How to Make Latch Hook Rugs with T-Shirts


Most latch hook rugs are made by attaching strands of yarn to a rug canvas backing. The yarn tails are loose on top of the rug, making for a soft and fluffy floor covering. Make a new twist on this old favorite by creating knit strips from old T-shirts. The fabric strips make for a very soft rug, and T-shirts can be purchased inexpensively at thrift stores or yard sales. T-shirt hooked rugs are tough enough to be put on a mud room floor, but soft enough to decorate a baby's room.

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirts
  • Scissors
  • Rug canvas
  • Duct tape
  • Latch hook
  • Cut your old T-shirts into 1/4 inch wide strips. Use all t-shirts of one color, or try different colored shirts for a patchwork or striped effect. Cut each strip into 4-inch lengths. The number of strips that you will need will depend on the size of your rug. This project is easy to add on to in sections, so cut up one or two shirts at a time before going on to the hooking.

  • Fold duct tape around all four edges of the rug canvas. Cover the edge on top with one half of the duct tape strip, then fold the tape over the canvas edge and stick the rest of the tape to the back of the canvas. Press down hard to make sure that the tape sticks to every part of the canvas. This will help to ensure that the canvas doesn't unravel when the rug is being used.

  • Begin hooking your rug at the bottom right. Push the latch hook down through the first hole in the bottom row. Push the hook end up through the second hole in the same row. Fold a shirt strip in half. Grasp the loop in the middle of the folded strip with the hook. Pull the latch hook back out of the holes until the loop half of the strip is coming out one hole and the end strands are coming out the next one.

  • Push the latch hook forward. The latch will open, leaving the hook open and the shirt fabric loop around the stem of the latch hook. Grab the two strands of shirt material on the left with the hook. Pull the strands through the loop that was left on the stem. Slip the strands from the hook end and tug on the strands to tighten the knot that you have just created.

  • Create the next knot by pushing the latch hook down through the second hole in the canvas and up through the third one. Grab another shirt strand and make another knot like the first one. Continue making knots with T-shirt material until your entire rug canvas has been filled.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a specific design in mind for your rug, draw its outlines onto the canvas with permanent marker before you begin latch hooking.

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  • Photo Credit brown rug image by Keith Pinto from
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