How to Make a DIY Rug from Scratch

I made a huge DIY rug (5×8) from scratch with just a handful of supplies. And you can make one too…any size you want! 

Large-scale cotton rug, cream color, with pillows and a person wearing socks

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.

How to Make a DIY Rug with Cotton Piping

This DIY rug 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?

Here are the step by step instructions…

Supplies needed to make a DIY rug from scratch. Cotton piping, simple webbing, scissors, and rubber bands.

DIY Rug 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 1/4 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).

My personal favorites for piping sizes are: 1/2 inch and 11/16 inch, but you can use ANY size. Piping comes in lots of sizes.

How to Make a Rug – Step by Step 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 $300-350.

Amazing tutorial for how to make a DIY rug from scratch (large scale or small - any size you want). This one is 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.

7. Lastly, trim any edge or interior pieces that feel like they need it, with a pair of sharp sicissors.

I like to trim the outer edges all the way around to make them even to one another and then occasionally, there will be an interior pieces that needs a trim because it’s way longer than the others.

Steps that show to make a large-scale rug from scratch with cotton piping and a few other supplies.

Update: Note about Cotton Piping Sizes

You can use any size piping to create a rug like the ones you see in this post, but one thing to note in that the smaller the piping, the more it will take to complete your rug.

So for example, if you use a cotton piping that is 1/6 inch thick, you may need to double that piping up in the netting to get a thick, cushy look like mine. But if you use piping that is a 1/2 inch or thicker, you will not need to do that.

My favorite cotton piping sizes for the rugs I’ve made with this technique are 1/2 inch and 11/16 inch. I also like 1 inch thick piping, but not quite as much as the other two.

This is just what I like though. You may find a groove with a different size that you like better, so it doesn’t hurt to buy a very small amount (like a couple of feet) of a few different sizes to test them out first before buying lots of yardage. You can find cotton piping by the yard at craft supply stores like JoAnn’s, usually with the upholstery supplies.

And then when you’ve decided which size you like best, you can shop around to see what’s cheapest (online on Amazon or somewhere similar or in-store at a craft supply store).

Update: Note About Using Rubber Bands to Secure the Piping

It is true that over time (years) rubber bands may deteriorate or break. This was not an issue for me personally, but there are many comments asking questions about this particular thing. So, if you would prefer not to use rubber bands, there is another option.

You can use string to wrap around the cording instead of rubber bands, if you prefer. If possible, a thin string with a little bit of elastic would be ideal, if possible, like these (just stay away from the clear option as I’m not sure that’s strong enough.

Pull each one tight and double knot it then cut off the excess. NOTE: This will be more time consuming than the rubber band method. And for me, the rubber bands have held up quite well. But I wanted to share this option for anyone that would prefer to use something else.

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.

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. And then you can add rug making to your list of skills! 

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?!

How to Care for your DIY Rug

I recommend spot cleaning for spills. Since you are using a cotton material, any spot cleaner that would work on this material should be fine. Just dab the area clean / dry when finished, instead of rubbing.

For spills and stains that aren’t able to be spot cleaned and are in need of repair, the piping can be removed and replaced with new piping very easily.

Just remove the piping that is damaged or stained beyond repair and use the same method you used initially to fill in the missing pieces.

Does this Area Rug Shed?

The rug does shed a little at first, just as many other rugs this still do. But it sheds less and less as time goes on.

Is this Rug Technique Similar to Latch Hook?

It is kind of similar, but there are two key differences. One of those difference is that the cotton cording I used to create this DIY rug isn’t secured on it’s own (with a knot like latch hook is). And the second key difference is that there are no special tools to use.

As you can see in the materials list toward the top of this post, there aren’t very many materials or special supplies need to create this rug. Which in my opinion, is a huge plus. No learning curve for new tools required!

Can I Make a DIY Rug Like This in Any Size?

Yes! In fact, I recently made a new version of this rug, as a runner and it looks great! I used the exact same technique as what I shared above.

But this handmade cotton rug is a runner and I wanted to share a couple new photos, in case you’d like to create something similar.

My DIY rug runner is 2 feet wide and 5 feet long, but you can create a runner any width and length you need. Making it a cool option for any spot in your house that you can’t find the ‘perfect’ size rug for. I have a super long hallway upstairs (it’s almost 20 feet long) that could totally use an extended runner.

I have also received updates from people who have made one of these DIY rugs from my tutorial and several people shared that they made a bath mat size rug (2×3 in size) in an afternoon or over two days.

So, there really is no limit on the size for this project – big or small.

Cat sitting on fluffy DIY rug made of cotton piping with giant ficus in the background

A tutorial for making a DIY rug from scratch with cotton piping and a couple of other materials.

Getting ready for winter with this cozy, but minimal setup, complete with a DIY rug from scratch.

Cat sitting on fluffy DIY rug made of cotton piping with ficus in the background and leather couch.

How to make a large-scale DIY rug from scratch. This rug is cotton and fluffy like a cloud.

 

DIY Rug: How to make a DIY rug (large scale) with cotton piping

Make a large scale (5x8) DIY rug with cotton piping and a few other supplies.
Keyword: diy apron, diy rug, home decor, rug
Servings: 1 rug

Ingredients

  • Multi-use netting
  • Cotton piping
  • Small rubber bands
  • Scissors

Instructions

  • Determine what length you’d like your rug to be. In my case, I wanted a 5x8 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.
  • Next, start cutting pieces of cotton piping that are 3-4 inches long (each). *The shorter the pieces used, the less height or thickness your rug will have when finished. *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 5x8 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 5x8 rug totaled about $300.
  • 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.
  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 above until you’ve completely covered the netting pieces.
  • Then 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.
  • Repeat this process along the edge of all pieces that need to be joined together until completed.
  • Lastly, trim any edge or interior pieces that feel like they need it, with a pair of sharp sicissors.
    I like to trim the outer edges all the way around to make them even to one another and then occasionally, there will be an interior pieces that needs a trim because it's way longer than the others.

Notes

Update: Note about Cotton Piping Sizes

You can use any size piping to create a rug like the ones you see in this post, but one thing to note in that the smaller the piping, the more it will take to complete your rug.
So for example, if you use a cotton piping that is 1/6 inch thick, you may need to double that piping up in the netting to get a thick, cushy look like mine. But if you use piping that is a 1/2 inch or thicker, you will not need to do that.
My favorite cotton piping sizes for the rugs I've made with this technique are 1/2 inch and 11/16 inch. I also like 1 inch thick piping, but not quite as much as the other two.
This is just what I like though. You may find a groove with a different size that you like better, so it doesn't hurt to buy a very small amount (like a couple of feet) of a few different sizes to test them out first before buying lots of yardage. You can find cotton piping by the yard at craft supply stores like JoAnn's, usually with the upholstery supplies.
And then when you've decided which size you like best, you can shop around to see what's cheapest (online on Amazon or somewhere similar or in-store at a craft supply store).

 

Update: Note About Using Rubber Bands to Secure the Piping
It is true that over time (years) rubber bands may deteriorate or break. This was not an issue for me personally, but there are many comments asking questions about this particular thing. So, if you would prefer not to use rubber bands, there is another option.
You can use string to wrap around the cording instead of rubber bands, if you prefer. If possible, a thin string with a little bit of elastic would be ideal, if possible, like these (just stay away from the clear option as I’m not sure that’s strong enough.
Pull each one tight and double knot it then cut off the excess. NOTE: This will be more time consuming than the rubber band method. And for me, the rubber bands have held up quite well. But I wanted to share this option for anyone that would prefer to use something else.
Tried this recipe?Mention @paperandstitch or tag #paperandstitch!

Photography Amelia Tatnall Lawrence
Styling and crafting Brittni Mehlhoff

Still Have Questions about this DIY Rug?

I have you covered! I made a permanent rug highlight on my Instagram feed that will always be there for you to reference, which is very detailed. You can click that link and go directly to it, or go to my feed and click the DIY rug highlight from there.

It’s a much more detailed video, where I walk you through the answers to some of the most asked questions I have received about this DIY rug process and I even shared a hack for making this project move along a little bit more quickly, if you’re making a big rug like my first one (or even a runner size rug).

If that video doesn’t answer your question, and you didn’t see the answer in this post, which I’ve updated with new answers as new things  have been asked, feel free to ask your question in the comments. I still respond to comments on this post years later as much as possible to help.

Let me know if you make one of these! I’d love to see it.

-Brittni

291 comments | Click here to reply

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What's enthralling this Friday #9 | Enthralling gumption

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.

Rob Nesbitt

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

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

Joan

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

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

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

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

What size piping did you use for your rug?

Sherry

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

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

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)

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

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

Ann

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

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

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

Tiki

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

Lynn Dalsing

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

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
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