Ever think, "Hmm, I wonder if a rug could be made from wood?" Well, I have, and subsequently, made one. Using rectangular shaped blocks of premium walnut wood, rope, and aluminum piping, I designed and happily stood on a wooden rug. How many people can say that?
Follow this tutorial for the how-to!
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Step 1: Measuring and Cutting
I had two 8 foot walnut wood planks, that were about 5 inches wide. I decided I wanted simple rectangular blocks for the rug, so I went with a 5 x 2.5 inch rectangle.
The best tool for doing about 40 of these rectangle blocks is probably a chop saw. As you can tell from the pictures, I started off using a band saw, but it was taking way too long, and the cuts, obviously, weren't wonderfully straight. Chop saw all the way.
I cut about 40 of these bad boys, then sanded them to a smooth finish.
Step 2: Drilling
After fiddling around with different configurations, I decided to go with a staggered, brick-like pattern for interest and movement.
I would be using a strong 1/2 inch cotton rope to hold the blocks together, but since I wanted the top of the rug to be smooth, I would need to drill into the sides of the blocks, thread the rope through these holes, for a flawless rug surface.
Since my blocks were 5 inches wide, I would drill two holes into the sides of the blocks, both at the 1 inch mark of each side. This way the staggered configuration could hold strong.
I used a drill press to make the holes, and a drill bit that was slightly larger in diameter than my rope. I made a quick jig on the drill press that would allow me to just insert a block and press down, creating a precise hole. Otherwise, I would spent hours perfectly measuring and marking where the holes should go. This saved me a bunch of time as I would be making 2 holes for 40 blocks. yikes!
Step 3: Oiling
After all the holes had been made, I decided to get my money's worth by bringing the beautiful grain out of the walnut wood. I used Boos Lock mystery oil to achieve this. This stuff is phenomenal! I sprayed the oil over the surface of the walnut blocks, smeared it around, then wiped off excess. I did about 3 coats of this, remembering to not neglect the edges! This step was really rewarding! Look at the amazing color!
Step 4: Cutting Aluminum Piping
So even though the rope would be holding the blocks together, I would still need something that would allow for spacing between the blocks. Initially, I thought I would tie knots in the rope between threading, but this proved unwieldy and cumbersome, so I decided to go with small bits of aluminum piping. I made sure the gauge was correct for my rope diameter to thread through. It was, and so I cut loads of aluminum piping down to 3/4 inch. Once this step was complete, I would finally be able to start threading my rug!
Step 5: Threading
Taking all of my materials, wood blocks, rope, and aluminum piping, I could start threading!
First, I wrapped duct tape around the end of my rope I would be using the thread. This would ensure it wouldn't unravel, and would make threading quick and painless. I even made a narrower edge so it resembled a needle.
Rotating between a block and piping, I threaded a column of 4 blocks initially, but since I wanted a staggering pattern, I gave the second column 5 blocks, and went on alternating this way until I finished off my blocks. In the end I only used 36 of my blocks and 56 bits of piping.
I wanted a hand-made feel, so at the two ends, I just knotted and cut the rope.
And here we have it! A beautiful, one of a kind, wooden rug. I think it would look even better if made on a larger scale, but for my needs, my final dimensions of ~36 inches squared was perfect.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!