There's a type of rag-rug that requires a needle made from an old toothbrush. I made one with an old bamboo toothbrush. It works really well, looks neat and takes less than an hour to make! Here are the instructions...
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Step 1: Equipment
- Old bamboo toothbrush
- Small craft knife
- Medium and fine grade sandpaper
Step 2: Cut the Head Off the Toothbrush
Using the craft knife, carefully cut a wedge away from each side of the neck of the toothbrush until it is detached from the handle.
Discard the brush part. You'll only use the handle for the needle.
Step 3: Shape the Point of the Needle
Using the craft knife, carefully pare down the rough end of the handle to make a point. It works best if you work away at each side, cutting away a little at a time. You're trying to get an elongated pyramid shape, keeping the sides flat to begin with. Make it as symmetrical as possible.
Step 4: Rounding Off the Corners
Once you have the rough shape, with flattened sides, you can begin to round the edges. Cut away small slivers, working around the sides until it's fairly smooth. Trim the point slightly to make the end blunt.
Step 5: Mark Out the Eye of the Needle
With a pencil, mark out the shape you want the eye of the needle to be. You'll need it about an inch, 2.5cm long to easily fit the fabric strips. Mark up the other side, lining it up by sight.
Step 6: Cut Out the Eye of the Needle
Using the craft knife, carefully cut a small strip out of the centre of your marked eye. Turn the needle over and do the same on the other side. Keep working away, cutting a little from each side until you have a hole through the needle.
Carefully trim and shape it until there's a decent gap to hold the fabric strip. As you do so, bevel the edges a little to make for a smooth finish.
Step 7: Check It for Balance and Shape
Now check the eye of the needle and the point and make sure it looks balanced and feels smooth in your hand. Make any adjustments by carefully trimming away small slivers with the craft knife. Go carefully here and make the finishing touches.
Step 8: Sand the Needle Smooth
Be careful to only sand the point and the eye, leave the smooth finish of the handle as it is.
First, working with medium sandpaper, sand the point of the needle. It works best if you have the sandpaper flat and run the needle over it until you're happy with the finish.
You can fold up a small piece of sandpaper to sand inside the eye of the needle.
Now do the same with the fine grade sandpaper.
Step 9: Polish and Finish!
If you like, you can oil or wax the needle, but it will be fine just as it is.
You're ready to make your toothbrush rug!
Runner Up in the
Big or Small Challenge