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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.
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…
- 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)
*Cotton piping is available in various thicknesses (ranging from 1/4 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).
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.
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!
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?!
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?