Yes, we are here!

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-234-3368 or by email. Stay safe!

How to Make a Rope Rug

Learn how to make a rope rug using a rope-making machine and recycled rags.

| January/February 1977

  • Rope Rug
    Easily create a beautiful rope rug using old rags from around the house.

  • Rope Rug

When it comes to attractive, foot-warming floor coverings, you just can't beat an old-fashioned Colonial-style throw rug. "Especially," says MOTHER staffer Travis Brock, "one that you've made yourself — for pennies — from recycled rags!"  

Two months ago, MOTHER researchers Travis Brock and Dennis Burkholder came up with a right smart (we thought) idea: "Why not use the rope-maker," they suggested, “to twist ordinary rags into 'fabric ropes' that a person can — in turn — make into a Colonial-type oval rug?"

Well, we're pleased to report that the boys' idea has — in the ensuing two months — materialized into a brightly colored 3-by-4 foot floor covering.  For all you would-be rug-makers, then, here's a quick rundown of how Travis and his wife, Linda, managed to create a lovely "rope rug" ... with tips on how you can duplicate their success.

A New Way to Recycle

Most experts say that wool is the only suitable material for a floor covering of this sort. "But," explains Travis, "Linda and I happened across a large quantity of double-knit polyester and decided 'What the heck ... let's use it,'" First, the couple washed the approximately 30 square yards of fabric. (No one likes a dingy rug.) Then Travis and his wife:

  1. Cut the laundered cloth into two-inch-wide strips
  2. Separated the strips by color, and
  3. Stitched like-colored strands together with bias seams (that is, seams sewn at a diagonal). "You could butt the ends of two pieces together and sew them straight across," explains Linda, "but you'd end up with unsightly, hard-to-manage lumps in the finished cordage."

Next, Linda and Travis selected three color-coordinated strips of fabric of equal length (anywhere from 20 to 80 feet long) and folded them in half lengthwise. "Then," says Travis, "we got out the Incredible Rope-Making Machine, slipped the strips' folds over the machine's three hooks, and tied the rags' loose ends together behind the 'Y'-shaped separator/holder."

At this point, Travis and Linda got on opposite sides of the rope-maker and started cranking out yard after colorful yard of thick polyester "rope". Says Travis: "I figure the two of us spent a little over an hour twisting our material into fat, tri-colored cords."
5/27/2018 12:49:23 AM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to make my own – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha. Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)



Summer 2020
Learn at Home!

Eight courses, 56 workshop videos, interactive Q&As, exclusive offers, plus access to our private Facebook group.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me