Introduction: Rag Rug From Upcycled Textiles

About: "I see things that aren't there yet"

This project recycles old t-shirts / textiles into a rag rug which measures approx. 90cm^2

The design is the logo from my local Hackspace: Swansea, UK

Step 1: Rug Backing

I used a rubbery non-slip rug backing material as the base for my rag rug, but hessian sacking or anything with a "cell" would suit.

I bought mine from Discount UK for less than 3.00 GBP

For a neat finished edge I folded the material in to the top side of the rug before placing the strips of fabric through the cells, which has the effect of binding the edge and requires no further materials.

Step 2: Tools

A pair of scissors suitable for cutting your fabric scraps.

I have special rag rugging tools (originally from ebay) which comprise a tool similar in function to pliers - infact needle-nose pliers would do the job, it's only for pulling the strips of fabric through the cells in the backing material, and a wooden rod with a groove along the length of it, which we use to get all our scraps the same length - which influences the pile on the finished rug.

Step 3: Fabric

I used a lot of old t-shirts in this project and cotton jersey really is the best fabric for this as it's lovely and soft and - more importantly - a very stable fabric, which means once cut the edge will just roll not fray away to nothing!

Step 4: Reclaiming Usable Fabric

I cut a t-shirt along the overlocked seams, we only want to use the front panel, the back panel and the two sleeves, plenty of usable fabric in those.

The remaining seams and neck and waist bindings can either be used as stuffing for a future project (say a floor cushion) or thrown away, I don't use these in the rug.

Step 5: Preparing Our Fabric

Cut the t-shirt panel / sleeve pieces into approx. inch-wide strips for a large-celled backing material such that I've used, any thinner and the strips won't stay put, it's friction and densely packing this rug that holds it all together, we neither tie nor sew anything!

If you use a smaller cell material such as sacking / hessian, cut your strips accordingly.

Don't worry about trying to be too neat, this really is a very forgiving project and scraggy ends are fine at this point!

Step 6: Processing Our Fabric Strips

Gently wind your fabric strips around the gauge, don't pull taught but keep it flat against the gauge.

Insert scissors into the groove on the gauge and cut.

The pieces will fall away from the gauge.

You may like to keep your cut pieces in a tub, one per colour.

Those scraggly ends mentioned earlier.? You may find these come off in the cut and are too short to be usable in this project.

Step 7: Populating Your Rug Backing

Because of the large cell in my backing material, I've doubled-up and put 2 pieces of rag per cell, this creates a denser packing and the pieces push against each other holding it all together.

Step 8: Corners

I mentioned a few steps ago about how I created a finished edge by folding the backing over to the top side, this does make it harder to place your rags as you're having to pull through 4 layers at the corners and oftentimes the cells don't play nice and line up neatly for you!

The second photo shows the back side of the rug at the corners.

Step 9: Finished Rag Rug!

The first photo shows the front, the second the back side.

Having a large cell backing makes it difficult to create a perfect circle and my design is more octogonal admittedly!

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