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How To Make a Rag Rug - Totally Green Crafts

How To Make a Rag Rug

This is a fun and stylish way to repurpose your old fabric scraps and rags.

They are woven through a layer of hessian backing to create a rug or other textile decoration for your home. 

This is a great way to clear out your fabric box without wasting all of your scraps.

There are many different ways to create a rag rug. The only real limitation is how far your imagination can take you.


Shaggy rag rugging

This is the traditional, shaggy rug. It has exposed fabric to create a rugged, ‘deep-pile’ rug that is super comfortable to walk on and will keep your feet warm on cold winter mornings!

You can make these either by knotting or sewing the fabric onto a non-slip backing mat. This should have a mesh design with many holes set apart at regular intervals. These holes are what you will thread your fabric through. 


This style of rag rug works best with a loom and so is not suitable for everyone to make.

If you have a loom, it is remarkably easy to make from old t-shirts or fabric scraps.

The use of a loom also makes the design much more regimented and consistent, perfect if you want something slightly neater.


You will need to sew or tie your fabric scraps together to form long strips. This will allow you to crochet more easily.

This is a perfect way to upcycle old t-shirts, bedding, and towels. Crochet rugs look amazing in circular form, but this method is easily transferable to any shape of rug. 


Braiding a rug is just as simple as plaiting hair. To make a braided rug all you need to do is braid some fabric together and sew the end shut.

Coil up to the desired shape and size, and sew together. This is one of the easiest ways to create your very own rag rug.

Amish Knot Rug

This is also known as a Swedish braid or toothbrush rag rug.

This is because they were often made using a wooden toothbrush with the bristles removed as the needle.

You use this to sew the rug, and is remarkably easy to do.  

Knotted shaggy rug

  • A non-slip rubber or hessian backing mat
  • Fabric scraps
  • Tweezers

Cut the backing mat to the size you want your rug to be. You can cut it into a fun shape to suit the design of your home. 

Ensure your fabric rags are cut into relatively thin strips. These don’t have to be identical in size, length, or color but this does make your rug appear more uniform.

Thread one of the fabric strips through the hole in the mesh. Using the tweezers, pull the end back out through the neighboring hole. Ensure the rag crosses under one of the mesh lines to make it secure. 

Tie the ends of the strip together to form a knot. Continue this process until the entire backing mesh is covered. 

If your shape is regular, work in rows from one side to the other. If it is a more unorthodox shape, begin from the center and work outwards.

Sewn shaggy rug

  • Sturdy base fabric, such as canvas or towel
  • Scrap fabric 
  • Ruler
  • Fabric pen
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine

If your base fabric isn’t hemmed, do this first. Mark parallel lines along the width, 1-inch apart.

Ensure your fabric scraps are fairly regular in size to make your rug look neater. This is not vital, and of course, a rugged look will work too. 

Lie the fabric scraps across your guidelines. The center should fall in the middle of the guidelines. Overlap each of the fabric scraps a little to add texture. Ensure the first scrap is against the edge of the base fabric, so none is visible. 

Sew the scraps in place using a straight stitch and your sewing machine. Continue this process until the first edge of the rug is covered. 

Fold the scraps over to reveal the next guideline. Continue the process, centering the fabric scraps along the guidelines, until the backing fabric is covered.

Amish knot rug

  • Long strips of fabric
  • Scissors
  • Toothbrush or wooden needle

Ensure your fabric strips are roughly the same thickness. Fold the end of the fabric back on itself and cut a ¼ inch length slit in either end of the fabric strips. Take care to leave ½ inch space at the end that isn’t slit. 

Thread one strip (A) about 6 inches through the hole in another (B). Take the other end of A and pull through the snipped end on the same fabric rag. Pull through completely and tighten.

Repeat this process until the rug is complete. 

Crochet rag rug 

  • 1-inch thick fabric strips
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Crochet hook
  • Tapestry needle

Turn your fabric into yarn by sewing or knotting all of the strips together. 

Tie a slip knot in the fabric to attach it to the crochet hook. Make a chain of stitches, the same length as you wish your rug to be. 

Chain 1, turn, and single crochet the entire row. Continue until your rug reaches the size desired. 

You can alternate colors whenever you like to create a fun and visually interesting design. Weave loose edges back into the body of the rug as you go. 

Woven rag rug

  • Hammer
  • Wood
  • 2 wooden dowels
  • 2-inch flathead nails
  • Yarn
  • Fabric scraps

Begin by making a loom. Hammer the nails into 2 parallel pieces of wood, spaced ½ inch apart. Add dowels to the sides to keep the distance between them consistent.

Make your warp by knotting one end of the yarn around the left-most bottom nail. Wrap the yarn in and out of the nails in a zigzag pattern. Tie at the end.

Make your fabric straps into long strands. Fold in the center to create a double strand.

Weave in and out of the warp, alternating directions for each row. Continue until the desired size is reached.

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