How to Make Braided Rugs

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Rag rugs are more than just a county style decorating accessory. They were a necessity in the days of the American Frontier as rugs could be made from leftover fabric and old and discarded rugs. They were a major element during the Arts and Crafts movement and returned to popularity during the Great Depression. Currently braided rugs are popular within the Green movement as they are made from recycled products such as fabric and even plastic bags. If you would country style rug for your home or have a lot of scrap fabric on hand, you may want to make your own braided rug. This project is time consuming, but can be accomplished in a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric scrap
  • Strong thread
  • Large curved upholstery needle
  • Collect your fabric for your braided rug. You may want to get a barrel to collect your fabric and scraps in and when it is full, you should have enough fabric to use. You can use wool, cotton, denim, or a combination of these fabrics.

  • Cut your fabric into strips. Thick fabrics like wools and denim should be cut into two inch strips. Thin, less substantial fabric should be cut into wider strips. It may help to make the job easier if you cut the fabric into strips as you collect them and then store them in your container.

  • Sew the strips of your fabric together, end to end. This step is optional, but if you want your braided rug to be very neat, you will want to do this step. Before sewing the fabric strips, may want to iron the strips while folding the raw edges under and then folding the strip in half. Then overlap the strips by one inch at the ends and sew them together. If you want a more rustic rug, you can skip the sewing and ironing and just begin braiding the rug adding a new strip when one runs short.

  • Braid your fabric strips together. Use the same braid technique that you would use to braid hair. For most people this involves three strands. If you also braid in five or seven strands if you are skilled at it and want a thick rug. The longer your braid, the larger your rug will be.

  • Lace your rug together. If you want a round rug, begin your rug by turning the end of your rug in a tight circle and continue to wrap the braid around the center as you sew it in place. If you want an oval rug, start with a center braid in the center and then fold around and sew the braid to the center section as an oval forms. When sewing (lacing) the braid together to form the rug, do not sew through the fabric but loop the needle under a loop in the braid.

Tips & Warnings

  • As you lace the rug, adjust your tension to keep the rug flat.

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  • Photo Credit Creative Commons image by flickr member klynslis
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