How To Make A Rainbow Rag Rug Reusing Your Old Clothes

January blues… and greens… and yellows

It has been a few weeks since my last post because, well, LIFE, my friends. Yet in spite of slacking on my New Year’s Resolution about blogging, I can completely tick another off the list. That’s right, I have finally finished making my rainbow rag rug!

Rainbow rag rug

Since moving back home after university, I have been making a conscious effort to declutter my life, one tank top at a time. Charity shops are a great place to start because anything they don’t sell can be cashed in for rags. However, if you as sentimental as I am  then this is easier said than done.

I had an idea. Why not make my own rags and create a rug? Full of old clothes and memories? I have always loved the rag rug my Granny made for me, and my meetings with my dissertation supervisor were rendered slightly less traumatic by the multicoloured magic carpet in the middle of her office.

If you want to see how I made mine, then read on!

Rainbow rag rug

To make a (rainbow) rag rug, you will need:

  • Rug canvas – I used the Zweigart Quality Rug Canvas but any will do as long as the squares are big enough to thread through your rags
  • Fabric/dressmaking scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Old clothes and fabric – roughly 30-40 T-shirt-sized garments for a 60 x 100cm rug. Soft fabrics give your rug a lovely texture, but I used a complete mix based on what clothes I had
  • TIME & PATIENCE – oodles of it

Stage 1: Collecting and cutting

First of all, gather together all of the garments you want to use and consider how you might like to arrange them on your rug. I had a lot of brightly coloured clothes so it made sense for me to make a rainbow pattern. Using a tie dye kit, I coloured some of my plain white clothes in the shades that I felt were missing.

When you are happy with your materials, it’s time to get out your fabric scissors and start chopping. Ideally you want to cut your clothes into rectangles of about 1 x 4 inches, but I would say that anywhere between 3-5 inches is fine. In total you will have to cut approx. 2500 rags, so this is not for the faint-hearted!

coloured rags

Stage 2: Preparing your canvas

Using a tape measure, mark out the size of rug you want (e.g. 60 x 100cm), leave a few squares of margin along each edge of the rectangle and cut it out. That way, you can fold under the excess, align it with the other squares and thread through to make four clean edges.

If your canvas starts to fray at any point, you could use glue (or clear nail varnish as I did!) to fix it in place.

Stage 3: Tying the rags

The process is really quite simple… loop the rag through a square and tie a knot!

I worked along the shorter side of my canvas, which had 80 squares. I knotted on the bottom edge of every other square, doubling up at the end to avoid any gaps along the edge of the rug, using a total of 41 rags per row.

tying the rags

For the fringing effect along the top and bottom shorter edges, you could make and tie tassels on the edge of the square between each rag, but I just cut my rags from an old tasselled scarf!

As you can see from the underside of my rug, I only knotted along every other row. If you have the time and enough rags then by all means use every row, but my rug is full with no gaps so there was no need.

Rag rug underside

I staggered each fabric to avoid harsh lines and colour blocks. For example, one row might be alternating between sky blue and turquoise, then the next would be turquoise and teal, then teal and green and so on. In this case, you will need 21+20 rags for each row.

And there you have it! If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to comment below.

N.B.: I realise that this post is a bit different in content to my previous month’s blogging challenge, but for now I just fancy sharing whatever I feel like. If this interests you then great!


Mary x









Books are my bag

25 days of kindness – December 16th

It seems that yesterday’s self-kindness paid off since I managed a solid 9 HOURS of sleep. Well, I say solid… apparently I have started ‘sleep-checking’ my phone whenever it vibrates… definitely time for a big switch-off!

Plan A

My body and mind well rested, I was determined to hit it big style with my extra act of kindness. I gathered a bunch of magazines and a virtually blank puzzle book (minus the codebreakers – they are my favourites!) and brought them to my local doctor’s surgery. An anxious patient myself, I totally empathise with those in need of distraction whilst they sit nervously anticipating a potentially upsetting or embarrassing appointment, so I had intended to leave the magazines on the table in the waiting area. Intended being the operative word; it was closed. I thought that the doctor’s offered appointments on Saturday mornings, but evidently not this Saturday. Not to worry! By now I am well accustomed to good deed failed attempts, so I had a back-up plan.

IMG_E8541 (2)

Plan B

Careful not to slip on the ice, I made my way up the hill and around the corner to the library. As inconspicuously as possible, I began perusing the shelves until I spotted a novel I had recently read and loved: Aleph by Paulo Coelho. Pretending to read the inside cover, I surreptitiously slipped a pre-written note inside wishing its next reader a lovely day, slotted the book back in its place and strolled out of the library as nonchalantly as I could, making a mental note to go there more often.

In other news, a positive consequence of the daily pressure of this challenge is that I have become very proactive and much more efficient in general. Whenever I have a job to do, I try to plan ahead so that it coincides with my act of kindness or vice versa, and I get it done that same day. I just hope that this will continue once blogmas is over!


Mary x

Be kind to yourself

25 days of kindness – December 15th

Being kind to others is a way of being good to yourself.

I came across this quote by Harold Kushner today and I am completely on board. Not only does consciously being kind improve our feeling of self worth, but seeing someone appreciate our action can leave us with that warm and fuzzy feeling.

Yet after a difficult day and hours spent compiling lists of potential acts of kindness, nothing seemed a viable option… until I saw the following suggestion: be kind to yourself. And that’s when I realised that Harold Kushner’s idea concept can also work in reverse. Sometimes, you have to be good to yourself in order to be kind to others. Whether that’s taking a hot bath, sitting down to eat something delicious and nutritious, or in my case, drinking a big glass water, closing my laptop and getting an early night. It’s time to stop beating myself up about things I can’t change and to wake up tomorrow ready again to kill it with kindness.


Mary x

P.S. My cheek swab kit arrived today from DKMS blood stem cell donation! (See my post ‘Bloody Mary’ from December 7th).

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

If you can’t feel festive and fabulous at your office Christmas party, then when can you?

Rocking a whole lot of glitter, tinsel and an elasticated waistband, I was ready for an evening of eating and dancing with the La Tete Et Tout girls.

But not before one of my favourite Christmas activities: Secret Santa. With a £10 budget, we all brought a present for an unknown recipient and swapped them around the table. I absolutely adore buying and wrapping gifts, so for me this was a present in itself. Having contributed a beautifully scented and locally sourced soy candle from Pale Barn, I was secretly hoping to receive my own gift. I did not, so, Pale Barn, feel free to send me all of your stock! All was not lost, though, since I am now the proud owner of a trio of floral body butters and two miniature bottles of flavoured gin!

I was having such a great night that I almost forgot about my act of kindness. Rummaging through my over-filled clutch, I found my pen and post-it notes and ran to the ladies’ loos to stick this on the mirror. All too often we are made to feel insignificant or worthless, so I just hoped this might remind some one that this is far from the case.


My own regret is having written ‘you LOOK beautiful’ and not ‘you ARE beautiful’, because as we all know, beauty is everything but superficial.


Mary x


Feeling rotten

25 days of kindness – December 12th

There are few ways to feel more festive than by reading a children’s Christmas story.

I was skimming though The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher, purely to check if it might be a suitable gift for my Goddaughter, of course, and not at all for my own enjoyment… I’m a grown 23-year-old adult after all…

It was absolutely lovely and funny and silly as kids’ books should be, until a particular paragraph caught me off guard and I found myself completely choked.

Feeling rotten is much worse than just feeling bad or sad. Feeling rotten is when it seems like no one else in the world understands how you’re feeling.

Even though the story is written for children, it approaches a subject which people of all ages can relate to, whether you call it depression, being down in the dumps or “feeling rotten”. And whilst Christmas for many is a time of celebration, we mustn’t forget that for others it can be extremely isolating and lonely.

talk to us

I was immediately reminded of a post I had seen on my Facebook News Feed earlier today and felt I just had to share it.

It’s okay not to be okay 💙
Sometimes it’s easier talking to a stranger…
With Christmas adverts shouting about the ‘perfect’ life, this is more important than usual. The Samaritans, free call 116 123 (UK). A simple copy and paste might save a life.
Would 3 of my Facebook friends please copy this post?
#SuicideAwareness #MentalHealth #ItsGoodToTalk

It’s such a small and simple act, yet if seen at a critical moment, it could be life-saving.

Look out for each other… 💙


Mary x

Mondays and mini messages

25 days of kindness –
December 11th

Alas, another Monday. On the plus side, there’s only one more dreaded M-day until Christmas!

Working from home, I find knowing it’s the start of a new week quite motivational. But then again, I don’t have to leave the house in the morning whilst it’s still dark, de-ice the windscreen, sit in traffic for an hour only to then sit in a grey box at a computer all day. All I do is change from my nighttime into my daytime pyjamas, make a cup of tea and some hot buttered crumpets then I’m good to go!

Anyway, I digress. Christmas spirit, acts of kindness and all that jazz.

It has become increasingly apparent to me how difficult it is to be kind to people when you go virtually the whole day without seeing anyone. Oh, the joys of living in the sticks… The only time I did leave the house today was to visit my elderly Grandmother in her new care home, but that hardly counts as being kind, but rather as being human.

No. Today I decided to do a little something for my Dad. If you saw my post on Saturday, you would know that if there’s something you could possibly do to help my father, he’ll already have done it before you had any idea. So, how do you do something thoughtful for the man who leaves nothing to chance?

Because I’m insured to drive my Dad’s car (and my Dad is a generous man), he always fills the glove box with sweets and chocolates in case I get peckish. As a result, we have an ongoing joke-argument in which I tell him off for making me eat rubbish, and he protests that he only buys things because I keep eating them. I did consider being the one to fill the glove box for a change as my act for the day, but naturally there was no need since it had recently been re-stocked with Werther’s Originals and a packet of Jelly Babies. I settled instead for leaving a little message on the steering wheel for when he goes to work in the morning.


Now to try and prevent him from reading this blog and ruining the surprise…


Mary x


Hoppin’ around the Christmas tree

25 days of kindness – December 10th

After yesterday’s initial snow-induced excitement, today I was faced with the harsh reality of this much loved wintry weather; it melts. Yet my goodness, is it still cold.

Home alone (queue one of the best Christmas films of all time) and flipping freezing, I did what I can only do when nobody else is around. From the top of the stairs, I took a deep breathe and starting singing P!nk songs that are completely beyond my range and ability as loud as I could. That’s when it occurred to me that, if I was done with working for the day, then I really ought to decorate the Christmas tree…

When I was little, I possibly enjoyed decorating the tree more than Christmas day itself. We would listen to the same old CD of Christmas classics on repeat and fight over who’s turn it was to put the angel on top of the tree. In fact one year,  my parents even bought me my own 3ft white fibre-optic tree for my bedroom so I could have double the fun. Fifteen years later, however, I feel somewhat disenchanted and the whole charade is more of a chore than a pleasure. I know my parents feel a similar way, so I thought it would be a nice surprise for them to return home to a more festive front room.

An hour of hoppin’ round the Christmas tree later – I kept tripping over the lights – and this was the finished result:


I can’t take any credit for putting up the tree or arranging the fairy lights, but the uneven distribution of the baubles and beads is all my own work. Also, I’m not sure where this little guy came from, but he is rapidly becoming my favourite bauble.


Could I be any more British?!


Mary x