Intro: How To: Braid Your Own Large Rag Area Rug!
Did you hear about that insane winter storm Minnnesota got hit by a couple of Fridays ago? Well, it meant I was basically stranded at home for three days straight and I thought, “I know, I’ll make that rug I’ve been planning on working on!” So, while the snow piled up outside, I grabbed two $5 blankets and a big drop cloth I had purchased just for this project and I started cutting them all into strips so I could braid them. And I cut and I cut and I cut. In the end this project translated into two things. 1: Rugs are worth every penny we pay for them and then some and 2: I never want to do anything like this again. I foolishly thought this project really wasn’t going to be all that big of a deal and, in the end, it would be worth the $100 or so dollars I saved doing it. Honestly, I’m on the fence on whether or not the 40+ hours I spent on this rug was actually worth it. Do I love the rug? Of course. Do I love that I made it? Of course. But this was A LOT of work!
Step 1: Cut, Braid, Glue and Repeat for 30 Hours...
First I needed to cut the blankets I bought at our thrift store into strips. I started with a big green fuzzy blanket and a canvas drop cloth and then I braided them all together. From there I tackled the other enormous thrift store blanket (this is mid day 2 btw). It was a VERY heavy and VERY dense fabric that almost felt like curtain fabric, but I’m pretty sure it was just a big bedspread, honestly it felt like burlap. It took me four hours to cut it up and another two to braid it all together. By the time day 3 came around my hands were absolutely killing me but I was so close to completion that I just kept on gluing. It was a good thing the storm broke or I wouldn’t have been able to go to town to buy more glue sticks! Admittedly, this is one of those projects where the end result was not exactly enough to make all of the labor worth it right away lol This was a huge undertaking and there are MANY lessons I’m taking away from it. I cut the strips between 1-3 inches wide, I wasn't too worried about perfection here but I really tried to keep them all about 2 inches wide. When braiding I ALWAYS had the 3 separate strips at different lengths and then I would take the shorter of the 3 and use that to braid around the other 2. Basically, 2 strips are always stationary and the 3rd shorter one just weaves in and around the other 2. Once the shortest strip ran out I would attach the next strip with a couple of loops using a basic needle and thread and then I would find the next shortest strip and continue braiding until I basically lost my mind ;)
Step 2: A Finished Rug
The glue gun was a good idea and I think it did save me some time HOWEVER, I would never attempt to glue fabric like this to a rug mat again, it just didn’t have anything to really stick to. If I ever did this again I would glue the braids down to a solid piece of fabric (probably drop cloth) cut to size and then just throw the rubber rug mat under it, that would have saved me quite a bit of grief. Right now I will need to flip the rug over and glue it better down to the mat, I also plan on covering all of the fabric with poly acrylic so its more durable. I would say, in the end, this project was worth it and I do love our rug but it will be a long time before I ever do anything this big again lol!