Mother Earth Living

Try This: Handmade Rug

Cut up your old, torn, battered and stained T-shirts to make this rug.
By Susan Wasinger
January/February 2005
Add to My MSN

This rug is woven using the simple technique we once used to make potholders on little metal looms in kindergarten. Translation: Anyone can do it! For the more modern rug on this page, we used an all-black warp; all the horizontal loops are from black T-shirts. Then we alternated blue and green tones for the vertical loops. For the rug opposite, we alternated tan and blue for the warp, then mixed up several colors and even stripes on the vertical loops, giving it a more traditional rag rug appeal.

Content Tools

Related Content

EcoArt Organic Cotton Decorative Throw Pillows from Wabisabi Green

With more than 32 designs to choose from, you’re sure to find an organic cotton throw pillow for you...

Six Rug Companies Join Campaign to End Child Labor

Six rug and carpet companies have joined the GoodWeave certification program, which works to end ill...

Eco-Friendly Nursery Decor

Finding adorable and eco-friendly nursery decor is easy! It's narrowing down the options that is the...

2010 Predictions: Interior Design Trends

For part two in our 2010 Predictions series, Natural Home forecasts warm, vibrant colors and more na...

It’s a scientific fact (or should be, anyway) that surviving winter requires an extra dose of the warm and fuzzies. You can generate them with anything handmade, and recycling something in an unusual and useful way definitely provides your daily requirement. So cut up your old, torn, battered, stained T-shirts and weave yourself a soft and sweet, warm and fuzzy rag rug. It’s a fun snowy-afternoon project—deceptively easy and even a little addictive. Once you’ve made your loom, you’ll find that one rug is never enough.

1. CUT SHIRTS: We used 7 or 8 medium and large T-shirts in a variety of colors to make one rug. Cut the body of the T-shirts horizontally into 3-inch wide strips. Don’t cut the side seams, as these strips are the loops you weave with.

2. BUILD FRAME: Make a 23-by-32-inch frame from 2-by-2-inch pine or redwood scraps. This will make a rug that’s about 18 by 23 inches. To weave a bigger rug, you’ll need bigger T-shirts as the loops cut from them must be able to stretch across the frame. For the loom posts, use 2-inch finish nails spaced 1 inch apart.

3. WARP: Stretch the T-shirt loops the long way across the frame to create the warp. Note how the stretched loops become two strings across the frame. Hook loops on nail posts.

4. WEFT: Working on the shorter axis (this is the weft), weave the end of a loop under one string, then over the next string, then under again all the way across the warp strings. The next loop should go over where the previous one went under, and under where it went over. Loop on nails.

5. FINISH WARP: When all the weaving is done, simply slip the warp loops off their nails.

6. FINISH WEFT: For the weft loops, work from left to right. Start by slipping the first 2 loops off their nails. Push the loop on the right through its neighbor on the left. Hold onto that loop while slipping the next loop off its nail. Now this new loop goes through the one on its left. Continue this pattern across the frame.

7. THE OFF: Once you have finished all the steps above, there will be only one last loop remaining. This last vertical loop needs to be cut. One cut end should be pushed through its neighbor. Tie both ends in a knot. Clip and tuck them away.

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.