DIY Upcycled T-Shirt Rug – Plush Zebra Bath Mat Custom Design




Introduction: DIY Upcycled T-Shirt Rug – Plush Zebra Bath Mat Custom Design

About: Crafting with a healthy dose of trash hoarding disorder. Love to make things from old, used and unwanted stuff. We crafters euphemistically call this upcycling.

Do you have some old T-shirts lying around? Did you know that you can make a soft and plushy rug with a custom design with old T-shirts? If you like keeping your hands busy but you don’t know how to knit this might just be the project for you. You only need a few other supplies, your imagination and some time.


  • Non-slip mat (from the Dollar Tree)
  • 6 to 8 men's t-shirts (with no side seams)
  • Scissors
  • Permanent markers
  • Piece of scrap fabric
  • Fabri-Tac glue
  • Needle and Thread
  • Design idea

Step 1: Draw Design

Use the sharpie to sketch out your custom design.

Step 2: Make T-shirt Yarn

To make t-shirt yarn cut the t-shirts about 1/2 inch wide in the horizontal direction. Once all the t-shirt is cut into a 1/2 inch strip, pull the strips of t-shirt tightly to stretch the strips and coil them into a yarn shape.

Step 3: Cut and Tie T-shirt Yarn

Cut the yarn in 3-inch lengths and tie on the horizontal or vertical direction (but not both) matching the design colors with the yarn color.

Step 4: Continue Attaching Yarn

Continue attaching yarn in rows until the whole mat is covered.

Step 5: Trim Yarns

Use scissors to trim the yarns to a consistent length.

Step 6: Add Backing

Glue fabric to back of the rug and sew the edges to complete.

Step 7: Enjoy Your New Plush Rug

Watch the full tutorial in the attached video.

Happy Upcycling!

Fiber Arts Contest

Participated in the
Fiber Arts Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Stone Concrete Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete Cement Contest
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • First Time Author Contest

      First Time Author Contest



    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this project. It resonates with an idea I had yesterday to hook a pulled-loop (or Nantucket style) rug using T-shirt yarn. I'm still playing with ideas for backing material (for hooking wool yarn rugs I've used even-weave linen) and how wide I want to cut the knit strips, so I was curious to see what materials and techniques you chose. I hadn't thought of the non-skid rug backer you used. Did you find yours a satisfactory foundation? Reading your tutorial reminded me of latch hooking, which I did as a kid and haven't thought of for ages, but am now reconsidering as a possibility for my imagined project. The backing material for that was a stiff textile (I guess it's called latch hook canvas) visually similar to what you used. The latch hook technique might also work with the short strips like you used, saving one from having to hand-knot every strip (if one happens to have a latch hook, of course). Anyway, I was tickled by the synchronicity of our ideas.

    If you were doing another rug project like you've demonstrated, would you still choose to cut your yarn ½" wide, or would you make it wider or narrower? I know if jersey knits are cut too narrow they don't roll inwards so nicely, making them less yarn-like, and I'm not sure where the minimum width limit on that is, so I wonder about your reflections after completing such a project. Also, does your rug stay flat to the ground or does it curl or buckle easily?

    Thank you again for taking the time to share your project inspiration and experience.

    Upcycle Design Lab
    Upcycle Design Lab

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Marceec,
    Thanks for your comment. I will try to answer your questions. I have seen the latch hook canvas which does seem very stiff. I was a little worried the the non slip mat would not be strong enough but it seemed to work just fine and it was nice to work with. As far as the width of the strips I like the 1/2 it seems to make yarn with a good roll.

    The edges did roll under a little bit before I put the backing on but once the backing was attached the rug laid nice and flat.

    I am thinking about making a bigger project and I plan to use the same method. I kind of like the mindless repetitive motion. I guess I am weird that way. 🙃

    Thanks again for checking out my project. I hope you enjoy your project.