How To Make "Shag" Rag Rugs

"Shag" Rag Rug
"Shag" Rag Rug

I started making rugs several years ago when, as the home room mother, I needed a class project idea for my daughter’s school auction. Rugs can be made from leftover fabrics (used and out grown clothing) that everyone has in their home so the initial cost is small and the end product can be very beautiful. This idea is very appealing to members of the "green revolution" as well as the more frugal among us. In my opinion, making "shag" rag rugs are the easiest of all rugs to assemble plus you can find a place for every piece of leftover scrap in your fabric stash.

All you need to complete this project is assorted scrap material, monk's cloth, 1 inch wide hem tape, and a blunt, large eyed tapestry needle. I also put a backing on my rugs made out of duck cloth so they appear more finished but some people disagree with this idea saying it traps dirt in the rug causing it to break down more quickly.

To begin, cut the monk cloth in the desired size of your rug plus 1/2 inch on each side. Fold the hem tape in half and sew it to the edge of the monk’s cloth. This will prevent it from raveling. To hem, fold the hem taped edged monk’s cloth in 1/2 inch and sew on each side.

Next, cut the assorted fabric into strips 1 to 1.5 inches wide and about 6 to 12 inches long depending on how "shaggy" you want your rug to be. Don't worry if the length varies slightly. This gives the rug some diversity. I use pinking shears to cut the fabric so my strips won't ravel so much but others prefer the raw edges saying it provides a more homespun look.

To assemble the rug, thread a strip of fabric through the eye of the needle. Starting at the center of the monk’s cloth, attach each strip to the backing by inserting a small stitch.

Both ends should be in the front of the monk's cloth. Even them up and tie them in a knot. Go on to your next strip. Mix colors randomly. Fill the entire rug with strips, making sure no backing shows. Densely cover the backing. I usually include 3 weaves of monk's cloth in my stitch and then skip 3 weaves before I make another stitch. I work from the center to the edge, skipping 3 weaves between rows. If desired, when finished cover the back with duck cloth.

Shake your shag rag frequently to remove loose dirt because the dirt will break down the fibers in your fabric. Hand wash or place in the washer on a delicate setting. Hang to dry. Enjoy many years of use of your one of a kind shag rag rug.

I found a unique way of acquiring fabrics cheaply. Please read my article about my storage wars experience for more information.

If you enjoy rug making, try making Clothesline Coiled Rugs. They are fun!

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Comments 22 comments

hecate-horus profile image

hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

Ok, this is an AWESOME IDEA. I hate throwing out old clothes, so normally I use them for rags...but I always felt like I should make them into something. Love this idea!

AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 5 years ago Author

I also pick up fabric at thrift stores, consignment shops etc. in order to get the color of fabric I want. Yard sales are good for this as well. Thanks for reading.

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Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

Thank you for your Hub. I was trying to think of a rug to make for my old beagle dog. I'm sure he will appreciate a rug like this. Voted up and everything else. Bookmarked, too.

AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 5 years ago Author

My dog has inherited this rug as well. He loves the fluffies.

leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 5 years ago from Western New York

This is an excellent idea - I have a lot of clothes from my boys that are too worn to donate, but I could make a rug out of them! Do you think old denim would work, or would it be too stiff?

AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 5 years ago Author

Denim is wonderful to use for this type of rug. It is long wearing. This rug would last forever. I saw an example of a denim shag rag in a rug making book that was used with red and white fabric.

Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 5 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

I've been wanting to do this for some time. Right now I am working on an overdue mosaic project, and when I'm done with that, this is the next thing on my list! You have inspired me. I can envision a rag rug made with denim strips, one made with silk ribbons, and one made with strips from old tee shirts, (and one made with a mix of all that)! Thanks!

AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 5 years ago Author

Better Homes and garden has a sample of shag rag rugs and they recommend ribbons in one and denim in another. You are right on! have fun!

steph 4 years ago

how much would you charge to make one because i don't have the time but love this idea

AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 4 years ago Author


Would depend on the size and the type of fabric you want to use. Let me know

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Anne Mil 4 years ago from Florida

Have wanted to do this for years! Thank you so much for the instructions. I do have one question--what size Monk's cloth did you use? Since I have to order off the internet, I need to know size for regular cotton material.

AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 4 years ago Author

Anne Mil,

I use 8 count Monk's Cloth. Hope that helps!

Thanks for reading!

BEA21 4 years ago


AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 4 years ago Author


You are welcome. Thanks for reading!

r4ryder 4 years ago

Can you use linnen fabric?

AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 4 years ago Author

Absolutely! That would be beautiful!

Julie Underwood profile image

Julie Underwood 4 years ago

could I make one using curtain materiel. Can't wait to get started.

AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 4 years ago Author

curtain material would be fabulous! I'm currently using curtain material in a rug. Go!

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SportStar13 4 years ago

how long will this awesome rug take if i do a 4by 6 rug

AnnRandolph profile image

AnnRandolph 4 years ago Author

SportStar13 -It should take about 3/4 months to complete if you work on it about 4 hours a day.

jhgfdfrd 3 years ago

Wait, three-fourths of a month or three to four months?

AnnRandolph 3 years ago

3 to 4 months.

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