How To Get Started Making a Coiled Recycled Rag Rug
A little while ago, my Mum and I had a go at starting a coiled recycled rag rug, while at our lovely beach shack. I got started but never went back to finish so I am updating this post in the hope I may get motivated to get it done! Craft and I are not best friends, I prefer to paint and make larger items, but this is such a great thing to do, and I also thought you may like to see what we did, so you can start your own project. It was not that tricky once we got the hang of it but I have a lot of stages to go yet. I can see it is not a quick process, depending on how big you want it to be. There are numerous ways to make a recycled rag rug, but we went with the plaited, coil version.
Mum started with a different style where you hook pieces of material through hessian, which is also a great way to go, but I began with the traditional braided rug where you “plait” old t shirt material in long strips,which you can then shape to what you like, a circle or oval being the easiest.
I have only completed a small section but plan to keep going and then share again when I get to the point of sewing it together. Which I am determined to do by the end of 2015!
Work out what material to use
- Mum brought a pile of old t shirts to our beach shack, so we had a variety of colours and designs. You can decide to have an organic approach, be very organised with a set design, or somewhere in between.
- I chose the in between method.
- We set colours into similar tones so we could work with these ranges and I decided on two blues and a white with a blue pattern to start with as I love these colours.
Cut the material into long strips
- Open up the t shirts or cut the material into strips of equal (ish) width.
- Somewhere around 7.5 cm is perfect. However we are not the perfect kind of crafters so were much more organic with some pretty average cutting!
- The great thing is with this stretchy material, it did not really matter once I got going, the most important thing is the length of the strips and then the tension, you need to make sure you pull the material tight as you braid it.
You need a lot of material, I used three t shirts for the first section and we had fun working out how to cut around the arms. Remember the trick is to make the strip as LONG as you can, so this matters more than the width really.
We found when a strip was not long enough we could stitch a new piece in. I did manage to turn one entire shirt into a strip by the third piece.
You’ll need what can only be called “loads” of fabric, so cut strips that are as long as possible. You’ll only know if you need more fabric at the very end, once the rug is coiled together and the size becomes apparent.
Different fabrics will braid differently. Because you’re braiding, it’s easy to add more fabric if you’ve run out and your rug still isn’t big enough. We loved this organic process and the idea that you just cross that bridge when you come to it.
- Braid the strips together tightly. This’ll be easiest if you can devise a way to hang the strips so you can stand while braiding your long strips of material. A clothespin will be handy in keeping the braid together, but we did not have one so just tied the centre for now to anchor it and will tidy that at the end
- I found sitting with the braid on the table and the strips behind me on the floor worked well, but there were points where I had to stop and untangle the strips.
I am not really here yet, but once you reach the end, you coil up the braid. Start from the beginning and spiral out. If the rug is big enough, great! You’re finished with braiding and can move onto sewing it into its circular shape. If it’s not big enough, simply sew on a few more fabric strips to elongate and continue the braiding process. My plan is to go with this colour scheme as long as I can and then move to add a lilac, pink and a different blue. Then I will see how big it is.
You don’t necessarily have to coil it up and make a circle rug, but it’s definitely easy and looks very traditional. A snake-like rectangle works, too, but takes a bit more sewing mastery on the edges so may not be for me! 🙂
This comes last and is my most scary part as it involves the “Sew” word! 🙂 I will be getting Mum to help when ready.
The method is apparently to uncoil the rug and work from the very center. Sew along the inside edges to join the braid with the length of fabric that surrounds it, going around and around and around. Coil up your rug as you go, following with your string. You may have to make some reinforcements once you’ve finished. The beauty of the rag rug is that none of these will be seen!
I will be back with the next stage sometime before 2016 I hope!
Let me know if you have done a Rag Rug or if this inspires you to have a go! We would love to see yours as well
excellent explanation! Love your colour choice, and look forward to hearing the next stage. Let us know what the measurements are when done, and how you plan to make the centre tidy or impressively original- I fancy a water snake head with tongue, or a dragon head with flames!
Did you get to finish your rag rug I’m about to start one myself thank you for sharing this I can’t wait to try this out.
No we didn’t!! Good luck with yours
Recycled Interiors Absolutely! I still have mine somewhere, must get it out & take some photos!
What an amazing idea x
This sounds like you Kirsty Webb U0001f609
Workshop together on the holidays U0001f609
Is this kinda like the one you bought
Dianne Stracey another project for you!
Hmmmm I wonder wot Color I,ll do it in xxxx
Let’s finish them together
Thanks Kerry Patterson!!
Sarah Cullen…. easier than pom poms?
Samantha Watt heres a project for you 🙂
I think I need to try this U0001f60dU0001f60dU0001f60d
Sue new project
My mum used to make these for our home
Love this going to do this just like mum did when we were kids
Loz Yovich I want to try to make this! ✌
This is really cool!!!!
Adrienne De Bruyn I think this could be your new project
I would love to
Oh my gosh awesome! I can’t wait to try it
Fabulous. What a wonderful thing to do
Grandma made these when I was a child…so pretty and versatile, lasted forever…made during the depression, along with all the other recycling ideas….re knitting was a favourite too. My Nana was so clever..
Bernie Taylor we could try make one of these for our house!
what a lovely memory
give it a go!
that makes it even better doesn’ it!
how lovey Joann
yes you do!
what a beautiful memory
Deborah Cufley your colours to. X
It’s very lovely. Love to up cycle. U0001f499
Meggie idk but I thought of you
I think this would be a fabulous project.
I want to go and find some old linens from an op shop, wash them, and then make this rug!
Glorious colours! Sounds lovely, Hollie. I was working with Helen on the day she made this rug. We used old tshirts. U0001f604
Here’s one for you Kerrie Romeo
Great – in all my spare time – I reckon that could be one to add to your start but never finish projects
Yeah I can just plait everything into one big rug!
that’s funny because it’s probably true – you are hopeless!
Remembering Aunty Lucy.
Love love love this! U0001f604 and we had an Aunty Lucy too. U0001f49d
Do you like this
Want to make myself a rug.
Lucinda Wood xx
I’ve always wanted to make one 🙂
go for it!
Everything old is new again!
Yes ! An old art …
Make me one U0001f601
Holly Modra this reminds me you still have to show me how to make one of those rugs U0001f601 please
Kylee Webster….this is your deal x
Josh Bateman thisnis what i want for christmas U0001f609
U could make one whilst breastfeeding…u would get 10 gigantic rugs done in a week ha ha U0001f60a
This requires sewing I think
Probably just seen what you put up earlier thought u might take a look at this one too always heaps of ideas and inspiration
Yeah… I love the ideas
Shari Andrews I thought of you U0001f64a
Aww thanks Tegan Turner…. great idea!
Mum lets totally do this! Wouldn’t a giant one look great in my massage room? Gaylene N Glenn Bayfield
Absolutely. Make a date, preferably after Christmas.
I like the this. Have a bag of old clothes in my garage now lol
Yeah placemats for practice?
cool. I have two weeks off from the 18th. We can go op shop shopping for supplies 😉
Woulkd love to do this
give it a crack Sarah Middleton
Belinda Jones. Emma Dixon this could be another project fun for the girls rooms. ❤️L
Will this be your next project Julie Struthers
I also started this about a year ago using old tshirts I’ve started coiling but not sure about the sewing part. I will have to finish it one day!