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Recycle Tutorial: Braided Rag Rug

Recycle Tutorial: Braided Rag Rug

March 12, 2010 /
braided rag rug

My mum passed me 2 bundles of old bedsheets she found during spring cleaning. She knows that I love to recycle and able to make something good out of them. The first idea that came to my mind was a braided rag rug, yes, with all these rotten bed sheets I can make lots of rag rugs.

I stumbled upon some rag rug tutorials before, and this one from Moda Bake Shop’s really caught my attention. I like their idea to braid the fabric strips and sew them into a rag rug. Since I did it a little different from them, here is my version, a versatile and strong rag rug that can be used for many years, just like my granny’s rag rug.

DIY braided rag rug

I love the touch of this braided rag rug….. it is rough!!! My mum loves to rub her feet against the floor mat, so this should fit her right. I will send this back to my mum, she is going to love it!!!! I will make one for myself, I need one to comfort my feet too… I inherited this habit from her.

Let’s go and see how I make this 22″ x  16″ oval shaped braided rag rug 🙂

bottom of braided rug

In support of the Earth Hour campaign, I am going to spend the whole of March making recycle handmade and will switch off my lights for 1 hour on March 27, 8:30 pm. Hope you will do so too 🙂

Recycle Tutorial: Braided Rag Rug


1.Old bedsheets (3 king-size should be enough to make 3 rag rugs)
2. Scissors
3. Pencil and ruler
4. Safety pin and pin
5. Sewing machine and threads

Braided Rag WIP1

Mark the edge of the old bedsheet, 1″ apart. Snip and tear to the end. Do it on warp or weft direction of the bedsheet, not the bias.
My mum’s old bedsheets are quite tattered at the center part, so, I just utilized the area 1 to 1.5 feet from the edge. I saved up the center part to make the base for the rag rug.

Braided Rag WIP2

A bunch of it waiting for tidying up. Don’t worry about the frays, they will be gone in the next step.

Braided Rag WIP3

Remove all the loose threads along the strips, they normally are those vertical threads that came off when you tear the fabric.

Braided Rag WIP4

Roll up the strips into a ball, don’t join the ends, just roll it up and get ready for the next step. I made 3 from different bedsheets so that I will get some pattern when I braid the strips.

Braided Rag WIP5

Stack 3 strips and make a few stitches at the end.

make braided rag rug

Secure the end by pinning it down with safety pin to somewhere you feel comfortable to work at. I pinned it on my ironing board. The curtain should do well too.
Start braiding till you come to an end of the strip.
Arrange the strips to end at a different length so they don’t join at the same point and make the braid bulky. Cut the length if necessary.
Loosen up the other ends when they get tangled up. This is the reason why I advise not to join the strips before braiding. The short length is easier to loosen up.

join strips

When coming to the end of a strip and need an extension, fold the end of the strip at about 1 -1.5″ from the edge, make a small slit vertically. Do the same to the new strip.

join strip

Put the new strip on top of the existing and pass the tail end through the slit holes.

join strips

Gently pull the strip until it goes all the way to the other side. The end of the existing strip goes through it as well.
Tug it a little to tighten up the joint. Continue to braid.

make braided rag rug

Braid the strips till you have a substantial length for the rag rug, 10 yards or so. Just an estimation will do, if you don’t have enough, you can always braid again later.
Set aside.

make braided rag rug

Prepare the base.
Fold the centerpiece of the leftover bed sheet after all the stripping, to a size of about 23″ x 17″. I place an old curtain at the bottom to further reinforce the rag rug, you can do without it if your bed sheet is not as tattered as mine.
Tack stitch to secure all layers.
Mark 1″ square on the base, to have 22 squares x 16 squares (with 1/2″ seam allowance for the sides). This is useful during sewing the braid strip to the base so that you will know if your rag is going out of the shape.

make braided rag rug

Place the braid at the center 6 squares width wide, coil and go around the first strip. Hide the head end of the braid when your rounding strip reaches there. Pin it to secure.

make braided rag rug

Sew the side of the braid with a zigzag stitch so that the braid join up side by side.

make braided rug

Continue to sew until you reach the last square.

sew braided rag rug

Cutaway the extra base.

sew braided rug

Sew the braid under the base. Hide the end. Complete!

floor mat

Besides the exquisite top, you will have a scenic base with all the zigzags go around an oval… This makes the braided rag rug reversible, one stone two birds!!!!

braided rag rug


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