Making a braided rag rug usually involve sewing. The no-sew woven version is something of a unicorn!
The weaving below follows the same principle that we all used in making those funny cotton loop potholders–under, over, under, over. If you remember that, you’ve got a head start!
No-Sew Homemade Rag Rug
Preparing Your Fabric
Gather two colors of fabric scraps. I used t-shirts for this rug, however, I don’t recommend it; the rug didn’t want to lay flat. The braiding stretched the material and it really wanted to spring back.
Grab your favorite fabric shears, cut strips 1-3 inches wide, and remove any seams. Try to get them at least a few feet long. The shorter the strip, the more often you have to join new strips. If you want to have even less joining, you can use the cutting technique in our make fabric yarn post. (.)
Hold two strips together and LOOSELY knot them back on themselves. You’ll be trying to shove fabric through this later, so if it’s too tight, you’ll get aggravated. Also, notice that the pieces in the picture are UNEVEN. At the end of every strand, you’ll have to join a new one. Rag rugs look better if that’s staggered. If you want stripes like mine, arrange your colors to alternate A,B,A,B when you lay them flat.
Making a Turn
After I went UOU with that gray strip, I turned the whole braid to point away from me. Then I pull that gray guy around and tucked him in the edge of the original braid.
Until you get all of the strips turned, the “right” hand strip will be at the top. Pick the top guy (blue, here), weave UOUO. Pull that last tucked friend of his (gray, here) and include him in the current UOU.* Then tuck him in the main braid.
Depending on your material, your rug may not want to lie flat if you turn too quickly. You may not get to tuck EVERY strand into the original braid. Sometimes you might have to skip tucking a couple so you can turn the corner smoothly. In that case, just stop at the * in the paragraph above and lay him down next to the main braid.
Once you’ve make the turn, work your way back down to the starting knot following the exact same pattern as you used to make the original braid, tucking the end through each time. (If you want the stripes, tuck it in its OWN color.)
Once you get back down to the original knot, and work your way around the curve, it’s time to add a strip! To maintain the stripes, I joined one of each color together and stuck it through the starting knot in a way that kept the pattern. Then, I continued braiding the same way I had been all along, but now there was it was under, over, under, over, under (UOUOU)–>TUCK!
WHEW, this is way harder to explain than it is to do! For another explanation, in fact the only other explanation I’ve seen on the whole internet, click here.
Let’s also pause to learn how to join (slip-knot) strips to each other:
Cut a hole in the ends of both strips you want to join. Shove the new on through the old one. Then push the tail end of the new strip through it’s own hole and tug until snug.
Back to our regularly scheduled tutorial…
Around and Back, Then Add Two More
With your SIX strips, going UOUOU–Tuck!, continue down to the far end, make the turn and come back. When you reach the original knot end, make the turn (mostly) and add two more strips, wherever you can sneak it in.
Taper Down, Now
Once the rug is the width you want it across the middle, it’s time to work yourself back down to 8 strips, then 6, 4, 2, and finally none in a way that doesn’t throw off your overall shape. When I decreased in the picture, I went under, over, under, over, under–>TUCK–>TUCK AGAIN under two more blues horizontally—>snip off the excess.
You made a no-sew braided rag rug! If you’d like to see another tutorial with the same technique, check out our Miraculous No-Sew Rag Bag.
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