How to Make a Large-Scale Rug from Scratch

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How to make a large-scale rug from scratch. This would be a great winter project - looks so cozy.

After my DIY weaving project I felt like I needed another challenge, so I decided to tackle another large-scale project that’s been on my list…a DIY rug from scratch! I desperately needed a new rug and I tirelessly searched for one that I absolutely loved (that was also budget-friendly). Sadly, I apparently have very expensive taste because every rug I found that would work was WAY outside the range of what my wallet felt like it could handle.

So, like any DIYer, I decided to make one myself, using cotton piping. It was definitely a labor of love (as I’m sure you can imagine making a giant rug by hand would be), but I really like how it turned out. And it is just in time for the weather to start cooling down because this thing is as cozy as it comes…It’s like walking on clouds! Super fluffy and plush.

Getting ready for winter with this cozy cool setup, featuring a DIY cotton rug, a Nelson bench as a coffee table, and more. Click through for more photos and the full tutorial for making a large-scale rug from scratch.

This technique can be used for a runner, a small rug in the kitchen or bathroom, or even a larger rug for seating areas like mine. Want to make your own cotton rug like this one? Click through for the step by step instructions…

How to make a large-scale rug from scratch

Materials

  • Multi-use netting (I used this exact one)
  • Cotton piping* (available on Amazon + fabric / craft stores)
  • Small rubber bands (like the small ones you can find in the hair aisle)
  • Scissors

*Cotton piping is available in various thicknesses (ranging from 1/8 inch up to 1 inch and more) and any thickness will work for this project. But the thicker the piping, the faster the DIY process will be (and the less yards you will need to use to complete it).

Instructions

1. Determine what length you’d like your rug to be. In my case, I wanted a 5×8 rug for underneath the couch. My roll of netting is smaller than that, so I did some quick math to determine how many pieces I would need to cut to make a 5X8 rug (3 pieces that are 8 feet long, since the netting is 2 feet wide), and I would have an extra foot leftover from the width, that I could cut off of the mesh before getting started, etc.

Once you have that figured out, roll out the length of the netting you need and cut the pieces with a pair of scissors.

2. Next, start cutting pieces of cotton piping that are about 4 inches long (each). You want them all to be roughly the same length, so that the rug looks relatively even when its completed, while also having a little bit of variation, so you can more of a textured feel that looks handmade (and not manufactured).

Note: Depending on the size of your rug, you’re going to need a lot more cotton piping than you might expect. To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about…we used more than 200 yards of cotton piping for an 5×8 rug. That’s a lot of cotton! But cotton piping is pretty affordable, so it’s still relatively budget-friendly, when you consider the cost of a thick handmade rug like this one would cost thousands of dollars to purchase in store. The cost of materials for a 5×8 rug totaled about $300.

Amazing tutorial for how to make a large-scale rug from scratch. It's over 6 feet long!

3. Next, weave the cut cotton pieces in between the netting grid, as shown in the photo. Then, pull the pieces upward and tie them together with a rubber band (again, as shown in the photo). Once secured with a rubber band, fluff out the piping pieces so they have more of a fuzzy pom-pom shape.

4. Repeat steps #2 and #3 until you’ve completely covered the netting pieces you cut in step #1.

5. Now it’s time to assemble the pieces into one single unit. This may not apply if you’re making a small rug or a runner. The process is the pretty much the same as step #3, but this time, you’ll be weaving pieces though the ends of each separate piece of mesh to bring them together as one. Securing them together in the ‘pom-pom form’ (for lack of a better term) with rubber bands, and fluffing them out once secure.

6. Repeat this process along the edge of all pieces that need to be joined together until completed. Done!

How to make a large-scale rug from scratch

I’ll be the first to admit, the process is time-consuming. I’m not going to lie. BUT the results are really pretty cool, if you ask me. And literally ANYONE at any skill level can make one, as long as you have the patience to stick it out. The process is SUPER easy. It’d be a good nightly ritual while sitting down to watch a movie, etc. Kind of like knitting…slowly plugging away at a project a couple of hours a night until it’s done.

And when it’s done, you have an actual rug to show for it. That you made yourself! How many people can say that that they made a rug?!

Getting ready for winter with this cozy, but minimal setup. Click through for more photos and the full tutorial for making a large-scale rug from scratch. #DIY #interiors

How to make a large-scale rug from scratch. This would be a great winter project - looks so cozy.

Getting ready for winter with this cozy cool setup, featuring a DIY cotton rug, a Nelson bench as a coffee table, and more. Click through for more photos and the full tutorial for making a large-scale rug from scratch.

Getting ready for winter with this cozy, but minimal setup. Click through for more photos and the full tutorial for making a large-scale rug from scratch. #DIY

How to make a large-scale rug from scratch. #DIY

Photography Amelia Tatnall Lawrence
Styling Brittni Mehlhoff

What do you think? Would you be interested in trying this project in your home? Have you ever attempted rug making before?

This post is in partnership with Cotton and Refinery 29. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Paper & Stitch running.

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71 comments | Click here to reply

Wow, that must have been so much work, but it looks amazing!
https://www.makeandmess.com/
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Michelle | September 30th, 2016 at 8:33 am

It was a lot of work, but totally worth it. Glad you like it Michelle. :)

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 8:35 am

I love this! I’ve always wanted to go back to hardwood floors and rip out my carpet – especially after finding out my daughter is extremely allergic to dust mites. But having hard floors seems to make living rooms so much less cozy. This would be a great solution! Plus, since you made it yourself, you can easily deconstruct parts of it if red kool-aid is spilled on it. Just get more cotton piping and replace the stained portion! Genius!
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Emily | September 30th, 2016 at 8:39 am

That’s a really good point, Emily. You’d be able to deconstruct parts with stains at anytime and add in new pieces to make it feel brand new again.

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 9:18 am

Wow!! I am amazed and doesn’t even look like its been made rather bought from a high-end store!
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Marwa | Enthralling Gumption | September 30th, 2016 at 10:01 am

Thank you so much Marwa. I feel like cotton piping is my magic craft supply rn. Every time I use it, I love the results. :)

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 10:07 am

B! This is amazing. I totally want to make my own now and just work on it while I binge on Netflix!
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Lexy | PROPER | September 30th, 2016 at 10:09 am

Thanks Lex. It is the perfect activity for Netflix binging. I bet Vita could even help…it’s so easy.

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 10:11 am

This definitely looks time-consuming! But it’s such an impressive finished product. I’ve been thinking of buying a rug like this, but I might have to try a smaller version of this!

Kiersten
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Kiersten | September 30th, 2016 at 10:14 am

A smaller version would be easy as can be, Kiersten. Highly recommend giving it a try.

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 10:20 am

Girl. You made a RUG! That’s so amazing!
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Rachel M Smith | September 30th, 2016 at 10:27 am

Hahaha. Thanks Rachel. :)

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 12:00 pm

This is exactly what I’ve been wanting to make! I’ve been searching all over for the perfect cozy rug but couldn’t find the right one. I will definitely be trying this one!
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Bree Z | September 30th, 2016 at 1:53 pm

So happy to hear that Bree. Hope you’ll let me know how it goes.

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 2:11 pm

This is sooo my next diy project! I’d love to try putting a pastel color on the cotton piping ?

Melissa | September 30th, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Pastel colors would look so pretty, Melissa.

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 2:51 pm

The rug looks really nice, I just do not know if I have enough patience I just might give it a try.

Lisa Ogle | September 30th, 2016 at 3:53 pm

It’s stunning. I have to ask, how long did this take?
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Giselle @ The Busy Spatula | September 30th, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Hi Giselle. I don’t remember exactly how long it took (it was spread out over a few days) but it was somewhere around 15 hours total. It’s not a fast project, but it is easy. :) Hope that helps.
-Brittni

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Congratulations! It’s beautiful and you have the patience of Job.

jan | September 30th, 2016 at 5:46 pm

This is such an amazing DIY project!!! Do you think it would be possible to dye the piping first before weaving it so that it could be more colorful???

Jamie | September 30th, 2016 at 8:49 pm

Hi Jamie. Yes, it is possible. It’s a bit more tricky to dye the piping because you’ll be showing the inside of the piping when it’s finished, not the outside (outside is the easiest to dye). But yes, it is possible. :) This dyeing project might help with that, if you need any instructions on dyeing: http://www.papernstitchblog.com/2016/02/24/how-to-dye-a-synthetic-material/

Brittni | September 30th, 2016 at 9:00 pm

This is lovely. What width of the cotton piping did you use?

Lynn Dalsing | September 30th, 2016 at 11:44 pm

That looks amazing… I’m going to make it for my daughter. What is the thickness of cotton piping you used?
Thnks.

Tiki | October 1st, 2016 at 3:18 am

Hi Lynn and Tiki. I used a variety of widths, actually, but that’s not required by any means. You’ll still achieve the same result, whether you’re using 1 inch piping, 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, etc BUT it will be faster if you use the widest cotton piping your can find – 1 inch just like this one is great http://amzn.to/2dVuPW5 when you can find it and here is a link to all the available widths of Amazon in case you want some variety…http://amzn.to/2d9w7bL . Hope that helps!
-Brittni

Brittni | October 1st, 2016 at 4:00 am

It looks stunning and must feel lovely, too. I do just wonder about using rubber bands, through. Won’t they deteriorate/disintegrate over time (I know they do in my kitchen!)? Might it be better to knot them through the mesh? But I love the idea of using cotton piping: I’d been looking at thick wool …

Sue | October 1st, 2016 at 5:02 am

I can’t wait to try this. Did you use 1″ piping or 1/2″ piping for the rug in the tutorial?

Ann | October 1st, 2016 at 8:42 am

Hi Ann. I used a combination of various widths. I highly recommend 1 inch when you can find it – available on Amazon http://amzn.to/2dVuPW5 and here is a link to all the available widths of Amazon in case you want some variety… http://amzn.to/2d9w7bL
-Brittni

Brittni | October 1st, 2016 at 10:00 am

This came out great – I’ve always been curious about weaving my own rug, and this may just have inspired me to give it a go!

Amy (@amyventures) | October 1st, 2016 at 12:07 pm

So excited to find your post! I purchased a giant “spool” of cording at a liquidation sale, not even knowing what to do with it, just knowing I had to have it. Now I know! Thank you~~

Patti Calande | October 2nd, 2016 at 9:01 am

This is fantastic!!!! Thanks so much for sharing. It does look easy, totally do-able! You did a wonderful job and must be so proud of your work! I sure am :)

Sue | October 2nd, 2016 at 9:06 am

What size piping did you use for your rug?

Sherry | October 2nd, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Hi Sherry. I used a combination of different widths. I highly recommend 1 inch when you can find it – available on Amazon http://amzn.to/2dVuPW5 and here is a link to all the available widths of Amazon in case you want some variety… http://amzn.to/2d9w7bL

Brittni | October 2nd, 2016 at 2:00 pm

It’s a great idea, however, as someone already commented, eventually rubber bands disintegrate and that would be a problem.
I wonder if the traditional rug-hooking method could be used. I also wonder what happens when the rug gets vacuumed. Does look stunning though!

Madelin | October 2nd, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Wow..what a great idea! The rug looks so soft and indulgent!! I would so do this if I didn’t have two Labs!!
Sharing on my Facebook page:)
Debbie

Debbie Pearl | October 3rd, 2016 at 7:53 am

Your rug looks amazing! My concern would be doing all that work and wondering how many years it would last due to the rubber bands drying out and breaking. I would have would have just looped the yarn around itself, wouldn’t that have worked and been cheaper? You wouldn’t have to buy rubber bands.

Sharon | October 3rd, 2016 at 9:04 am

Please can you tell us whether the rubber bands disintegrate? Also could you wash it, or how would you clean it?

Joan | October 3rd, 2016 at 11:37 am

Wanted to chime to answer questions… Joan, Sharon, Madelin, and Sue. Yes, overtime (years I believe), rubber bands do breakdown. There are two ways to solve this if you think it will be an issue. 1) Use cotton string as an alternative to the rubber bands for wrapping the pieces together. 2) Use rubber bands or string strictly on the outmost layers of the rug and keep the interior layers un-rubber banded (for lack of a better term). I tried this to be sure it was secure and the cotton piping does stay in place without rubber bands in the interior layers on its own because there are so many pieces pushing against one another. Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.
-Brittni

Brittni | October 3rd, 2016 at 1:00 pm

This looks superb – like walking on a (or a cauliflower!) but alas I won’t be able to make one for the home as our cats would shred this to pieces. I will link this on my craft web blog as I think my readers would be really interested in making this. Great project as I have never seen any DIY rug that looks quite like this.
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Rob Nesbitt | October 4th, 2016 at 12:36 pm

[…] wait is over brittni’s smart DIY will have you making rug for your home( holy moly its too good ) I love a good word cushion that […]

What's enthralling this Friday #9 | Enthralling gumption | October 7th, 2016 at 9:25 am

Holy moly. This rug looks gorgeous! I LOVE it.
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Oceana | M+M | October 7th, 2016 at 11:25 pm

I’m confused…. I thought SCRATCH was something you baked with. As in my mom baked the cake from scratch.
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Ed | October 10th, 2016 at 1:37 am

How do you clean this rug?

Dianne | October 13th, 2016 at 11:29 am

Hi Dianne. This rug can be spot cleaned with a rug cleaner and rag. I wouldn’t recommend using rug cleaning equipment on it, however, since it’s a handmade item that is a bit more delicate than a manufactured piece. Additionally, if there is an area that is stained, the section can be easily removed and replaced with new cotton piping. Hope that helps.
-Brittni

Brittni | October 13th, 2016 at 12:30 pm

This looks amazing! I’m a bit confused on the procedure though. How do I weave it through the net? Do I just fold it around the net and tie with rubber band and then fluff? Thanks

marischa | October 23rd, 2016 at 2:19 am

Yep, that’s exactly how you do it, Marisha. :)

Brittni | October 23rd, 2016 at 7:14 pm

My website is under construction so to speak. I love this technique. I am a knitter/crochet person and looking for new ideas to work with fiber so something similar like this.

My question is, do they sell cotton pipping in difference colors? I would love to design with multi colors.

Thanks
Judy

Judith Quate | November 2nd, 2016 at 11:37 am

I didn’t find any colors of cotton piping like mine when I was searching for supplies for this project, Judith. But it’d be worth looking into further. Let me know if you find anything.

Brittni | November 2nd, 2016 at 11:49 am

[…] Shag Rug […]

10 Cozy Fall DIYs The Internet Loves | agaara | November 4th, 2016 at 11:24 am

can i ask what thickness of piping you used? i love how yours turned out. this seems like a perfect pre-baby project for me!!
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aline | November 4th, 2016 at 11:58 am

Hi Aline. I used a combination of different widths. I highly recommend 1 inch when you can find it – available on Amazon http://amzn.to/2dVuPW5 and here is a link to all the available widths of Amazon in case you want some variety… http://amzn.to/2d9w7bL

Brittni | November 4th, 2016 at 12:30 pm

I love your project. I will definitely try it. Thank you for the simple and clear instructions. Refurbishing my lounge next year and will send photo of finished rug once in place. Hugely inspiring.

Carrol Kelly | November 5th, 2016 at 4:50 am

Can’t wait to see it, Carrol. Looking forward to it.

Brittni | November 5th, 2016 at 9:38 am

Awesome rug! Did you use any backing? Under felt? Just wondering how slippery it would be on hardwood?

Angelique | November 5th, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Hi Angelique. I didn’t use a backing and haven’t had issues with slipping (maybe our floors aren’t as shiny and slick as some?). The rug is also pretty heavy and thick, so that can be part of why there aren’t any issues with slipping. That said, you can easily use a rug pad underneath if you think that would be an issue. :) Hope that helps.

Brittni | November 5th, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Great idea !!!!
Definitely will try….did you cut one big piece of mesh ?
Or did you make small squares and then binded them together ?
Did not understand that part.
Thank you, it looks great

Elisa Storer | November 6th, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Elisa. I had several pieces of netting that were bound together to form one large rug. I would have used just one giant piece of netting, but was limited on what I could find in stores, so I opted to attach them together once complete and it was honestly just as easy. You just follow step 5 instructions when attaching the pieces together and you’ll be good to go. :) Hope that helps.

Brittni | November 6th, 2016 at 11:31 pm

How many spools of the 10lb cotton piping did you purchase to make the 8×5? Was there any cotton piping leftover? Thank you.

Mel | November 8th, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Hi, I was wondering if you purchased the 10 lb spool from Amazon, if so how many spools did you need to complete your 8×6 rug? Thank you.

Mel | November 9th, 2016 at 7:19 am

Looks lovely…can you vacuum it?

Shauna | November 12th, 2016 at 5:06 pm

Hi, I was just wondering what the ending length of cotton you used was. Thanks!

Preston | November 13th, 2016 at 12:22 am

It really is beautiful. I love that it’s handmade. My concerns would be cleaning it and the little rubber bands coming loose. (I have toddlers.) I assume you used rubber bands instead of tying them because a knot would be hard on the feet? Thanks for your insight and idea!

Lauren | November 15th, 2016 at 8:27 am

It is very beautiful but how do you clean ?

Amelia Machera | November 22nd, 2016 at 8:30 am

Oh my!!! I love this!!

Gemma
http://www.fadedwindmills.com

Gemma | November 24th, 2016 at 8:48 am

This is so beautiful! Just a question, how is it when you vacuum it? Does it come apart any? Thanks!!!

Juliana | November 28th, 2016 at 2:11 pm

I would also like to know how to go about cleaning this rug. I love the look!

I wonder if you could do this with wool roving instead. Thoughts?

Mandy | November 29th, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Wow I love the look of this rug ! But I do have question. Have you tried cleaning it? vacuuming it?

Erika @ EP art.food.home | December 2nd, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Your rug is beautiful. Is it pet friendly? I’m worried my dog and cats may pull it apart. Does it stand up to vacuuming?

Kelly | December 7th, 2016 at 11:32 am

Hi, I really love this idea and want to make it but I’m wondering if the elastics will eventually go hard and snap? Because every elastic band I’ve had eventually ‘dries out’ and snaps. Just wondering if you’ve experienced that yet or if you think it would work if i cut small bits of thread and knotted the cotton piping instead? I know that will be so much more time consuming though haha! Would love to hear your thoughts :) thanks for a great winter project!

Megan | December 12th, 2016 at 8:59 am

I absolutely love this! Great inspiration as I’ve been looking for a budget friendly DIY rug option for our front room. Thanks!
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Asiyah | December 15th, 2016 at 10:20 pm

Amazing! Thank you for sharing your diy experienced in making your own rug! It sounds super doable!

Anny Ylles J. | January 19th, 2017 at 4:19 am
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