Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIY: Rag Rug - Part 1

With my Spring semester finally over, I'm getting back into some of the DIY projects that I have for the wedding.  The one that I know will be the most time consuming, is the Rag Rug.  I know that I mentioned this project before, but just to refresh your minds, I decided that since the floor of the Botanical Center is cement, and we aren't using an aisle runner, I would try to spruce up the space a bit by creating a rag rug for FI and I to stand on when we say our vows.  And, the best part is that since the colors I've chosen are some of our favorites, the rug can be used in a space in our house after the wedding.

So, on to the first part of the tutorial.  The next parts will be quite spread out, as I'm literally doing this as I go, and the rug is not yet complete, so I apologize in advance for amount of time between these posts.

  1. Determine size of rug.  A small, 3'x2' rug can be made out of about 3 King size Flat sheets.  Since I wanted a rug that was larger than that in size, I decided to double that. I will be using 6 King size Flat sheets, to make a 6'x4' rug, hopefully.

  2. Find or buy your sheets.  Since I didn't have any sheets in the colors that I wanted, I went out and bought the cheapest I could find in the colors I was looking for.  I ended up with two of each of these colors:

  3. Wash your sheets.  Wash and dry your sheets as normal, to make them easier to work with and clean them.
  4. Remove the thick top hem of the sheet.  Cut off the thick hem at the top of the sheet, as this part will not be used for your rag rug.  If you are looking to make a backing for your rug, keep these strips, as they can be sewn together and be used as a backing.

  5. Rip or cut your sheets into strips.  You can choose to either make individual strips out of the length or width of the sheet, or make one continuous strip. I made one continuous strip out of one sheet by ripping the fabric in equal widths until I got to about 2 inches left on each side, then I would rip in the other direction.  I have added a diagram below to make this easier to understand.

    Cut or rip across the RED lines / Personal Diagram / Why won't this picture center?!

    This is what the end of my strips looked like / Personal Picture

    If you want to make individual strips, just cut or rip across the sheet.
    ***Making individual strips requires you to either sew each braided set to each other, or tie them to each other. I did not want to deal with extra sewing or tying, so I made one long strip.

  6. Roll strips into balls for better handling.  Once you have one long strip, or even shorter individual strips, roll them up into a ball. You may want to use a tennis ball or a golf ball to start your rolling, but I learned that if you wrap around three of your fingers enough, you can use that as a base for the ball, and then just keep wrapping the layers on top.

    Follow the images below to see the rolling:

    Roll the strips tightly around the ball / Personal Picture

    When you get to the end, roll tighter to ensure that it stays rolled / Personal Picture

    Tuck the end of the strip under one of the pieces already wound around the ball / Personal Picture

  7. Braid the strips together.  Since I am making a braided rag rug, I am going to be braiding one of each color strip of sheet. In other words, my braid will consist of one white strip, one gray strip, and one orange strip.  You can use any combination of colors and patterns for your braid.

    Follow the images below to see the braiding:

    If you are using the one large strip method, it is helpful to use a bobby pin to keep the strip attached to your ball of fabric, that way the strip won't unravel more and the ball will be easier to move with one hand. Make sure that the bobby pin is in securely so that when you move the ball around, it does not fall out. / Personal Picture

    Find a piece of one of the strips that is closer to the inside of the ball. Pull on the strip slightly to make it loose and come up out of the ball to form a handle.  This handle will make it much easier to move the balls around, as you will only need to grab the handle, which can be done with one hand, versus palming or picking up the ball, which you would likely need more than one hand for. / Personal Picture

    Let some of each ball out, allowing for some slack that will be braided. Once you have enough slack from each ball, secure your bobby pin, and then arrange your balls of fabric to be braided. / Since I have already done quite a bit, which can be seen on the left, my colors are in the position needed to continue the braid. If you are starting from the beginning, you can arrange the colors in any pattern. / Personal Picture

    Find something heavy to hold down your braid so that you can pull without risking it moving. As you see above, I used my laptop, but anything that is approximately 3+ pounds would work.  You could also tie it to something.  / Personal Picture

    Using the handle that you have made on each ball, move them in the braiding pattern to create a braid with the three different balls.  The braid will look loose and messy like you see above, but that will be fixed with the next step.  Continue the braid until you run out of slack from the balls, or you run out of space to continue the braid.  / Personal Picture

    Once you run out of space or slack, put the balls down, and go to the top of this section of the braid.  Tighten up the braid, and make it look neater by "re-braiding." Remember that you don't want the braid to be too tight, as you will still need to wrap the braid to form the rug. / Personal Picture

    Repeat all of step 7 when necessary.


    I will continue this tutorial when I have made some significant progress in my braiding.  As you can see from how much fabric is left on the balls, I still have quite a ways to go.  Let me know if you have any questions so far though, and I will do my best to answer them.


Anonymous said...

How wide do you make your strips? Thanks for taking the time to read and answer my question.

Mands @ Rhody Life said...

Each strip is between 3 and 4 inches wide. You can make them wider if you want, but I found that this was a good width so that when you bunch it up, you have some thickness to each strip that you braid.
Thanks for stopping by!

missegg said...

did you ever finish this rug?

missegg said...

did you ever finish this rug?

Mands @ Rhody Life said...

I have not yet finished this rug, but I am in the final steps of sewing the braided pieces together. I took a long break from this project after I determined that it wasn't high priority for my wedding, so please don't be deterred from it because of the length of time it has taken me. I will be sure to post an update as soon as I have it finished.


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