Shag rugs offer a soft, cushy spot to sit or rest your feet and are often a major decor accent in a room. If you love the look of fraying denim, you can repurpose old jeans into a denim shag rug with only a few additional supplies. Even a rug-making beginner can complete a tied denim shag rug, because once you have the basic knots down, you simply continue until you reach your desired rug size.
Things You'll Need
- Denim jeans
- Washer and dryer
- 2 cups vinegar (optional)
- Canvas mesh rug backing
- Permanent marker
- Large upholstery needle or latch hook (optional)
- Spray adhesive
Wash an array of denim jeans in a washing machine to ensure that the dye is set. If the jeans bleed, soak them in cold water and 2 cups of vinegar and rinse until the water runs clear. Dry the jeans in the dryer on hot so that they shrink.
Cut the jeans into strips 1/2-inch wide by 6-inches long. How many strips you’ll need will depend upon the size of the finished rug; you may have to cut more as the rug progresses. Leave the seams intact, with 1 inch on either side of the seams. Set the seams aside.
Cut a canvas mesh rug backing to your desired rug size and shape. If you want the finished rug to have a pattern, such as stripes or concentric circles of light and dark denim, draw the pattern onto the canvas mesh using a permanent marker. Once the rug is tied, the marker lines will be hidden.
Begin tying the rug at one corner. You can tie a series of square knots or weaver’s knots. Make a square knot by pulling a denim strip through two adjacent squares in the canvas mesh, so that you have equal lengths on either side of the line between the two squares. Cross the right strand over the left and loop it under, and then cross the left strand over the right and loop it under. Pull the square knot tight. Alternatively, make a weaver’s knot by folding the denim strip in half and feeding the folded end down and up through two adjacent squares. Slip the two loose ends through the folded loop and pull the knot tight around the line between the two squares.
Knot an entire row, ensuring that the knots all face the bottom of the rug and the “shag” is on top. Use the pattern you drew in permanent marker to know when to change denim colors, if necessary.
Continue knotting the canvas mesh mat row by row until you’ve completed the entire rug.
Bind the canvas mesh mat edges, if desired, using the discarded jeans seams. Spray the inside of the seam with spray adhesive. Slide 1 inch on one side of the seam under the rug and fold the seam around to the top of the canvas mesh, to hide the edge. Press with your fingers to help the denim adhere to the mat. Continue around the entire perimeter of the rug. Let the adhesive dry before proceeding.
Flip the rug upside down and shake it out so that the shag sits properly. Trim any long strips with scissors, so that the top of the rug is uniform in length.
Tips & Warnings
- You can use a large upholstery needle or a latch hook to help you thread the denim through the canvas mat, or you can thread each knot by hand.
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