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Recycle Tutorial: Braided Rag Rug

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My mum passed me 2 bundles of old bedsheets she found during spring cleaning. She knows that I love to recycle and am 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 bedsheets, I can make lots of braided rag rugs.

braided rag rug

I stumbled upon some rag rug tutorials before, and this one 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 braided 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 textured!!! 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 recycled handmade and will switch off my lights for 1 hour on March 27, 8:30 pm. I hope you will do so too 🙂 Click the link to get more ideas on Recycle Crafts.

How To Make Braided Rag Rug With Old Bedsheet


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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Maria thompson

Monday 12th of August 2019

Hello Help please I braided some old t-shirt but when I start Sewing the thread keep snapping and missing some stiches. Do you what tension I should apply for zigzag and width of the it?


Wednesday 10th of October 2018

How do you keep the rug from curling into a bowlshape.?

Pam Handshy

Sunday 10th of February 2019

You also want to make sure you are not braiding too tight. That will also make it into more of a hat than a rug as I discovered. However, if you have the time and desire, there 'is' a way to 'cure the curl'. Wet your rug down good, add a little softener to your water. Then stretch it out on a good flat board and nail it into shape. Let it dry, remove the nails and you have a proper flat rug.

Craft Passion

Friday 12th of October 2018

You will need to control the tension as you roll and sew the braid, make sure the tension is loose enough so that it won't curl.


Thursday 31st of December 2015

I have worked for several days on this and its frustrating. I'm now sewing it and its bowing up, like its trying to make a bowl. Idk what to do.

Craft Passion

Friday 1st of January 2016

Hi Erica, it is all about tension. Relax and do not pull the braided stripes too tight while sewing. Hope this piece of advice helps.

Susan A Schoettel

Tuesday 30th of June 2015

I make what are called Appalacian weave rugs. There is no sewing involved. When weaving the rug, I loop one strand through the side of the previous braid. i start with either 3 strands or 6. (The 6 strand is a lot harder to describe.)When you get to the end,you have to put two strands through one loop to make the braid go around the corner. I do not know how to make the square rugs yet. When you get to the end of a strand, the ladies of time past, would either tie the ends together, or cut a slit in each end, then pass one end through the other and bring the strand through.There was "no" sewing involved at all. I sew the ends together. That is all the sewing I do. Hope you can understand my directions. A good winter project!

Rebecca McGuire

Saturday 25th of June 2016

i've been searching and searching for directions like yours on how to do this technique. would you know the name used for this technique or where i may find directions for? Would love your help .. Thank you soo much Rebecca


Thursday 12th of February 2015

I saw this post and was inspired to make a rag rug of my own,I made one while in high school which I sewed together by hand. Turned out very well. This time around I've used sheets (aquire at a thrift shop)and used the zigzag sewing machine problem is my rug is rippling, am I doing something wrong? I've thought about it and thought maybei was braiding it too tight? Or had the tension wrong on my machine? I'm at a loss.

Craft Passion

Friday 13th of February 2015

Hi Lydia, I braided quite firm on the strips but I didn't have ripple problem so I would say that it could be your machine tension issue. Please adjust your thread upper tension and see if it works.