Make a braided t-shirt rug

Picture of Make a braided t-shirt rug
In this instructable, I'll teach you how to make a really cool rug, like the one pictured, from your old t-shirts! For me, this rug didn't cost any money because I used stuff I already had at my disposal. This project is a great way to put all of those colorful junior high track/soccer/rugby/quidditch shirts to use if you don't want to donate them.

Here's what you'll need:
- 5-10 old t-shirts, depending on how big you want this rug (I used 5.5 for a small bedside rug)
- a pair of scissors
- needle and thread
- sewing machine (optional)

The hardest part about this was how long it took to make, but it turned out cool enough that I wouldn't mind making another one. Keep reading to find out how I did it!
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Cut it

Picture of Cut it
Select a few old t-shirts from your closet, a thrift store, or your Aunt Marcy's NASCAR t-shirt collection. I used 5.5 t-shirts to make a rug that is approximately 18" in diameter, but if you have more time and patience than I do or if you want a bigger rug, you could use more shirts. Next step is to prepare the t-shirts by cutting them and turn them into yarn. I used a method that I found on YouTube but I took some photos of this step for here. 

You will want to flatten the shirt out in front of you, but face it sideways so that one sleeve points toward you and the other points away from you. Next, measure out every 2 inches from the bottom seam of the shirt (which is on the left or right side now), all the way to under the sleeves of the shirt. Mark with chalk or something that won't be obnoxiously permanent. You will want to start cutting on each mark or line you made, but leave 3-4 inches of the shirt still intact on the far side. Do this up to the sleeves, where you should cut all the way to the other seam. After you cut all of these lines, you can pick up the shirt and arrange it so it looks like a ribcage in front of you, as shown in the photos above. See that bit of fabric that you didn't cut? Now you're going to cut it diagonally so that you will end up creating one long piece of fabric from your t-shirt. This is really hard to explain, but as aforementioned, there are a crapload of YouTube videos explaining how to do this so feel free to search around if you need more coherent direction. 

You should end up with a really long strip of fabric from your t-shirt. Stretch this out really, really well and wind it up into a ball so it is more manageable. Repeat for your other shirts. 
mled12 days ago

Sucks. No option to print the instructions. When you click the download for the PDF you have to have a PRO account with Instructables to print them which costs money. I will just get it for free elsewhere.

RRS223 months ago
how do i keep my ends from curling? ive started and have only gone a little ways but my ends keep curling and flipping up.
nice idea
cmurray117 months ago
I agree, I have already cut my shirts into my long strips, but I don't understand this part. Could you use some scrap/strips and show how and when to lay them down? Oh, and how will I know when the time is right to add a new one? This is where I am stumped.
The intent is to not have all 3 strips run out at the same time. If the original T shape is a little off-center, all the better; hold the joining point and let all 3 ends hang down. Begin braiding those 3 strips. When one strip gets too short to keep going, sew on another strip to it.
Msbhavn2647 months ago
when you add more strips, do you make each one you add in the "T" shape ? can you knot the strips to join them together ? I don't know if it's the wording or that I'm just not picturing it in my mind. How, exactly, do you join new strips together ? I am such a visual person. I learn very quickly by watching, but if there are written directions, it seems to take me forever.l please help !! I really want to do this. I have such a love for braided rugs. I guess it's from childhood memories. They are so expensive to purchase, so, now, here's my chance to have one or twelve. LOL thank you :)
Usually, the T shape is just where you start braiding. Two strands, usually different colors, joined end to end, with the third strand attached at the join to form the vertical section of the "T". Then you just add to the strips as you run out of length to braid.
cjraabe6 months ago
Clearly written and illustrated tutorial! Thanks for posting. A great way to use old t-shirts. What was the finished diameter of your rug?
platdujour7 months ago
This vid shows the t-shirt cutting -
CementTruck7 months ago
I have been looking for a good tutorial for this for quite some time. Thanks for posting it. I already kind of figured out how it was done, but needed a push from someone who has done it; So thank you for that. I want to do an oval "Rag Rug".
smileee27 months ago
I think I would've used something a little thicker than thread, and whipstitched the edges of the braids together with a long yarn needle or crochet hook....maybe using it as a contrasting color? I love the colors, upcycled materials, and concept, though. Looks easy enough - thanks for the tutorial!
ecowaters7 months ago
That doesn't look like it would hold long. How have rag braid rugs been sewn before?
Najwahamid12 months ago
Very nice ...
bethcdh1 year ago
Could you do the same thing with old blue jeans? Or is the knit fabric better?
suzelac (author)  bethcdh1 year ago
You could certainly do it with blue jeans! I would just cut it into smaller strips width-wise because denim doesn't curl up like t-shirt fabric. :)
lcatterall1 year ago
That's excellent!! :-)
bree2471 year ago
Thanks, what a great idea!

Wish it would have left me save pdf but I guess ya have to pay for pro!
katvanlew1 year ago
very pretty rug!
katvanlew1 year ago
Very pretty rug! I really want to make one of these!
woww... very nice :D
rugshd1 year ago
I've seen this project before but you've laid it out very well, thanks for sharing!
ChrysN1 year ago
Pretty! I love the bright colours that you used.
suzelac (author)  ChrysN1 year ago
Thanks :)
It turned out gorgeous. :D
suzelac (author)  jessyratfink1 year ago
Thank you!

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?


PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!