How to Make a Rag Rug (with photos)

By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors


  • 2-½”-wide fabric strips, cut or torn, fabrics of same weight
  • Tapestry or yarn needle
  • Yarn
  • Scissors



Step 1: Pick up 3 strips and even up their edges at one end.

Step 2: Sew or knot the strips together at the evened-up end.
Note: In this example we have sewn the end.

Step 3:Taper the ends with scissors.

taper ends of rag rug

Step 4: Clamp the sewn end to the table.

rag rug clamped to table

Step 5: Trim the free ends to different lengths.
Note: You will want the ends to be different lengths so it's easier to add in additional strips of fabric.


Step 6: 3-strand braiding technique: right to center, then left to center, then repeat.

rag rug braid
rag rug braid
rag rug braid

Step 7: For a more finished look, fold under the cut edges while you braid.

Step 8: Introduce new strips by overlapping the end of the old strip by about 3” with the new strip.

rag rug strip addition
rag rug strip addition
rag rug strip addition


Step 9: Use the needle and yarn to stitch the edges of the braid to each other, either in an oval or a circle.

Step 10: Make sure the braid lies flat as you stitch.

Step 11: Stitch under the braid loops, not into the fabric.

stiching rag rug
stiching rag rug
stiching rag rug
stiching rag rug
stiching rag rug



Step 12: Trim ends of all three strips so they’re of even length. Beginning about 1 foot from the ends, cut all strips to taper to a blunt point.

Step 13: Finish braiding. Because of the taper you cut, the width of the braid will gradually become narrower to the end.

Step 14: Stitch the strips to each other at the tip, then stitch the tip to the edge of the rug.

rag rug finishing
complete rag rug


  • To avoid a lumpy rug, cut your strips from fabrics of basically the same weight.
  • If strips are too long, they’re difficult to braid.
  • To avoid lumps, don’t introduce new fabric to more than one strip at the same place in the braid.

Related Video: How to Make a Rag Rug

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