In order to create your own braided rag rug, you will need only a few supplies. The most important of these supplies is a variety of leftover scrap material. The scraps can be of any type and any pattern. The only requirement is that the scraps must measure at least two inches wide. Scraps wider than two inches should be cut into two-inch strips and set aside for easy use. For those who don’t have many scraps, I suggest checking with area thrift stores before purchasing new fabric. Often, scraps are donated and can be bought for very little cash. You will also need a thread in either clear nylon or a color to match the general mood of the fabrics chosen, and a thick, sturdy needle (a curved upholstery needle works best, but any thick needle will work).
Putting it All Together
The first task necessary before braiding can commence is to prepare the strips for braiding. Make sure you have cut all fabric into two inch strips. Then sew each strip together end-to-end with right sides facing until you have three long strips. The longer the strips, the larger the rug will be, and vice versa. You may use more than three strips if you are familiar with the process.
If you are worried about frays along the cut ends, spray the strips with a spray adhesive or Fray check. In the event that neither of these is available to you, clear fingernail polish will also work when applied to the edges; however, this method takes a great deal of time and patience. It’s perfectly okay to braid the strips with no treatment. The frays that eventually evidence themselves add character to the rug and add more of a country flair to the finished work.
Next, tie the three strips together. Place something heavy on the tied end (or have someone hold it for you) to make braiding easier. Begin braiding using the method most familiar to you. You can remove the heavy object (or release your helper from holding on to the other end) when you feel you’ve braided enough to prevent the tied end from twisting as you go.
When you have all your strips braided, sew the loose ends together.
Carefully coil the braid on the floor, starting from the center and working your way outward. For a circular rug, simply coil in a circle, starting with a very small coil. For an oval, lay approximately one foot of braided strips along the floor. Holding the strip down firmly, begin the coil around the one-foot braid. Feel free to experiment with other shapes until you find the one that suits you best. When you have finally shaped the rug into the pattern you desire, start sewing the rows of the coil to each other, keeping all stitches on the top side of the rug. Once secured tightly, fasten off.
If you wish to add a non-slip surface to your finished rug, you have several options. The two simplest (and cheapest) ways are paint and rubber backing. By adding designs with Puff Paint (found in the craft aisle of your local department store), you create a unique surface that will grip most vinyl and hardwood floors. Just be sure the paint is completely dry before placing the rug on the floor, or your rug may actually stick.
An alternative method would be to buy some of the rubber backing used in drains, cabinets, and counters. Your local Dollar General or Family Dollar will usually carry these at a very reasonable price. Use liquid Super Glue to adhere the rubber to the rug. Trim along the edges as necessary.An alternative
That’s it! Enjoy your rug!