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!

Love,

Mary x