Introduction: Thick and Warm Crazy Rug

Picture of Thick and Warm Crazy Rug

This is a super easy rug to make and it is a lot of fun!  You will need about 5 yards of T-shirt material or something similar that coils up easily when stretched. You will also need a square (or any shape) of fabric for the base. The one I made is about 15" x 20" and it is super plush.

Step 1: Base of Rug

Picture of Base of Rug

Cut out a piece of fabric that measures 15" x 20" after you fold and hem in the sides.

Step 2: Cut Strips of Fabric

Picture of Cut Strips of Fabric

Next cut long strips one inch wide of the T-shirt fabric.

Step 3: Sew Rug

Picture of Sew Rug

Take the long pieces of material and stretch them out so that they coil, then cut them into about 4 inch lengths. Line them up on the base and start sewing them right down the center, sewing each row close to the previous row. Each row should be separated by about an inch or inch and a half.

Step 4: Great Time Saver!

Picture of Great Time Saver!

Here is a great time saver! Line up a couple thin strips of tape (sticky side up) and place the fabric coils across them. Take the taped row and sew it down  the center on to the base. Once you sew it down simply remove the tape.

Step 5: That's All There Is to It

Picture of That's All There Is to It

Keep sewing until you fill the base.


mickeycunn (author)2016-01-13

I wonder if old terry towels would be a good fabric to use in place of the t-shirt material.

MontanaP (author)2015-10-21

You can bet this will be my very next project! I just loved it!

LaurenA9 (author)2015-10-18

Awesome!! :)

teresam1 (author)2014-09-17

this is so kool

_Heyyy_you (author)2014-03-15


evacooper (author)2014-01-16

i like the color! can you wash the rug? i've been thinking of making something like this. i don't have a sewing machine, would it work by hand?

blackweb (author)2013-12-16

Why couldn't you use a mesh backing and pull them thru and tie off in knots. I'm thinking about the non slip rubber backing you use under rugs to keep them in place.

dpseal (author)2010-04-02

Beginner here. I don't quite understand what is going on in this step. Can someone explain? Maybe the photo is just confusing me.

WUVIE (author)dpseal2013-09-21

As a note, you won't be sewing on top of the tape strips, just down the middle. :-)

Dena789 (author)dpseal2011-04-03

This step shows how to hold together many of the 4 inch strips at once using the tape. This way, you can place the whole strip of taped together pieces onto the base fabric and sew them down. Its just a speedier way of sewing it.

Crystalkini (author)2012-11-03

Regular t shirts (fruit of the loom, jerzees, Just my size, Hefty t's etc) will curl if cut in either direction. If you cut them from the bottom hem of the shirt toward the shoulders/neckline, the shirt will curl with the right side out. If you cut them parallel to the bottom hemline, they will curl with the wrong side out. For most shirts, the way it is curling doesn't matter for the finished product, but if you have spray dyed your shirts, or the color isn't the same on the outside and inside of the shirt, it could make a difference to you. Double knit shirts, 'better quality' t's and some 'polo' type shirts will not curl.
To answer the question above about age of shirt and the curling effect. I've used shirts that were 20 years old or more, and thin from use, they still curl up nicely, and haven't uncurled over time, if anything, they curl more.

Tinker L (author)2011-11-19

I followed these instructions on which way to cut, but my strips won't curl when I stretch them. I tried every tension from 'gentle' to 'crank that baby'. Any suggestions would be appreciated. This is a great idea and other than this problem, I'm ready to make a rug! Thanks.

ladybetege (author)Tinker L2012-05-08

Are you using tee shirt 'jersey knit'. That is the fabric has a definate front and back. The front will look like the knit side and the back will look like the purl side. If you are using a 'double knit', one that looks the same on both sides, this may be why it isn't curling. Hope this is helpful, and not too late.

ihatescience (author)Tinker L2011-12-20

try to stretch them the other way

Tinker L (author)ihatescience2011-12-20

That didn't work either! I'm wondering if my t-shirts are just plain past their pull dates, which makes me wonder if the curl will eventually go away after use and washing (for those who have actually managed to achieve curl).
Thanks for your suggestion.

ntimmons (author)2011-10-27

Wow , for time saving , I used an old pillow case for the backing. Love it will post pictures later, thanks.

Dena789 (author)2011-04-03

I really like the look of this rug and I have some t-knit fabric that never got made into whatever it was supposed to originally be. Any idea of how much fabric, or how many thrifted T-shirts you would need to make a 15 x 20" rug?

n_toxic_ated (author)Dena7892011-08-26

it appears no one replied to your Q of how many thrifted t-shirts would be needed to get 5 yds of fabric - did you figure it out yourself or are you still waiting? i'd like to know too, though it won't help me at this moment because i'm on my way to the thrift store now for a sale!

Dena789 (author)n_toxic_ated2011-08-26

I have not heard any answers to this but, my deduction would be that you would probably need 10 to 12 large T-shirts to get enough - possibly more if you are avoiding printed areas. Good luck!

Dena789 (author)2011-04-03

To be sure that your strips curl properly, its important to remember that you need to cut the strips ACROSS the grain of the knit not along the length of it. If you are using recycled T-shirts, cut the strips across from side to side. Easiest way to check is to pull on the knit to see which way it stretches most. If it stretches most across, cut the strips in the same direction.

geronimo_mego (author)2011-02-15

loooooool taaaaaaaaaanx

Laurey-Ann (author)2010-12-25

Thanks for the inspiration - I made one for my 14 yr old son for Christmas and he adores it. All his old t-shirt memories....

Your colors are fantastic together, I love this rug.

paper sack ideas (author)2010-12-18

I think this will be my first project after Christmas!!!! Would it work if you 1.made the strips and stretched them, 2. laid them out with the ends evened up, 3 add tape strips perpendicular across all of them at once, 4. cut between the tape, so that they are all already lined up on the tape?

Aneesah (author)2010-05-04

Tried this out two days ago -- mine's rather small, but turned out quite nice nevertheless. Some of the t-shirt material didn't want to curl up on its own so I had to roll them manually. ^^ Thanks a bunch!

mirahcyrus (author)Aneesah2010-11-25

That's so cool!!!

CDandA (author)Aneesah2010-09-01

Oh wow! super cool!

wooty (author)Aneesah2010-09-01

Love it!! and I love the colors- great!

triciab1212 (author)Aneesah2010-06-24


hammer9876 (author)2010-09-02

I made something like this years and years ago with a canvas backing. Its home was in front of the refrigerator. The cat loved it. Especially with the warm air blowing from the 'fridge. Good job on the instructable.

canida (author)2010-08-31

I just posted a bag based on your rug! Thanks for the inspiration.

CDandA (author)canida2010-09-01

that is so awesome! I totally love it :)

Very Interesting (author)2010-08-29

Love it!

triciab1212 (author)2010-06-24


Ms. Thrifty (author)2010-04-08

Hi dpseal,

This step is a quick way to do what is done in step 3. Step 4 recommends lining up all the 4 inch pieces on the tape then sew straight down the middle of the lined up 4 inch pieces (between the two tape strands) resulting in a whole strip now quickly sew onto the rug base as oppose to only sewing a few 4 inch pieces at a time (which seems to be what is done in step 3). I hope my wordiness is helpful and not more confusing :-).

Ms. Thrifty

Ms. Thrifty (author)2010-04-08

What kind of fabric do you use for the base?

coyotewoman (author)2010-04-03

Thanks for the idea -  I'm inspired... next project tshirt shaggy soled slippers for cleaning my floors! or a shaggy swiffer mop cover.

bgvt (author)2010-04-03

Very cool - I've also seen similar results from knitting the base, adding fabric strips in one stitch and out the next. You also can use regular fabric, cut on the bias, about 1.5" wide for a fuzzier result.

icmags (author)2010-04-02

So cool!
I've used these strips in the past to make necklaces and have a bunch of shorter strips that would be awesome to use as a little closet I have my weekend projects!
I posted about this here:

mommaviv (author)2010-04-02

I love this. What a great way to use up the t-shirt bits that I have left over from recon projects.  I do have a question though:  What kind of fabric did you use for the base of your rug?

DrSimons (author)2010-03-27

My god, this is brilliant! I hadn't the slightest idea you could actually make your own rug. The possibilities are endless!

stormowl (author)2010-03-16

  Very nice.  I was thinking you could also do this with thick yarn if you prefer it material wise.
   Instead of taping it though, I think interfacing pinned across the top, torn away after sewing would work better for me. 
   Very clever idea for a nice throw rug.

NHquilter (author)2010-03-15

Love it! Might have to stop and get some knit fabric tomorrow ;-)

VeggieBex (author)2010-03-15


About This Instructable




More by CDandA:Thick and warm crazy rug
Add instructable to: