Secrets of the No-Sew Rag Rug

by Daisy

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. (.)

Getting Started
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.

Begin Braiding
Take the one on the far right side and go “under, over, under, over”(UOUO) heading to the left.

Continue taking each right-hand strand and going “under, over, under” (UOU). Notice that it’s not a TIGHT braid. Just snug enough to lay flat and hold its shape.

When you get a braid about 1/2 the length of the rag rug you want, stop.

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.)

Adding More Strips

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!

You can’t see, but there’s SIX strips now.
Important to keep an even number the whole way.


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.

Continue UOUOUOU–Tuck!

Every time you work yourself back to the beginning knot, add another set of strips to your rag rug until you get the width you’re looking for.


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.

Continue until you run out of strands. Weave in that last end and snip it!

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.

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.
Stephanie November 5, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Great tutorial, but I think this is one I’m going to have to do to really get. Thanks!

Nothinglikeit November 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Very Cool! I have to try this!


DayPhoto November 5, 2008 at 10:15 pm

I like this! I have wanted to do this for a long time and here it is.

Which by the way do you have a recipe for pumpkin muffins using a spice box mix?


Ivory Soap November 6, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Ya know, I really don’t have a pumpkin muffin recipe. I’ll check with the MIL. Any great baking recipe I have comes from her. I’ll ask TL too.


DayPhoto November 6, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Thank you! I just found a great pumpkin scone recipe, but not from a cake mix. 🙂


DayPhoto November 6, 2008 at 6:31 pm

I found one—see if you like it. I’m going to make some tonight.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins
• 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
• 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves until smooth. Spoon equal amounts of batter into the prepared muffin cups.
3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.


Nancy Ward June 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm


Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to your No Sew Rag Rug tutorial.

Would you let me know that’s OK?


Nancy Ward

ivorysoap76 June 10, 2009 at 8:37 pm

@Nancy–Of course it’s fine!!! We love links. And sorry it took so long to get back to you. Your note got stuck in our spam filter.

Swedie June 15, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Looks quick and easy… thanks for sharing a great idea!

ivorysoap76 June 16, 2009 at 6:38 am

@Swedie–Hurray! Tell me how it goes!

Tabbyjacks June 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I love IT!!!! I have several peices of material to use. This perfect! My husband is building a new deck so I have some place to put it. Thank you for the very detailed instructions.


ivorysoap76 June 19, 2009 at 6:40 am

@TabbyJacks–You’re welcome! I also went through the technique again on my no-sew rag bag. I think those instructions are *prettier*. HA!

Bibliorg June 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Hey, do you think a jean material would work well with this template? I have a huge amount of old jeans that I’ve been meaning to turn into a rug, and I really like the look of your pattern. =)

Ivory Soap June 29, 2009 at 8:22 pm

@Bibliorg–Totally. I think the stretchiness of my t-shirts contributed to it not wanting to lay flat. I bet jeans would solve that problem.

Emerald August 28, 2009 at 10:17 pm

This is rad! It looks like a fingerprint from far away, I’m giving this a try for sure! Thanks for sharing the how-to.

kris August 31, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I’m getting lost when you have to add more. i sort of kept going with the same technique under over under tuck. Can i just do that the whole time a get the same results. I’m real lost with number nine. I’m very new to this, help please?

Ivory Soap September 1, 2009 at 11:50 am

You can keep going without adding as long as your rug lays flat. Otherwise, just slip another in there when it starts to pick up.

chrysshart October 13, 2009 at 2:19 am

I love this. It looks just like a fingerprint!

Rachel November 9, 2009 at 2:02 am

Wow, that is so cool! I have a rag rug and I jusst love it. I’ve never seen a no-sew version! Heather from CROQZine emailed me about this and I’m so glad she did. This is fabulous. I’ll be linking, thanks so much!

An Almost Unschooling Mom November 9, 2009 at 9:53 pm

I didn’t know this was possible – thanks so much for sharing this – I’m bookmarking, and the first free minute I have, is going into one of these projects.

Sara November 11, 2009 at 3:47 am

Wow, this is great! The thing that really annoyed me about trying to make a traditional braided rug (got as far as doormat size and gave up…..) was the sewing together of the braids, love the fact that this avoids that altogether. Don’t know whether i’ll get to a project like this as I’m so busy coming up with projects for my blog Do drop by for a visit!

Darci November 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm

My Grandma-in-law (is that even a relation? anyway…) has a rag rug of all different colors in her kitchen, and I oo and aw over it every time I see it. Now I can oo and aw over my very own!! YAY!

Rebecca November 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm

My 84 year old Aunt makes these rugs out of dollar store platic table clothes. They work great for patio’s, mud rooms, and entrance from garage. She has told me how easy they are to make now that I have pitures to follow can’t wait to try myself. I’m off to the store for supplies!

Joanne November 16, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Oh gosh, I always wanted to make a rag rug. It was great fun to begin. I couldn’t get the turn though. It would be GREAT if you started with 4 colors and then took pictures of EACH single strand as it makes the turn. For us slow pokes, if you get the chance! And then I hope I can find this site again!

Carisa Holmes November 18, 2009 at 10:22 am

WOw I’m impressed! The rug looks amazing, though I’m not sure I have the skill or patience to make my own 🙁 What I love about it is how you solve multiple problems with one project.
1. You are diverting waste from landfills by repurposing old fabric
2. You are preventing the need for yet another new, toxic, synthetic rug
3. You are filling a need for a product without using ANY new materials


Maybe I will send you all my worn out organic fabrics and we can take over the world…

Ivory Soap November 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Ooooo, Carisa, you called me a genius…. Did I pay you to say that?

Rachel November 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm

included this in a blog post that will feature 101 homemade gift ideas. It runs the day after Thanksgiving:

amy l December 31, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I tried your pattern about 6 months ago, because I think it looks so awesome with the swirly pattern. My question is, when the rug started getting “rug size” it wasn’t nearly as tight as the first severaly rows. Meaning, the fabric sections that loop got to be about 2 inches apart instead of around a 1/2 inch like they were the first several rows. I did keep the fabric pulled as tight through the whole rug. I was wondering if you have any advice on this, since it looks like your finished rug is weaved the same size throughout.

Ivory Soap January 1, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I think I added a great deal more strands as I went.

DW January 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I was just wondering, can you estimate how much fabric went in? Even if it’s just “10 shirts, 2 sheets, etc” or something like that. Just to get an idea…thanks!

Ivory Soap January 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm

DW: two BIG old navy t-shirts (remember in the late nineties when everything was still roomy?) and one stained up-to-date old navy t-shirt (relaxed fit…as if!)

Pep Pop January 19, 2010 at 10:23 am

Thanks for your tutorial.

elemegibere January 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Thank you, a great weave!

liz January 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Thank you! These instructions were very straightforward. My first try is a little loose and lumpy, but I think I will give it another go with thinner fabric (I used scarves from the lost and found 🙂

Morgan February 13, 2010 at 11:33 pm

am I the only one who thinks it looks a bit like a fingerprint? It’s completely badass

Leslie February 19, 2010 at 7:06 am

My hubband wants a rug like this because he played on one like it when he was growing up. Now I can make it instead of buying it…YAY! Check out our self sufficiency blog if you like!

Jen March 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I love this rug! I see I’m a little late in finding it, but has anyone tried making one much larger? I’m thinking like 8’x10′ for my kids playroom, with random fun colors. Also, has anyone tried it with other fabrics? I have some old fleece blankets, or I was thinking possibly using just cotton fabrics (not knit like t-shirts).

BethK April 8, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I’ve been thinking of trying this with a HUGE pile of old ties that are out of style … neither my dad nor my husband will wear ’em anymore. It would be interesting, but I don’t know about durability.

Anyone else have low-cost craft ideas for a pile of old ties? 🙂

Dane June 25, 2010 at 1:47 am

If you’ve still got those ties, BethK, you can totally make a skirt:

Wondering what to do with all of dad’s old ties? Try this!
1. Start collecting a bunch of ties, somewhere from 10 to 20 depending on your size.
2. Find a rectangular piece of black cloth, the length of your waist and the height a little less than that of the ties.
3. Lay the ties face down in a horizontal row with no spaces in between.
4. Pin the black cloth to the ties, all along the top edges of them.
5. Begin sewing from the backside of your creation, the needle of your sewing machine should be running along the black cloth side of it.
6. You might want to also sew along the bottom edge of the ties, if you don’t want them to flap around.
7. To be able to close your skirt, I recommend those snappy little buttons from the cloth store. Or just safety pin it closed!

Judy August 14, 2010 at 12:31 pm

That is one impressive rug. I like that a lot. It is the hardest thing you have showed so far. Maybe I’ll start keeping old clothes for this project. It must be hard to keep the stripes exactly right. Thank you for sharing it.

Ivory Soap August 20, 2010 at 5:23 am

Judy, your right. It’s not for the faint of heart. Glad you like it.

marie illius August 20, 2010 at 4:56 pm

The rag rug is great, and the spice cake mix/pumpkin cake is just that– a box of spice cake mix, a small can of pumpkin mixed with enough water to the correct consistancy for a cake (or half of a large can). Some canned pumpkin is more soid than others. Bake at 350 until done (about 35 minutes).

mcleodhandcraftgifts August 31, 2010 at 3:42 am

With a creative mind, you can do amazing things ! Clever !!

Bianca September 12, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Thank you so much for this. I have been searching the internet for a tutorial for this type of rag rug and your instructions were much easier to understand than the one other postI found. I am going to get started right now 🙂

amanda h September 12, 2010 at 7:04 pm

The best rag rug directions I have found. I’m looking foward to making a custom size rag rug for the hall bathroom.

Becky October 7, 2010 at 12:01 am

This is awesome! I’m thinking 2 for under the stove and the sink! my feet and back are always killing me from cooking (and then cleaning up!) so rugs would be great. What material would you suggest for a soft, bouncy feel? =)

Marilyn October 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Ummmm heLLooo, I love this and I love your blog!!

how to make beats October 13, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Amazing, I found your site on Bing looking around for something completely unrelated and I really enjoyed your site. I will stop by again to read some more posts. Thanks!

Lisa October 31, 2010 at 10:31 am

This is such a great project! I found it through a Care2 article link and was inspired to try making a bedside rug for my niece using a whole pile of old clothes and fabrics. Since, second to using what I had on hand, color was paramount and I didn’t have enough of any one fabric type for a whole rug, I experimented with mixing fabrics: a Laura Ashley cotton floral dress from the eighties (remember those?!), an old pink sheet and pillowcases, a pile of old white t-shirts, a rose-colored sweatshirt and pants. I did the alternating fabrics as shown here, and when I ran out of one simply started with another, which gave me a pink-and-floral center surrounded by a pink-and-white ring and then a pink-and-rose border. I didn’t try too hard keep the stripes going, though, because I thought I’d get too frustrated and besides, looking at them made me a little dizzy! The outer rings turned out thicker and softer because they were partly jersey and sweatshirt material.

Like Liz’s first effort, mine is a little lumpy and loose in places, a little tight in others–I should have paid more attention to the linked instructions that specify to skip every other tuck when turning corners, but I decided to do it just like the one here even though mine wasn’t all jersey. I also think it’s more important than I realized to keep the fabric strands roughly equal in bulk (so thicker fabrics get thinner strips and vice versa), and also to taper the ends of the strands to a rounded point for a neater, less bulky joining knot (not as critical with the jersey, which snugs up nicely even with blunt ends). I also discovered that it’s important to work the whole rug on a flat surface–when mine got big I rashly decided to let it hang off the worktable instead of moving it to the floor, and it got all stretched out of shape. I’ve been able to tug and pull it back into a flat near-oval, though, so the looseness in places turned out to be a good thing in this case.

The roughly 3-1/2 x 5-1/2 almost-finished rug took me 4 movie-watching evenings–much quicker than I had expected. It felt like getting the rag strips ready took almost as long as the rug-making itself (and wasn’t nearly as fun).

The only place I had trouble was with instructions for decreasing: I got stymied by the fact that when you end a strand, you’re left with an uneven number and the braid doesn’t work (your braiding strand comes out underneath and then you have to tuck up instead of down, leaving you with two “over” strands in a row at the end)–so you have to decrease in twos, the same way you increase, but I couldn’t quite see how to do that properly. Would you end the second strand by tucking it in before the end of the braid row so it doesn’t throw off the over-under pattern? I’m trying different approaches and they all look a little messy.

I’m going to start a second one soon and am looking forward to making one that looks as neat and balanced as yours. Many thanks sharing this wonderful “unicorn” with us!

Cheryl Kindred, Sarasota Doula November 9, 2010 at 7:41 am

GREAT tut! I’ve got 3 vintage sheets worth of strips, and tried another tut that was not so good… I’m going to try this in january!

Razel December 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Wow I was writing a story about my Grandmother and the memory of the rag rugs she had on her floors came to mind. I wanted to make sure I called it the right thing so I did a search and found your site.

Now I am inspired to make my own rag rugs thank you so much for taking the time to post this on line. What a blessing!

betty January 15, 2011 at 11:20 pm

These rugs are really beautiful! I want to make one! My grandma used to make these rag rugs but she sewed the strips together and then rolled the strips into balls till she was ready to make one. I never did see how she put them together tho…. but I love how easy it looks to braid one of these rugs. Of course it could be more complicated I guess I will find out when I attempt to make one. I hope I can. I just love these rugs!

Nina Smith January 31, 2011 at 7:07 am

Thanks for posting this. I am in the process of re-doing my teenage daugters room on a very limited budget. We’ve painted, new curtains and new bedding but she also wanted a rug and I can’t find what I’m looking for in the store so I thought…hmmmm, I’ll make one! I thought about the no sew blankets that are so popular now and figured there must be some kind of no sew scatter rug I can make. My search landed me empty, until I came across your posting. We are preparing for a major winter storm in the mid-west starting later today so I’ll have lots of time to work on my new project. Hope it’s as easy for me as it looked for you.

glenda February 5, 2011 at 3:50 am

Thanks so much, my elderly friend now in nursing care made these braided and woven rugs and showed me once. I had forgotten how to make them and have been messing around with rag yarn for sometime trying to figure this out, you definitely saved my day, as you are making yours similar to hers, but I recall hers used more braids to weave with but not sure how many, 6 or 7, do you use odd or even?

anyways saving this to find later. I know you have given me back hope of learning this method. since she is no longer able to show anyone, its nice to know this instructional is here!!

thanks again.

Maija February 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm


What a wonderful idea! You’ve done a great job at describing the method.
My question is about the finished shape. Is it possible to make the rug more square or rectangular – ish?

Rachelle February 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm

what a cool way to repurpose old clothes. and it looks like a fingerprint!!

Becky April 10, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Could you tie it at each end so you have little tassles?

Shirley June 14, 2011 at 3:18 am

This information is incredibly detailed and very helpful for any first-time rag rug maker – thank you for sharing. If however you are ever in the market for homemade rag rugs, candles, and/or soaps I would very much appreciate it if you visited my website at
Thank you.

Cyndi July 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I did it! I made a small rug for practice! I wish I could show you but I’m not sure how to post a pic for you to see. You could see it on my blog at
Thanks so much for the easy tutorial! I think some day I’ll make a really useful, bigger rug! It takes a lot of fabric though!

Camilla July 28, 2011 at 8:33 am

Hi, I want to make a rug of my own and wanted to know how many t-shirts you needed to make the rug shown here? And how long did it take you? Thanks for your help and for a great tutorial!

Ivory Soap July 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I think it took three shirts and a couple of days work.

Poor College Student July 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm

So, I have about a garbage bag full of tshirts, and this looks like the best way to make them into a rug. My question is though: Where do you hook on the strips when you’re adding new ones in? Just anywhere on the part that’s already braided? Or where there isn’t one already tucked through? The other tutorial didn’t explain this part very well either.
The rest of the tutorial is excellent, thanks very much for posting 🙂 I’m excited to get started.

Mamachildress August 8, 2011 at 7:40 am

I’m wondering if it matters the weight of the fabric you re using. I have many scraps of fabric…. denim, cotton, knit, etc.

Thanks so much!

tatiana August 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm

it looks like it has way to many strips of fabric i think ill start with a pot holder till i figure out the way too add more without dropping a braid somewhere…..think i heed practie

Emily August 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm

This is too cool. My mom gave me some old purple curtains last time she was in for a visit…this was the only thing I could find on the web for how to make a rug out them. It was very helpful…when I was finished however, I still had a ton of scraps left over so I knotted them through the top of the rug and left the tails out…looks very funky and fun…like 70s shag. The rug now has a home in my daughter’s room. Thankyou for posting the steps!

Susan August 17, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Maija, I was wondering about making a rectangular rug, too. I’m going to try Becky’s suggestion and make rows woven together and tasseled at the end instead of turning (which in my experience with sew and naalbinding rugs is hard to keep flat). To the thrift store for gray and yellow tees!

bj September 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm

i make rag rugs by crocheting them with a big hook. they don’t look like yours…i do like the look you achieve. thank u for the lesson.

Shandell September 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

I’ve tried making this rug twice and about halfway through it curls up and won’t lay flat. I need some help troubleshooting! I used the other tutorial you linked to as well. I think my issues is skipping tucks at the turns, I don’t know if I’m interpreting that part correctly. help?

Dana September 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I gotta tell you I love the Name of your blog!!! The project is fantastic too!

What A Hoot October 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Wow, this is great. I learned years ago how to do something like this but stayed with only five strips and it was sort of sloppy. I could not remember how to do it and then found here on a google search. The neat thing is you increase and then do a wind down which eliminates the problem of the one I had made. I am so excited to start one. Thank you. Great explanation, by the way.

PamB November 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Love love love!! Have you noticed how much your rug looks like a fingerprint?!! Being a huge fan of NCIS, I must try to duplicate it!! Thanks so much for the wonderful detailed tutorial!!

Joyce November 17, 2011 at 12:32 am

I was so excited to make one of these rugs, that I started and am having great difficulty with the laying flat. I wish I could watch you demonstrate the skipping tucks idea. I don’t get it. I’m going to take the rug apart back to where it’s starting to bulge on the corners and hopefully I will have heard back from you by then. Thanks so much.

Cindy Jernee November 17, 2011 at 1:35 am

Wow! I have been looking for a rug for my livingroom in colors that are pretty unusual. I found a rag rug for my kitchen that is perfect and now I can’t wait to make one for my livingroom now that I know how. Thanks for the idea and the great tutorial!

Nadine November 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I’ve been trying to find out if there’s some other name for this particular rag-rug making technique — I’m interested in the history — but I can’t find anything in all of my research that matches this type of braiding/no-sew method. Anybody have any ideas?

olivia December 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I have just attempted my first no sew rag rug and would like to suggest a few hints I have found that make it an easier project: the fabric should be the same type-thickness (varied thicknesses of fabric contributes to bunching), try to make the strips the same width (helps the rug to lay flat), and pull the strips of fabric to stretch them out as it will make the strips more uniform for a flatter rug. Are there any more hints out there?

olivia January 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Despite the hints, the skipping, even width strips etc I STILL could not get the rug to lay flat (makes a nice big hat though) so instead of putting the knot in the middle of 2 strips (step 2) I used 3 strips and braided them instead of weaving. Other than that I followed the same pattern of tucking and turning but the best part is you don’t have to tie on new strips just keep adding to the same 3, try it out if you are having trouble like I was.

Judy Lewis January 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Thank you for the detailed instructions. Can’t wait to get started. I remember my grandmother having them all over the house. I am so excited to see the finished project on my hard wood floors.

KarenInTheWoods January 6, 2012 at 8:27 am

Thank you so much for the shoutout link to Chris Gustin’s page with my rug instructions on it. I have also now added them to my own website too. I love the way you used the colors into a perfect swirl! I never tried it with tshirt material, sounds like a good fabric to try when it rolls up like that.

I have used this method of making rugs when we women were stuck at hunting camp with the guys for three days. All we needed was a bag of rags and a scissors! No looms in hunting camp. HAHA It was a fun way to use up rags and create something wonderful and usable at the same time.

(Our Blog) RVing: Small House… BIG Backyard
(All About Me)
(My Handwoven E-Stores)

Michelle Eging January 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I love this and plan on using this idea for my room!

nettie moore January 16, 2012 at 9:31 am

so excited to try this!!

Mrs. White January 23, 2012 at 8:34 am

I love how you explained this with humor, and took breaks! You did an excellent job!

Mrs. White
Vermont Sewing Cottage
The Legacy of Home

Sarah @ Hip Earth Designs January 26, 2012 at 2:09 am

I can’t wait to give this a try! I have a huge black garbage bag full of t-shirts that were donated to a yard sale I threw last fall to raise money for my in-laws after my brother-in-law’s motorcycle wreck.

I just couldn’t get rid of the unsold t-shirts- I knew I’d find some use for them and it looks like I have found it.


Janice Black January 27, 2012 at 12:01 am

Thanks so much for posting this! I printed out your instructions just before Thanksgiving, and shared them with my mom, who was also eager to give these a try. Well, I just finished my first rug! Unfortunately, I started weaving more tightly as I went along (once I got the hang of it a little better), which made my rug end up “bubbling” in the middle where I had been weaving it more loosely. Other than that, I think the technique of making it lie flat is similar to what you have to do when crocheting a large, flat circle. Just add in an extra every now and then at the turns. When it’s time to increase, yes, you can do that by not tucking it into the loop, but you can also do it by tucking it into the same loop that you used in the previous pass. (Wow, you’re right . . . this is far harder to describe than to do!)
I didn’t find any reason to tuck each new strip through the original knot. It’s easier, when you want to increase the number of strips, to just take an extra- long strip and pull one end through the next loop, pulling the end less than halfway through so that the two ends hanging out aren’t the same length (so that you don’t end up having two knots next to each other later on).
Anyway, I want to try making a whole rug by just continuing to use four strands on every row throughout the whole thing . . . I think that would look more like a traditional braided rug, which I like the look of. I would also like to try a square or rectangular rug. I think I’d attempt that by sticking with four strands and figuring out a way to turn back at the end of each row, boustrophedon-style. Then when I got to the size I was happy with, I’d run a row around the outside edge of the whole thing to finish it off nicely, kind of like putting the binding on the edge of a quilt.
I’ll try posting a link to a photo of my finished rug, but I’m not sure this will work.!/photo.php?fbid=3163053794493&set=a.3163053434484.157186.1209783996&type=1&theater

Janice Black January 27, 2012 at 12:08 am

If you are able to get to the photo, you can see that the overall look is quite different, although I did follow your instructions exactly up until I got to the row that was eight strips wide. After that, I stuck with only six or four strips per row for the rest of the rug, mostly because I wanted to make a fairly large rug and just didn’t have very much of any one fabric on hand.

BreakThread February 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Great great great idea, thanks for sharing it. I’m fixing to make a few chair pads for “new” kitchen chairs I just got. I’m wondering how many t-shirts (or rags, etc.) it took to make the project above? I’m trying to figure out the color pattern I want but not sure how to estimate the materials.

Thanks so much!

Audrey Walz February 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for sharing this. I really like rag rugs and have been trying to find instructions on how to make them.

Ivory Soap February 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I think it took three shirts, old over-sized 90’s old navy shirts.

Tricia Rose February 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I think this is a better method than the one I have been using: making a long three-part braid, and then weaving in and out of the loops with twine and a bodkin. Thank you!

Bridget March 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I posted a picture of the one I made on my pinterest site – I used both methods of just continuing the 4 strand braid around and the extending to 8 braids
go to the braid and rug ideas, mine is the one with the white center with circles of different blues

Michelle Terry March 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Oh my gosh! My daughter sent to this website. I’ve been trying for a least 40 years to find out how to make a braided rug with 4 strands and not sewing. I used to sit on my great-grandmothers lap and watch her make scatter rugs. She use large safety pins “tuck” the ends through. I also used cotton scraps. There was a garment factory in town and my mother would go and bring home bags of scraps for her to use. Most of the rugs were small, but she made one large one for my mother. She looked at the bags of scraps and said “This is going to be really ugly.” It was one the prettiest rugs she every made. Thanks for the directions, I’m anxious to try my hand at it, it sounds exactly like the way she made her rugs.

Pam March 15, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I really love this. Reminds me of a fingerprint. But I must be dense or something because I’m having a hard time understanding what you are doing in the directions. I would love to try this. I’ve been trying to crochet one and it just keeps forming up into a bowl 🙁

Ivory Soap March 17, 2012 at 7:42 am

The bowl is likely happening because you aren’t adding enough new stitches each round or you’re stretching your fabric. You CAN’T stretch t-shirt fabric if you want it to remain flat. I have two posts on this site that explain the plaiting method. There’s another one on the no-sew rag bag that may work better. If it’s just not working in your head, you could try a very flat braid and then stitch it together.

Rochel March 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Hi: I have lots of Alpaca Rug yarn made with the fibre from my herd of Alpacas and I would love to make rugs with it. My table-top weaving loom is not working out for this purpose and I would love to learn how to do it by hand. Any suggestions as to how to fasten the braids together??

Many thanks.

Ivory Soap March 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm

If you do braids, you usually have to slip stitch them together.

Jamy Gearhart Hillis April 15, 2012 at 9:09 am

Oh heck yeah! I’m going to make one of these & have plenty of old clothing to do it with!

DIANE May 16, 2012 at 10:24 am

This is the first time I’ve found instructions for making rag rugs with this method. My greatgrandmother, grandmother, mother, me, and my granddaughters make (and made) rugs like this. I do demonstrations at our local farmers market to pass on the tradition, and I’ve done classes at the local senior center.
This is the first time I’ve found someone who does this method outside of my family. I’m grateful for your excellent instructions. A picture is worth a thousand words.

christine June 7, 2012 at 4:09 am

That was an eye opener, i’ve always wanted to make rugs but always thought they were complicated ! NOT SO ! I’m now off to do someting with all the material i have hoarded for years and did not have a clue how to start it. THANK YOU x

Forest R June 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Thanks much for the tutorial! I love the look of the rug. I wonder – do you think you could make a hat this way? joining the edges of the flat part going vertically and circularly? maybe?

Ashley June 20, 2012 at 12:23 am

I discovered your blog awhile ago via Frugal Kiwi’s post about rag rugs. I finally had a go at making my own rug a few weeks ago. It worked really well, now I’m hooked. I’ve used up all the old t-shirts in the house and have had to post on free-cycle for more! If anyone is looking for alternative shapes/patterns this technique can also be used to make a circle rug, just start ‘tucking’ straight away rather than working a length first or a rectangular rug, work up and back to step 8, then instead of going around the end turn in the opposite direction and work back down the side of the row you have just done, depending on how you work the turn you can get diagonal stripes or a chevron pattern.

Ivory Soap June 20, 2012 at 6:08 am

I would love for you to guest post and show off your pictures!

Kara Park June 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Hello, I love this tutorial as its the only one I could find that truly has no sewing. I would LOVE, LOVE it if you would be able to do a video tutorial, as it would be easier for my mind to see you do it, than just from looking back and forth at the tutorial. =)

Ivory Soap June 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

I SHOULD make a video. I should make a video of LOTS of our stuff. But when?

ajira July 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm

How about right now? You can sleep when you’re dead! Get to work!! *whip crack here*.

Oh, okay. Fine. We’ll just muddle along with your tutorial. Thanks for sharing that, btw. No, seriously… I’m grateful. My darling has a huge stack of raggedy t-shirts and is still trying to wear them. I’m trying to convince him that it makes more sense for me to make a rug out of them so I can stand to stand longer in the kitchen and make pies! He’ll do just about anything for a cherry pie! HA!

Alyssa July 4, 2012 at 3:42 am

I absolutely love this tutorial, and can’t wait to try it out! But, I was wondering if it would be able to go through the washing machine. I need a new rug for my kitchen, but that one usually needs to be washed at least once a month (we’re terribly clumsy in the kitchen, lol) and I don’t want to spend all the time making a wonderful rug and then put it through the washing machine and have it fall apart.
Thanks again. 🙂

Ivory Soap July 4, 2012 at 6:52 am

I don’t know how it would do with regular washing. It would depend on how well you braided it. I would make a small tester to use as a pot holder and run it through the wash a bunch to see what happened.

Alyssa July 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm

That is a great idea! Thanks! I will do that. 🙂

Kandiss July 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Can this be done with quilting weight cotton? I notice that my fabric strips don’t roll up like yours and have fraying at the edges which makes for a messy cumbersome weave. Did the fabric you use have stretch in it? Your rug looks great!

Robin Civitello July 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

i’m looking for help in finding instructions on how to make rag rugs out of t-shirts and a hulahoop… a friend of mine found instructions in a magizine and brought them to work for me. we can’t find them now and i would love to make one. Can anyone help me?

Mauve July 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm


I’ve just been looking at a hula hoop rug at

Lynn July 28, 2012 at 7:57 am

LOVE this!! I’ve looked high & low for just such a tutorial, thank you so much for sharing!

Tania August 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Love this tutorial so much that I linked it to an article I wrote on my blog about re-using old clothes. You can find it here
Please let me know if you would like me to remove the link.

tris August 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

this tutorial rocks! please please pleeeease post a video because it would make my life!!

Sabina Moe August 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm

This is great! I need a rug for my dorm but, being a college student, I’m broke as no other. I was just wondering, How many t shirts did you use for this, two? I want mine to be a decent size so I may be collecting people’s old clothes.

Thank you!

Ivory Soap September 8, 2012 at 7:19 am

I used three.

Cassandra September 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Kandiss, she used old t-shirts to make the rug, after you’ve cut the cotton jersey/knit jersey into strips you pull it just a bit to make ‘tshirt yarn’

I’ve been wondering about methods to make reg rugs from tshirt yarn, I have 6 balls of the stuff, one x-l mens shirt in each ball!

Julie September 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I must move within two weeks and must down-size considerably. I have fabric ready to use for crocheting or braiding rag rugs in bins ready to donate.
I’d like to find a group or just one person who enjoys creating rag rugs to become the joyous recipients of two large plastic bins of ready-to-use fabric for creating rag rugs. (My mom called the result of the fabrics she cut, sewed and rolled up: “carpet balls.”) Remembering how much time, effort and love Mother put into preparing for rug-making, it would be a shame to just threw it all out.
Please let me know if anyone is interested.

Keelyn Sealy September 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I loved this tutorial.I think I’m going to buy some cheap t-shirts at wal-mart tomorrow.I’ll get them in nice colors and put them in my bathroom,the rug in the picture looks really comfortable.

Anna September 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm

If you are looking to buy tshirts to make rugs like this, check the thrift stores/yardsales. Thrift stores usually have t-shirts for less than
$1 each.

Courtney September 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I just need to say THANK YOU! I searched all over Pinterest and I kept finding the round rag rug, but I didn’t want that. So I did the Internet search (and have now pinned your site), and found your wonderful tutorial! It was a bit hard to understand just reading, so I jumped into it and figured I’d get it once I was doing it…. And I did! I spent a good deal of this evening working on one for my little one and can’t wait to finish it!

Thanks again!

And if anyone is looking to get rid of t-shirts, feel free to send my way! You can email to [email protected]

madhuri September 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Its really a wonderful tuts , that helped with this art.I am always eager to learn something new.Thanks a lott.I have this pile of old clothes stacked nearly 4 ft high and didnt knoe what to do with them.I have sorted the t-shirts and started with this.
thanks a lot once again
keep doing something new..

hisarmycowgirl October 3, 2012 at 8:18 pm

You should work on your directions…very confusing…bet theres a reason people keep asking for a video…

Buddydog October 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I would disagree. I don’t find it confusing. It’s quite intuitive once you get started. I like how this rug grows quickly. Good for impatient crafters! I’m a little unsure about how to decrease the strands though, but again, maybe when I get to that stage it might become more obvious. Thanks for this. That’s Christmas sorted, then!

Cassandra October 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

approximately how many t shirts did this use?
I have about 5 softball size balls of t shirt ‘thread’ and wondered if it would be enough

Ana October 22, 2012 at 9:52 am

For Julie: I would love to have your extras. I am a disabled stay at home mom and the days sometimes get monotonous. I love this new craft for the rugs and purses especially since Christmas is coming. Thank you & God Bless!

Ellen Schickel October 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I learned how to make this type of rug from my aunt in Minnesota. She turned 100 years old this spring. She learned from her older sister. My Aunties were the ultimate up-cyclers. During the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s the rugs were made from wool clothing. Then in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s they made the rugs from polyester clothing. They often gifted a rug as a wedding gift. My cousins and I have long been interested in finding out whether other people made rugs this way. We make the rugs with 8 strands instead of 4. Your instructions are excellent!

Jenni James November 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Thanks for the tutorial, I went to the link for the other instructions and yours are much more streamlined and clear. Plus, I like your pattern better. I hope to make one soon, can you use any kind of material or is cotton jersey the best for this?
Thanks again, finding project patterns like this are hard to come by, so glad I found it. Take good care of yourself and know that you are appreciated very much!
Creatively Yours!

AJ December 7, 2012 at 10:52 am

Very neat, I’ll have to *try* to make one myself. Thanks for the tut.
Question, what do you do with the ends when you are tapering off to finish the rug? Don’t they eventually unravel? I guess one can place a few sutures in to hold them. I’d love to see a video, would greatly help! Thanks again

Deb December 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

I love this! I’ve been saving denim for a project, and this is it! Thanks for sharing such a creative idea!

revengeismine January 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm

My boyfriend dumped me and left some of his clothes, so I’m going to make them into a rug and when he asks for them back, I’ll give it to him.

lori January 23, 2013 at 9:54 am

This is awesome!!! Thank-you for taking the time to spread the rag rug love LOL I’m excited to uphold my grandmother’s tradition of making our own rugs . She passed away last year in July and I never had a chance to learn from her how to make them so thank you thank you thank you this is wonderful!!!! now I get to teach my daughter.

HELEN L. SMITH HOKE February 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm

You can also just braid a straight line as long as you want. Then start with one end and start winding the braid around the end and back again. Take a needle and thread and place a stitch at each end to hold them together. Continue to wind the braid around the rest of the braid, making stitches to hold to each other. You can make it into any shape depending on that first braid. Tight and small first braid makes a round rug and a long first braid makes a more rectangle rug.

Yvonne February 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Greetings from Hawai’i!

I followed your tutorial as a guideline about a year ago and turned two king-sized bed sheets into durable braided rugs. Last weekend, I decided to turn the two smaller rugs into one larger one. The method I used is based on the on you posted, except I did not add strips as I went around the core braid, nor did I start the rug with two strips tied in a knot in the middle. I love that I could do this anywhere! I linked to this page and to your site from my modest little blog. 🙂 Blessings and best wishes!

Daisy February 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Yvonne–Love your white rug, very sweet! Well done, and thank you for letting us know!

Linda February 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Someone showed me how to do this 35 years ago and I forgot the method and the person, so I was delighted to find you on the very first site I opened. I will be making one of these soon. Thank you so much for the clear instructions. Note on washing a heavy rug, I put it on the deck on a warm day, hose it down, spray it with soap of your choice and give it a good sweep on both sides and rinse with with the jet setting on the nozzle. Works well on a jute back carpet that can’t be machine washed. Drape over picnic table or what ever to drip dry.

Anne February 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I love this tutorial– it is very clear! My grandmother made wool braided rugs (she is not around anymore). Nice to keep the tradition.

When I conjoin two pieces, I have stray pieces sticking out. Any remedy besides snipping after the braiding?


Beverly March 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm

This is a great rug making technique, but I can’t figure out how to increase. Could you explain that in more detail. How do you attach the extra strands?, etc.


Laurie Thibault March 21, 2013 at 9:57 am

THANK YOU!! I have been looking for years for directions on this style, not the sewn kind. My grandmother who died in 1979 at 84 years old taught me.. I used to help her all the time, but in the years since she died, I wasn’t able to remember how to start one or turn corners. She used “silk stockings” that had runs, upholstery fabric, anything she could get her hands on. She even used some silk parachute fabric that was discarded after the war. I STILL use many of her original rugs today. I do machine wash them and machine dry them. Some need some repair, but considering they are 40-50 years or older, they are in great shape! I can’t wait to revive her work and carry on the tradition. Thanks God for those who won’t let technology kill our pioneer and creative spirits, but use it to share the traditions!

Mim Stewart April 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Hi, I love the rug you made. I am trying to teach myself, so I can teach my 4-H group. I love the idea of using old clothes. I try to teach them to recycle whenever possible. I wondered if there was video of this tutorial? I am having trouble with the turn. Thank you.

Harriet April 9, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I tried this rug. It worked out pretty well. You can take a look at my efforts here: Thanks for the great instructions.

Sarah May 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Hi, my mom and I have started this project with old sheets and so far it’s turning out great! I had a question though. We are on the third column and there is a noticeable curve in the work. It is almost S- shaped. Is this supposed to happen? There aren’t any full size pictures of how the work looks as it’s being woven and if it’s not supposed to look like that, I’m going to assume it’s a matter of fabric tension. Thanks!

DeLane June 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Thank you so much for this tutorial. My hands don’t seem to want to work with more than 4 strands at a time, so I am having to improvise a little. But it’s working beautifully. Using strips of many different t-shirts and not trying to stick to a pattern, it is coming out very colorful and random. And so easy to do while I am on bed rest. Thanks again!

Sarah G June 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I love this! Thanks! But, couldn’t I just continue with 4 strands instead of adding to it?? I just see myself getting them all tangled 😉

Kirsten McCulloch July 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Wow, I love this, thank you so much for the tutorial! When it’s truly got no sewing, it makes me very happy 🙂

What did you use for your strips? It looks like maybe two old T-shirts, is that right?

I guess I’ll have to make it to figure this out, but it looks like you could just keep getting bigger indefinitely if you want, is that right? If you have enough T-shirts, LOL!

Yvonne July 13, 2013 at 12:11 am

Sarah G, you can totally just continue with 4 strands. I actually braided a large rug using this method using just 4 strands (and white bedsheets, so no pattern). Be wary of buckling, and alternate pulling 2 strands through the same “opening” around the corners to increase the amount of “openings” as the rug gets larger.

Elaine Chan November 3, 2013 at 8:47 am

I’ve been looking for this no sew method FOREVER! Thank you SO MUCH for this tutorial, it is very clear and easy to understand. Way better explanation than the link that you gave. Thank you once again!

I have a small tip though, attached a small safety pin at the end of each strip. and then tuck through the braid with the safety pin and pull the rest of the strip through. It will make the tucking much more easier. 🙂

Krista November 30, 2013 at 1:57 am

I would so love to make one of these, but i was lost almost from the very start. I guess those who are way more craft savvy know exactly what you are talking about thru this tutorial, but i would definitely be one who needs a video tutorial on this. Cute idea tho! My hat is off to you!

Vayle January 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Great idea! I love it! 😉 I added it to my huge list of diy ideas here:

vi January 28, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Is this easier to make than a toothbrush rug?

tash Perryman February 23, 2014 at 5:57 am

Oh Ms. Ivory…..i absolutely love your rug and how very VERY grateful I am to finally find a no-sew (for real) rag rug. I have been searching for a while now. And in the mean time I did however learn to make TARN(T-shirt yarn)…… In fact i have probably made enough Tarn to make about a dozen of these awesome rugs. Hahaha. Thanks again for taking the time to write and post this. Can’t wait to get started!!!!


leonilyn of Fun Arts and Craft March 30, 2014 at 12:17 am

Thanks for this tut.. Followed your tutorial along with the other tutorial you linked in this post and was able to make my own no-sew rug. My hubby, kids and friends loved it a lot. I made a blog post about it and linked this post. 🙂

Jennifer June 27, 2014 at 12:08 am

I am so confused! Mine looks nothing like that. it looks like a serious mess! lol.

Brenda June 27, 2014 at 8:16 am

Great tutorial! I’ve always wanted to make one of these rugs but was never real sure how to go about it. I am putting this on my list of projects for this winter. Thanks!

Barbara Vaccaro July 18, 2014 at 9:40 am

Also a good way to use the miles of knitted I cord we all make.

Sondra August 1, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Thank you for the great tut! We’ll see how mine turns out. Appreciation for the share!!

Julieta August 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Fab Project! Is it strictly necessary to add and then remove strands when turning corners? I’m worried it will be too hard and even mess with my overall size…

Mikk August 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Found this quote by accident when looking up things to do with wine bottles.
Made one this afternoon using an old pair of jeans and an old pair of trousers, worked a treat. Instructions are great.

mary August 20, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Here is another place to see this technique, with good drawings:

Rug on!

Stephanie May 4, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Thank you so much! I too had trouble finding a “no-sew” version, even though I was sure I recalled weaving baskets and rugs and such as a kid without sewing or using any separate materials!

Christy June 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm

Let’s make these with the girls!

Sarah July 31, 2015 at 8:35 pm

I have been looking everywhere for a tutorial on this technique, so thank you for taking the time to write up and photograph the instructions. I have requested several books on rag rugs from my nlibrary, only to find that the instructions are for sewn techniques or weaving on a frame (both lovely but not what I wanted).

Off to my op shop to see if I can get some old sheets. If not I will try fabric remnants. Hmm, I wonder if you could use rope to make a doormat?

Sara R August 5, 2015 at 5:35 pm

I’ve been looking all over for a good no-sew rug. I’ll be using this technique with my old T-shirts!

Tracy September 24, 2015 at 4:19 am

….did anybody else notice that your rug looks like a fingerprint?
It is a great technique and thank you ffor posting. Definitely saving this.

lesley October 28, 2015 at 4:03 am

Thank you

Nina November 13, 2015 at 7:44 am

This is such an awesome idea! I love this!

Emma May 7, 2016 at 4:56 am

If you are in Australia Ilka White runs excellent workshops on this very technique.

Nancy July 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Great instructions. I think I can do this! Thanks for posting!

H?lène December 5, 2016 at 3:22 am

I was wondering if you a step by step tutorial
On video if you please send me one.
Thank you.

Lisa // Cucicucicoo: Eco Sewing and Crafting April 4, 2017 at 2:31 am

Oh wow! I’d never seen a rag rug like this before! I love how the two colors turn into a striped pattern! Very cool! 🙂 Lisa

Lakshika May 28, 2017 at 2:08 am

Hi!!! I found your blog when I was looking for a tutorial for a rug and I instantly thought I should do it.Now I have done it halfway and it’s coming really nice and everyone in my family like it.Thank you very much for sharing this with us.. 🙂

Lakshika September 17, 2018 at 10:03 pm

Great tutorial. I tried and made a beautiful rug. Thank u so much.. 🙂

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