Introduction: Indigo Jeans Shag Rug

About: My favorite quotation is: “All you need in order to accomplish something great is a good idea and not quite enough money.” – Anon I live by that theme, and the ideas just keep coming.

I wanted to recycle some indigo-died jeans into a shag rug to fit the blue-and-white theme in my bedroom. Being the lazy person that I am, I used the simplest method for making my shag rug--namely, pulling strips of fabric through a mesh. No hooking, no sewing, no gluing, and no tying into knots.

This tutorial will show you how easy it can be to make your own jeans shag rug.


A pair of indigo-died jeans

A piece of denim clothing (like a shirt)

A piece of white cotton clothing (shirt or sweatshirt)

A piece of 1/4" plastic mesh cut to desired size

A rotary cutter (preferably) or a scissors

Step 1: Why Indigo

The cool thing about using indigo-died jeans is that you automatically get a variegated effect with the dark blue on one side and the off-white on the back side. The reason indigo-died fabric is like this is that this plant-based natural die does not sink into the fibers of the fabric like many other dyes, but rather coats the outside of the fibers only. Have you ever wondered why you have white-ish patches of jeans where they wear the most? That's because the indigo is rubbed off, leaving the underlying color of the fabric exposed, which--in the case of jeans--is almost white.

As an interesting aside, the "blue people"--the Tuareg nomads--of northern Africa have blue skin where their indigo-died clothing touches their skin. The Tuareg are notorious for wearing bright blue clothing died with indigo, and their process of not rinsing out the dye adequately makes their skin turn blue from excess indigo dye.

Anyway, back to the shag rug: you could make your shag rug entirely out of jeans, but in this tutorial I chose to incorporate a light blue denim shirt and a soft, knit white-and-blue striped sweatshirt.

Step 2: Shag Rug Video Tutorial

This video tutorial will show you how easy it is to make a shag rug.


1. Cut a piece of 1/4" plastic mesh to your desired size

2. Cut strips of fabric wide enough to thread through a 1/4" hole and not be loose. Cut to desired length. Practice threading the mesh with a couple strips to see what width works best to have a snug fit. You don't want the strips to fall out the back easily, but they should be narrow enough to pull through the mesh.

3. Thread cut strips down one square of mesh and up the next square diagonally. SKIP two holes in the mesh and thread the next strip of fabric down and up.

Always move diagonally. Pull the strips of fabric tight, but don't tie them.

Step 3: Patience Is Key

This method for making a shag rug may be easy, but it is very time-consuming. This project is great for those evenings when you sit in front of the TV or fireplace and want something to occupy your hands with.

My shag rug took at least a month to complete in my spare time. But look how perfect it fits with my bedroom! It is the softest, loveliest rug I could wish for.

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