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How to: braid your own large rag area rug!

Dec 05 2016 -
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Did you hear about that insane winter storm we got hit by a couple of Fridays ago? Well, it meant I was basically stranded at home for three days straight and I thought, “I know, I’ll make that rug I’ve been planning on working on!” So, while the snow piled up outside, I grabbed two $5 blankets and a big drop cloth I had purchased just for this project and I started cutting them all into strips so I could braid them. And I cut and I cut and I cut. In the end this project translated into two things. 1: Rugs are worth every penny we pay for them and then some and 2: I never want to do anything like this again. I foolishly thought this project really wasn’t going to be all that big of a deal and, in the end, it would be worth the $100 or so dollars I saved doing it. Honestly, I’m on the fence on whether or not the 40+ hours I spent on this rug was actually worth it. Do I love the rug? Of course. Do I love that I made it? Of course. But this was A LOT of work!

First I needed to cut the blankets I bought at our thrift store into strips. I started with a big green fuzzy blanket and a canvas drop cloth and then I braided them all together.

How to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living room

Using my hot glue gun (and a blanket under everything to protect our floors) I started gluing my big braid down. (This was a tip I saw online, instead of having to braid the braids together, just glue it to a rubber rug mat and save yourself some time…) I ran out of drop cloths so then I just braided the green together until I ran out of that too and viola, I had half my rug done.

How to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living room

From there I tackled the other enormous thrift store blanket (this is mid day 2 btw). It was a VERY heavy and VERY dense fabric that almost felt like curtain fabric, but I’m pretty sure it was just a big bedspread, honestly it felt like burlap. It took me four hours to cut it up and another two to braid it all together. I cut the strips between 1-3 inches wide, I wasn’t too worried about perfection here but I really tried to keep them all about 2 inches wide. When braiding I ALWAYS had the 3 separate strips at different lengths and then I would take the shorter of the 3 and use that to braid around the other 2. Basically, 2 strips are always stationary and the 3rd shorter one just weaves in and around the other 2. Once the shortest strip ran out I would attach the next strip with a couple of loops using a basic needle and thread and then I would find the next shortest strip and continue braiding until I basically lost my mind 😉

How to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living roomHow to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living room

How to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living roomHow to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living room

By the time day 3 came around my hands were absolutely killing me but I was so close to completion that I just kept on gluing. It was a good thing the storm broke or I wouldn’t have been able to go to town to buy more glue sticks! Admittedly, this is one of those projects where the end result was not exactly enough to make all of the labor worth it right away lol This was a huge undertaking and there are MANY lessons I’m taking away from it. The glue gun was a good idea and I think it did save me some time HOWEVER, I would never attempt to glue fabric like this to a rug mat again, it just didn’t have anything to really stick to. If I ever did this again I would glue the braids down to a solid piece of fabric (probably drop cloth) cut to size and then just throw the rubber rug mat under it, that would have saved me quite a bit of grief. Right now I will need to flip the rug over and glue it better down to the mat, I also plan on covering all of the fabric with poly acrylic so its more durable. I would say, in the end, this project was worth it and I do love our rug but it will be a long time before I ever do anything this big again lol!

How to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living room
How to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living roomHow to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living roomHow to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living roomHow to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living roomHow to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living room

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46 Comments

  1. December 6, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Tarah that is such a huge feat! Your rug looks beautiful and it was so worth doing to get such a pretty result. Thanks for telling us all about your adventure so that if I should attempt it I’ll be sure to avoid the mistakes. You live and you learn! And y ou know we DIYer’s thrive on this kind of stuff. 🙂

    • December 6, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you so much Mary! 🙂

  2. Penny Bayley
    December 6, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    When braiding your rug if you flip it over with good side facing the floor, you can then apply liquid rubber straight onto the rug, dry for at least 48 hours and then put rug where you want it. It won’t walk or move , or slide. Good Luck

    • December 6, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Penny, what a great idea! I just purchased a can of it on Amazon! I didn’t know liquid rubber existed lol, thank you!!

  3. December 11, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    OH MY GOD!!! Tarah It is amazing It is gorgeous and I cannot tell you how happy I am that a week before you posted this I bought a rag rug braided for my living room. Ha! And when I saw yours I thought …damn! I should have done that. BUT NOW that I read the WORK involved.. I am go glad. plus what I am NOT at all crafty and have no idea how to work a glue gun (next project: learn to use a glue gun) but THANK you very much I love your website. It is the BEST!

    • December 12, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Its so good to hear from you Bonnie! Glad I could help! Glue guns are totally awesome and SO useful until you burn yourself a hundred times like I always do! (I still love them though) Someone mentioned I should have bought a case of wine and invited a few girlfriends over to do this rug together instead of by myself – I will totally second that! If I EVER do anything like this again I don’t want to do it alone lol

  4. December 13, 2016 at 2:39 am

    Great job! Can you wash it like that or just spot treat?

    • December 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Just spot treat 🙂 I plan on sealing it though so that should really help and I don’t have a washer big enough for it anyway lol Thanks!

  5. Ilene
    December 13, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Beautiful rug!!! I was wondering how wide you cut the rag strips.

    • December 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Ilene, the strips I cut were about 1-2 inches wide 🙂

  6. December 21, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Your rug looks just beautiful on your lovely wooden floor, Tarah. You are a hard-working DIY/crafter, that’s for sure–nice work 🙂 Thanks for linking up your posts with us at Vintage Charm!

    • December 22, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you so much Diana!

  7. January 23, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    The rug looks amazing but I can understand why you might question the cost-benefit analysis. You certainly made good use of a snow storm!
    Blessings, Leigh

  8. January 25, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    You make that look so easy!! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY Party!

  9. January 27, 2017 at 5:36 am

    It sounds like a lot of hard work went into making this rug but looks like it was worth it. It’s beautiful!!

    • January 30, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Hey Keri, it was definitely worth it!

  10. Jann Olson
    February 1, 2017 at 3:29 am

    I have made a small one, and they area lot of work! Yours turned out beautifully!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    • February 2, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Yup it was WAY more work then I had anticipated lol! But I think it was worth it and I definitely learned a lot a long the way! 🙂

  11. February 9, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    So glad I read your post! I’d been thinking about making a rag rug of some kind, but wasn’t sure if it was worth the effort. Since I only get 1.5 to 2 hours at a time to get ANYTHING done these days, I might go insane trying to make a large rag rug like that. However, your rug looks spectacular, and really makes that gorgeous coffee table pop! Thanks again for joining us at the #happynowlinkup!

    • February 9, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      Hey Leslie! Yup, this was a HUGE job and, though I love the rug, I don’t know if I would do it again. At our local S&L outlet we can get big area rugs for only about $50 so, knowing that and knowing what I know today of how much work this was, I can really only say that if you want a homemade rug and something no one else has: then it is worth it. However, you won’t be saving any money here if your time is worth anything! Thanks for coming by 🙂

  12. February 12, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Wow! That’s not easy but looks fantastic.

  13. Sue Tait
    February 13, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    This is a gorgeous piece of handmade art. You are so inventive and have such great ideas. I have wanted to make a rug like this, and had no idea how to go about it. But I might really consider doing one now that I see how yours turned out. I have plenty of time to work on one, I’m retired, so if I attempt it and it Does turn out to be halfway good, I’ll let you know~~! Thanks so much for all the inspiration and information you give to us all…

    • February 13, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Oh Sue if you make one definitely send me a pic of it – I would LOVE to see it! But glue it to a solid piece of fabric or something instead of a mat like I did – it will hold way better then. I still need to go back and add more glue to mine because it is really hard to get it to stick to the mat.

  14. February 15, 2017 at 2:57 am

    It looks very nice.

  15. February 22, 2017 at 4:55 am

    Wow…this is so cute!

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  16. February 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    wow, it’s amazing! But I cannot even imagine how much work went into it! And it’s also not that easy to braid those super long strips. Fantastic job!! 🙂 Lisa

    • February 27, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Thank you Lisa it really was a TON of work, but we’re happy with it now!

  17. February 28, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Wow! I’m in love with this rug. I would have never known that this is a DIY project! Awesome. Thanks a lot for joining us at the Family Joy Blog link up party!

  18. March 23, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    I love how your braided rug turned out. Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Pinned & shared.

  19. April 8, 2017 at 4:05 am

    I love that rug! How is it holding up since you made it? It’s really nice in those colors, and fits the room in the pictures very well. Found my way here from Clever Chicks Blog Hop.

    • April 10, 2017 at 1:13 am

      Thank you Elizabeth! So far it’s been really holding up pretty well, I did add a few stitches to add stability in a couple places where it’s getting the most traffic.

  20. April 17, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    It does soumd like a lot of hard work, but man! That rug looks amazing!!

  21. May 1, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Wow! Just wow! You did this big rug yourself?! Your hands must be in pain after so much braiding. I think it was worth it, because you have a statement piece in your livingroom, an unique piece of DIY art.

    • May 1, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Thank you so much! Oh my universe was that a big job! Lol honestly know what I know now I’m not sure I would tackle such a project again, but it was definitely worth it 🙂

  22. May 5, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Nice when it is finished, but I felt tired reading all the effort that you put into this lovely project. Your pics of it in place on the floor look great. A job well done.

    Kathleen
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

  23. May 11, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    I love this! I’d love to make one of my own sometime. I am so very fortunate to have 3 braided rugs made by my grandmother and grandfather in the 1930’s or so. I’d love to know who all in my family wore the clothes that went into those old rugs. Thank you for sharing this! s

    • May 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Oh Leslie I’m very jealous! I have quilts made by my grandma and my mom points out from time to time, “Yup I remember that dress I loved it when I was ten!”

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