Braided rag rugs have been a staple of rustic American decor for as long as the style has existed. The thrifty and crafty have taken the art into their own hands to create unique rugs for their homes to keep their family's feet warm during the winter. Simple to make and long lasting, any fabric can be used for these rugs.
When making a braided rug, you will be working with three different strands of fabric. You can choose to make the strands all one color or different shades of one color. You may also choose to use two or three different colors of fabric or change colors halfway through your project. Depending on the ambiance you're aiming for, any of these options can work.
Preparing the Fabric
You can use new or old fabric for this project. Old T-shirts work well and are available at thrift stores, often for less than $1. Old sweatshirts, sheets and other clothing items also work well. Cut the fabric into one long, 1-1/2-inch continuous strip of fabric, starting at one end. When you reach the other end of the fabric, leave 1/2 inch of fabric, turn, and start cutting another 1-1/2-inch strip from that side. Repeat until you have one continuous strand of 1-1/2-inch wide fabric. If you run out of fabric, you may choose to sew the edges of the old and new fabric together or tie them for a rustic look.
Use a simple three-strand braid to start your rug. Knot three strands of fabric in the center. Cross the right strand over the middle strand. The middle strand is now the right strand. Cross the left strand over the middle strand. The middle strand is now the left strand. Repeat these steps for as long as you can bear it.
Putting it Together
Use six-ply linen cord and a heavy tapestry or upholstery needle to sew the braid into a rug. Knot the thread at one end, and thread the needle. You may want to use a leather thimble and gloves to protect your hands. You may also choose to use a pair of pliers to pull the needle. Insert the needle through the beginning of the braid. Begin winding the braid around itself in a spiral, threading the cord through pieces of the braid at various points. This will hold the rug together and allow it to maintain a circular shape.
Add more fabric strips and continue to braid and weave it together with cord until your rug is meets your desired size. Finish the rug by using the linen cording to weave the ends of the fabric into the rest of the rug for an invisible, secure finish.