.  So here’s the begining, via video:

Once you get a middle to your rug started, you just go along making loops like the first video showed. 
Now, if you glazed over the videos because you know the basics of crochet, then let’s get back to the rug.  Think about running around a track – the person on the outside lanes has to take more steps than the person on the inside lanes to make it around – they can take the same amount of steps on the straightaway.  So you make crochet stitches along the straightaways, but when your making turns (a circle rug is just one big turn) you’ll want to make a chain stitch every handful of stitches – that’s like taking an extra step to make it around.  You make a chain stitch like I showed how to start – you don’t poke into any holes, just make a loop on the strip.
Another thing unique to rag rugs versus normal crochet – your balls aren’t one continuous strand.  You don’t have to sew them together – there’s an easy solution.  You cut a small slit in the end of a strip – then thread the beginning of the next strip through the slit, and fold it over – hopefully you can see how in the pictures on the left.          You’ll have to let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them – obviously I’m no crochet expert (I can’t even remember what this stitch is called – double crochet?) but I’ll try to let you in on what little I know. 
You just keep going around and around until it’s as big as you want it.  After you’re done, you tuck in any strips ends that are showing (there will be alot) – just push them to the underside of the rug.  I was aiming for a smallish rug.  Mine got a little wonky in the end, but that’s what I get for not knowing how wanting to use a crochet pattern or anything.  I think I just added too many chain stitches around the corners be cause they don’t lay completely flat – but I’m just claiming that it’s the charm of handmade (and I stuck the wierder side under the changing table so it’s less noticeable).  But even though it’s wonky, I think it warms up the corner in my  little boy’s room.

My goal was a cozy little corner where he might want to check out a book or two.  I guess it’s working, maybe a smidge too well….
Thanks for checking out this post from www.SugarBeeCrafts.com – - click on over to read it in its entirety – you’ll love it!

Thanks for Reading

Comments

  1. says

    In the rug I am working on, I have found that when joining strips, it sometimes helps to cut the corners off the strip without the hole…it reduces unwantet bulk, making it easier when you come back to that point on the next go-round.

  2. Anonymous says

    I loved your article on making a rag rug. I will do it! 44 years ago I crocheted a yarn rug for the nursery, baby was on the way. (Didn’t know how to crochet) Still have the rug and was so proud of it. Just never could let go of it, guess it is time to give it to my daughter and start the rag rug for my great grandchild. Thanks for the idea.

  3. says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have watched countless videos (even one that I purchased!) …. your instructions and vids were clearer and easier to understand.

    Great Job!

  4. says

    Found you Via One Pretty Thing and I’m so glad I did. Love, love, love this tutorial. Great attention to the details. I know how to crochet but I stink at reading crochet patterns and this is a project that I know I’ll be able to do thanks to your great instructions. I know I’ll be making this rug soon. Thanks again.

  5. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much. I had already started a round rag rug and kept taking it all apart because I couldn’t figure out how to stop it from curling. I tried to overcompensate by making the loops bigger but that only created excess so it rippled. Your tutorial helped tremendously. :)

  6. Anonymous says

    Adorable! Could you tell me how many sheets it took and about what size it ended up so I’m sure to have enough of the right colors before starting?

    Thanks!

  7. says

    A few answers to questions I’ve been receiving:

    I’ve washed the pink/purple one – I figure sheets are washable so the rug is too. A few strips needed tucked back in after washing, but that’s all.

    The pink/purple rug is about 3 to 3 1/2 feet in diameter. I used one twin sheet set in pink, one twin sheet set in purple, and a top sheet in white, along with some random white fabric I had. How much you’ll need not only depends on the size of rug you want, but also how tight you crochet. I’m not sure how much material I used on the yellow one because it was old curtains – I wished I would have measured the yardage, but there’s no going back now!

  8. says

    As a long time crocheter, let me say your rugs looks great! (the stitch you’re doing is a single crochet, by the way…but good guess! )I’m going to have to check the rest of your blog out, looks like my kind of place! :)

  9. kelly says

    I wish I had pretty yellow and white fabric, but I guess my old faded blue sheets will have to do.:) One quick question, did you use a size ‘Q’ crochet hook? If I use a slightly smaller hook, will it just make smaller, tighter loops, or will it be too hard to work? I knit, but don’t crochet, so I was thinking the smaller hook would just affect the ‘gauge’, but it would be nice to know for sure before I start. Thanks!

  10. says

    Back again with a few more answers:

    finishing the rug – I should have talked about that – all you do is stop crocheting. Just tuck the end of the strip back into the rug. I tried to stop where I thought it looked least noticeable.

    My crochet hook didn’t have a size – it comes in a 2 pack with a gigantic blue hook and a huge gray hook – I used the huge gray one. If you use a smaller hook, it’ll just be tighter loops – a little harder to work with but it’s doable. Just make an effort to try to leave your loops a little loose.

  11. says

    Great job! I’ve been meaning to make one of these forever – I even have the fabric laying around. Maybe now I’ll be motivated to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  12. says

    I just bookmarked this to check out later when I have more time (a 2-year-old is tugging on me at the moment). I’ve been toying with the idea of a braided rug, but I like this better! Thanks for the tutorial!

  13. says

    Awesome tutorial Mandy. I believe it’s the best one around! I have been meaning to start one of these but I definitely need a larger size hook. Very beautiful rug!

  14. says

    Do you think this will work with ripped up tshirts (t-shirt yarn)? I have a bunch that I ended up not using for a project and I think this would be a good replacement.

    Great idea, by the way!

  15. says

    Love this rug! Perfect for your little boy! I will have to try this rug I have so many sheets in my house that I don’t use but just cant get rid of finally something I can do with them!

  16. says

    I love this and can’t wait to try one myself. I’ve never crocheted before and honestly I find it a little bit intimidating, but you make it sound easy enough for even me to try! :)

  17. says

    Everytime I see rag rug, I remember my grandmother. She also loves making this. In our home, we have a lot of of rag rug collection from my grandma with lots of different designs. Though we already have carpet in our study room, my mom put rag rug to the door. My mom is really meticulous on household chores. She wants everything are clean and organize. Even she have busy sched, she’ll find way not to miss any household chore like carpet cleaning. Bartlett, our hometown, carpet cleaning (Bartlett Illinois-based) services are popular among housewives and bachelorette because it is very helpful to lessen their worries on household chores.

  18. says

    Thanks for posting this! My Great-Grandmother and her mom made these! I have one they made in my son’s room! It is so nice to be able to know how to make one!

  19. says

    Hello, I just watched all your videos and I have a quick question: how do you finish the end of the rug? I saw you mentioned tucking loose edges/ends of fabric to the back of the rug but how do you finish the last piece? Do you weave it back through? I just want to make sure it is secure so it doesn’t unravel. Thanks!
    -Kristi
    @Creative Kristi

  20. says

    Thank you! My mom made one of these when I was a kid and I’d completely forgotten about this technique. I’m so glad I saw your tute on TJ! I can’t wait to try making one for me!

  21. says

    I saw your post on Tip Junkie and immediately wanted to make one. I finally got around to shredding my old canvas tab curtains got started. I have to say, that is not the best choice of fabric. It was SO hard to crochet, my hands and wrists are sore and swollen today. I misread your line about the extra chains and went a little crazy with throwing them in there so my rug “looks like a flower”. That was from my 4 year old. She loves it and hence it is hers. I’m definitely going to try this again, but with more flexible fabric and much fewer extra chains! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  22. says

    I have been looking for a rug for my baby’s room. Haven’t found one that matches. I made all the bedding, curtains, etc…and wanted one that was the same shade pink as the fabric I used. Luckily I have plenty of fabric left. Just went out and bought the 2 pack of crochet hooks you mentioned in a comment. Going to start on this rug asap! Baby due in exactly one month. Hope I can finish in time. Found you on Tip Junkie! Thanks for the aweseome tutorial!

  23. says

    Your race track analogy is great. I have crocheted for years, but I really liked that comparison. :) My sister and I tried to make rag rugs once, I can’t remember what stitch or whatever we were using, but it never turned out right. I’ve never tried to teach anyone how to crochet. = I may just send her this page! lol :)

  24. says

    I love this. I have always wanted to make one out of my scrap fabrics. I never want to throw any away. You make it look so easy. Thank you bunches.

  25. says

    I just found you via Pinterest and I am SO glad! I recently learned how to start the rug, but I wasn’t sure which holes to crochet into while making the constant circle. The tutorials I found on YouTube were so frustrating because they’d only teach how to start, but nothing specific. Thank you!

  26. says

    Omg, I am dying to make this RIGHT NOW. THANK YOU THANK YOU! Found you via Pintrest and I’m so glad I did. I am going to get to the craft store for a hook TODAY!

  27. says

    I love your tutorial, it makes this super easy to understand. The only problem I have is that my fabric (from a sheet) is fraying at the edges, so I feel like the rug it getting “messy” looking. Is there any fabric that won’t fray? Or do you have any tricks to help hide or stop this fraying?

  28. says

    Love this tutorial and I have the perfect room that needs a rug like this. I have a question about connecting a new fabric strip. I’m incredibly visual and I’ve looked at those photos over and over and still don’t understand how you connect to a new fabric strip. Could you explain a little more?! Thank you so much!!

  29. says

    Ditto all the great comments everyone has posted. I just wanted to comment on your intro about having to have something to do while watching the Olympics… I am exactly the same way. For some reason, I feel like I can’t just enjoy television without doing something with my hands!

    Keep up the great work!
    Julie

  30. says

    Thanks again for such a wonderful blog post about this. I feel like I’m ready to go find some old sheets and start a rug for my little boy’s room! Thanks!!

  31. says

    Found you on Pinterest! This is awesome! Thank you! I’m not very crafty, but love crafty stuff and wish I was. I can usually follow someone else’s directions. Thanks again.

  32. says

    I REALLY LOVED THIS RAG RUG AND KNEW I HAD TO DO IT…SO FAR I’VE DONE IT AND RE-DONE IT…SEEMS I’M DOING SOMETHING TOTALLY WRONG…IT KEEPS ROLLING UP BOWL SHAPED…WHAT AM I DOING TO MAKE IT DO THAT??….THANKS

  33. says

    Oh nevermind, I read further! So you just wound the separate strips into balls and attached them to each other as you crocheted the rug itself, right?

  34. says

    I love the charm of these handmade rugs and this is looking like the next project I want to try.I’am not very good at crochet but your video was very helpful and I can finally use up some of my enormous fabric stash,Thank You!!

  35. says

    I’ve glanced at crochet tutorials before, but finally took a longer look yesterday when I happened upon a bunch of jean strips I’d cut for my boys’ room 2 years ago. Your tutorial was just what I needed to get started. Thanks! OH, and I hope you don’t mind if I link back to you if I ever get around to blogging my progress…

  36. says

    I saw your tutorial over on pineterest. Your rag rugs are so beautiful. My great grandma used to make these out of bread bags or plastic grocery bags as outdoor mats. I never thought to make one out of actual cloth before. I’ll have to give it a try for my entryway :)

  37. says

    My aunt use to braid rugs out of old clothes etc. She would get down in the floor and braid them. I loved those rugs. This looks so much easier! Thanks!

  38. says

    So you learn something new everyday! I just read this because I wanted to see how you do the round ones, I never had luck with round so had to make square ones.
    What I am really excited about is not having to sew the strips togather, can you imagine what kinda time this will save me?!!

  39. says

    Can you use old t-shirts and blouses? I ask this, because my sister passed away and I have her shirts that I was trying to figure out what to make with them for me and my other sister. I am not a quilter, but I do crochet. How would I cut up the shirts to make the yarn? Thank you for your help!

  40. says

    I’ve never tried old tshirts, but I bet it would work. To make tshirt yarn you cut the shirt into strips (parallel with the bottom of the shirt) then pull on the strips and they turn into tshirt yarn. Good luck!

  41. says

    I have about a zillion t-shirts that I would like to use for a rug, either crochet or latch hook, or maybe something else entirely.
    Any ideas?

    Woofi

  42. says

    Greetings:

    I was watching your videos today on how to make a round crocheted rag rug. I noticed that when you were making the round rug, after you joined the circle and began to make your stitches, it appeared you were making slip stitches instead of single crochet stitches. Is this the case? Thank you, L. Qualls

  43. says

    I have looked at your pictures several times and am having trouble figuring out what you do to secure the strips after you slip it through the slit, it says you fold it over. Do you not have to sew it or something else to secure it? Thanks for posting this wonderful tutorial- can’t wait to try it!

  44. says

    I’m having trouble with joining the strips – I understand making a slit, then inserting the other piece and folding it over, but what do you do after you fold it over?

  45. says

    Mandy – I’m having an issue with starting the round rug…it’s turning out a little “puffy.” The circle lies flat, but if I push the middle out, it turns into more of a hat shape. What should I do differently?

  46. says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve made the round rag rug and didn’t know how to make the oval one. With your tips I figured it out! I’m making mine out of old t-shirts (which make for a very soft rug). I’m hoping to save money for Christmas present this year and this will make for a great gift!

  47. says

    I hope you don’t mind if I answer some of the questions you have gotten here. T-shirts will work great for this project if you cut them into t-shirt yarn (lots of good tutorials out there via google and youtube). I always thought the gray crochet hook was a P and Blue is Q but either way they do come in a two pack at walmart and either can be used for this project but gray is easier to handle. For those that have trouble getting it to lay flat…if it looks like a hat, there are not enough stitches in the round–on the second time around, you should be doing 2 sc (the stitch used here is a single crochet or sc) in each hole (for a round rug), in the next round, you will do 1 sc in the first, 2 sc in second hole and repeat, alternating 1 and 2, next round, sc, sc, 2sc, sc, sc, 2sc. Each round, you will just add one sc in between the 2sc,, so round 4 would be sc, sc, sc, 2sc, sc, sc, sc, 2sc etc. If your rug looks ruffled, don’t do so many increases in a round. The rule of thumb is no more than 10 increases in a round. So, if you start with ten stitches in a circle and do 2sc in each stitch for the second round, you have only done 10 increases, then if you do 2sc in every other of those 20 stitches, you have still only increased by ten stitches. Hope this helps some of you who had trouble! (One of these days I might do a tutorial myself lol).

  48. says

    I don’t really watch much if any television but when the Olympics was on I couldn’t stop watching it. I thought it was so amazing to see these athletes with such passion for success in their sport. I love the finished project. using yellow and white fabric was a good choice.

    -Zane of ontario honey

  49. says

    Pinterest is also where I found this! I can’t believe how easy you made this look! Thank you so much for doing this, I’m going to be sorting through some old sheets and asking friends and relatives if they have any unwanted ones now as I really want to make some rugs to make our home cosier!

  50. says

    take a dowel and make it the length of the hook you want. next take a crochet hook and with a pencil mark a pattern on the dowel. Next with a sharp knife or tool that will cut the dowel, carve and then with sandpaper smooth the “hook”. I’ve made many in sizes of different length and circumfrence. Try it and see how easy it is. Afraid? Ask your husband, dad, son, you get it some male member.
    I”m 77 and still make them.

  51. says

    This has gotten me interested in rag rugs in a way i was not before and i’m commenting because my parents have the same striped sheets you’re using in your picture (in their rag sheet pile now), but i remember them well growing up!

    Regards,
    Irene of Fishing Oregon

  52. says

    Mandy your rugs are so warm and happy! I have been wanting to make one but it seemed so troublesome with all of the prep work. This is so freeing – enough for me to give it a whirl. I love to cut with my rotary – so this is a win win!! I do have minor crochet skills (granny squares). Thanks so much and blessings to you.

  53. says

    Thank you! My friend has two huge rugs that she made and I’ve always wanted to do it, they are so beautiful ~ I just had a few questions about how to attach the strips to one another, which you cleared up – and now I can get started. Thanks for your post!

  54. says

    This is an awesome tutorial! My great grandmother used to make these, and I’ve always wanted to know how to. The house I’m renting right now needs a rug BADLY so I’ll probably be attempting this. But I have a quick question. If you’re making an oval rug, do you just make a longer loop and kind of hold it in an oval as you get started? Do you need to sew together the straight parts of the oval to keep from having a slit down the middle? (I guess that was two questions, but oh well)
    Thanks!

  55. says

    This is an awesome tutorial! My great grandmother used to make these, and I’ve always wanted to know how to. The house I’m renting right now needs a rug BADLY so I’ll probably be attempting this. But I have a quick question. If you’re making an oval rug, do you just make a longer loop and kind of hold it in an oval as you get started? Do you need to sew together the straight parts of the oval to keep from having a slit down the middle? (I guess that was two questions, but oh well)
    Thanks!

    • says

      Hi, Amy! Instead of making your chain into a loop/circle, you keep it a straight chain. Then you turn it backwards on itself and crochet all the way around it. So. To start out, make a chain, and then do your first single crochet stitch in the second chain from your hook. Keep crocheting, and when you get to the other end of the chain, you crochet around it to the other side. I’d look for some tutorials on youtube (crochet by teresa has wonderful tutorials). You can watch it all in slow-motion, step-by-step. The stitch is called a single crochet. The oval is commonly used in patterns for the bottom of baby booties. A video like this might help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B9BinO3ULg If the spaces in the middle bother you and you’re ambitious enough to add another step, then start out with a “foundation single crochet,” instead of a chain, for which there are numerous tutorials on youtube as well. Best of luck!

  56. says

    Just a comment to say “Way to go”. This may just keep another craft skill alive.
    Not only that, but it keeps all those done for sheets and T-shirts on a second run around the track.
    I’m backing you mightily!

  57. says

    Ohhhh, the wonderful memories! Many posts have mentioned recalling their grandmothers’ or aunts’ wonderful rag rugs, but I haven’t seen any ‘outdoor’ variety posts. My grandmother raised her farm family during the Depression & never wasted ANYthing. Always busy with her hands, she used what she had to live out the “necessity is the mother of invention” proverb. In addition to rag rugs & piece quilts, etc., I remember so fondly seeing her make “back porch rugs” with the ‘new’ store-bought (plastic, therefore weatherproof) bread wrappers. Thank you so much, Mandy, for the sweet memories & helping keep this craft alive – especially in this – all too often – throw-away society. : )

  58. says

    Hi Mandy~
    GREAT project…I remember making this kind of rug my Grandma taught me back in the 60′s back in Honolulu!
    Now I will make it with all the fabric my Mom and I have collected over the years!
    Thanks so much…~Judi

  59. Sydni Gauwitz says

    Mandy,

    Thank you so much for taking time out to make these step by step videos! The rug is exactly what I have been looking for and having been dying to make. I actually have fabric all cut and ready to go, I just was a “BIG CHICKEN” at trying to get started since I didn’t know how to make each row (aka. circle, oval) bigger. I knew I would end up with one big knot or simply a tower of crocheted fabric. Obviously, neither one would do me any good. But, you have made this out to be so simple. I now need to grab my fabric, hook, and get to work. I can’t wait! I am also really looking forward to checking out the rest of your site, as you seem like my kinda girl when it comes to the crafting world. Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing me how to make the rugs I loved to play on when I would go to my Great-Grandma’s house over 30 years ago. Not only will this be fun to make, but it will bring back wonderful memories. God Bless you, Mandy! Love in Christ Jesus, Sydni G.

  60. Sharon says

    Hi Mandy,
    4 years on and your tutorial is still going strong – hurray – the internet has many advantages.
    Thank you for your words of wisdom, they are very inspiring.
    All the way down to Auckland, New Zealand.
    God Bless, Sharon

  61. nichole carlson says

    About how long did it take you to make the yellow rug starting with the tearing/cutting of the fabric?

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