Try This: Handmade Rug

Cut up your old, torn, battered and stained T-shirts to make this rug.


| January/February 2005


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.





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