ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Make Rag Area Rugs Out of Old Clothes

Updated on January 31, 2019
viryabo profile image

I love crafts works. I made my first ragdoll when I was 10 as a class project for a jumble sale and made my first rag rug when I was 16.


A rag area rug is a traditional handwoven carpet that is made from old and discarded clothes This craft has been around for hundreds of years and involves crocheting strips of cloth to create a floor covering.

Long ago, when clothes are so worn that they were no more useful to wear, they were hardly thrown away and too old to be given out. Every old bit of anything a family owned was recycled and put to good use for the benefit of the family. And if gifts needed to be presented, rag rugs made from the same worn-out materials were used.

Today, the popularity of rag area rugs continues to rise, and people love them so much that they either go out to buy one or hand-weave one for their own use or as a gift. Also, those who love craft-making, ‘rag-rugging’ is great fun and when it is completed, makes a wonderful item to spread on your living room or bedroom floor.

A rag area rug made from different pieces of old or discarded clothes.
A rag area rug made from different pieces of old or discarded clothes.

Materials You Can Recycle to Make Rag Rugs

Making handwoven rugs is a great way to recycle your old garments which can include:

  • Old jeans
  • Blankets
  • Bed sheets and pillowcases
  • Shirts and skirts
  • Old jumpers
  • Old but soft leather bags
  • Curtains and drapery
  • Old towels
  • Ribbons
  • Toughened plastic bags.

The best rag area rug has a good mix of fabrics in a planned colour-coordinated way and a variety of textured materials can also be added to the mix.

If you will rather use new strips of fabric instead of old clothes, you can purchase a mix of cheap or reject materials online or from any of your local fabric shops. Wherever people live, cheap fabric shops and flea type markets abound so especially look out for leftover strips got from bales of fabrics.

There are different types of rag rugs and each is constructed differently from the others. They can come in one solid colour, or as a multi-coloured rug.

If you want a soft rug, use fabrics that are soft underfoot like bedsheets, pillowcases, or old t-shirts. On the other hand, if you want a rag rug that is thick, strong, and longer-lasting, you can use old jeans, suits, or flannel.

If you can crochet with yarn, then you can crochet a rag area rug with fabric strips. It’s the same basic crocheting principle. Don’t worry too much about perfection because the idea of a rag area rug is not to achieve the intricate look of a machine woven carpet. These are handmade rugs meant to be a work of art and therefore need not be perfect.

A variety of rag rugs
A variety of rag rugs | Source

How to Make Handwoven Area Rugs

Rag area rugs are quite easy to make and if you are skilled at the art of making them, you can complete one (depending on its size) in just a couple of days. For a beginner, the process is fairly straightforward and if you are able to do some simple crocheting, you can make a rag rug because the most basic and simple technique of crocheting will suffice.

Beginners who wish to perfect the art of rug making may find this simple but comprehensive book on weaving rugs quite helpful.


The tools you need to make a rag rug are:

  • Needle and thread or,
  • Sewing machine
  • A sharp pair of cloth scissors
  • A large crochet hook (the US size Q is perfect for the job)
  • Old clothes or materials found around the home


Make sure you have enough materials to make the rug size you want but if you are a beginner, just use what you have available and consider it a test run but if you have a certain space you'd like to use the rug and need it to be the right size, you'll need to be sure you have enough material to use.

  1. Cut all the material into I” or 2” strips depending on the fabric and the look you desire.
  2. If the strips you have are short, joined them together by sewing or knotting at the short end to create longer strips.
  3. If you can crochet with yarn, then you can crochet a rag area rug with fabric strips. It’s the same basic crocheting principle. Follow a half double crochet
  4. With the large crochet hook (large crochet hook allows looser stitching) start the rug with a chain stitch as long as you want the rug to be wide.
  5. After you create a chain, start the half double crochet stitches.
  6. Wrap the strip around the hook and hold it with a finger so it doesn’t slip off the hook.
  7. Push the tip of the hook through the hole, hook the fabric strip and pull the hooked strip out through the hole.
  8. Continue to pull it through both the loops on the hook

Don’t worry too much about perfection because the idea of a rag area rug is not to achieve the intricate look of a machine woven carpet. These are handmade rugs meant to be a work of art and therefore need not be perfect.


  • Add on strips as you crochet or make all that you’ll need in advance.
  • Make all your strips up first if you plan to dye them to look evenly random.
  • If you want simple stripes on a rectangle rag rug, for instance, you can add on as you crochet and change strip colours at the edges as is required.
  • Using a large crochet hook allows stitches to be relaxed so it’s easy to unravel if you hate the end result and want to do it all over again.
  • You can get area rag rug making kits that has every tool you will need for your task, including backcloths.
  • After making the rug, iron it with a steam iron, especially the edges are ruffling.

Video Tutorial - No Sew Rag Area Rug

A round rag area rug
A round rag area rug | Source

Video Tutorials - Round Doormat

Other Crafts Made Out of Old Clothes

The technique used for weaving rag area rugs can also be applied to other crafts Asides using a rag rug for the floor, there are a variety of other things you can make out of old clothes and fabrics to use as home décor items or give out as gifts. They include some of the following:

  • Cushions
  • Tote bags
  • Tea cosies
  • Wall art
  • Duvet
  • Blankets
  • Tablecloths, coasters, and placemats

Rag Rug Making - A Perfect Craft for the Family

When kids are free or on vacation and want something exciting to do, give them this fun task to do. They can make their own rag area rug for their bedroom, or for any other space in the house. And if they get good at making them, they can sell them to family and friends and earn some money in the process.

Even the elderly can join in the fun of making handmade rugs. They have a lot of free time on their hands to take up rug making crafts. They may even take the craft up to earn some income too.

They will make great gifts for their family members, friends, and even as gifts for children in an orphanage, and homeless people in localities, to help insulate them from the cold.

© 2009 viryabo


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Lisa Jane39 profile image

      Lisa Jane 

      19 months ago from Maine

      I love this article. I have made rag rugs out of clothes and they look great. This is easy to do. Thanks for sharing.

    • marissa lopez profile image

      marissa lopez 

      3 years ago

      thanks :)

    • toptenluxury profile image

      Adrian Cloute 

      7 years ago from Cedartown, GA

      I love this hub. I think that I will make a small one for my table and then make a bigger one for my floor.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Maria Giunta 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great idea on how to recycle old clothes and fabrics. You've given us easy instructions too, viryabo. Excellent craft hub.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have to say that, "I just love this." I love to make good use of everything, and I love the old Pioneer days from making home made bread, and cheese, to candles, and now this. This is AWESOME! Thank you. Making my first rug now from old fleece sweat shirts that I never wore. =)

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      You are welcome Tina.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I've tried plaiting and lacing a rug before, but this looks so much easier, I will have another go. Thank you for the really clear videos.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Light82, im happy you have found a commendable idea in giving rag rugs to the destitues, from reading this article.

      That's a sad thing to happen. The cold bitter months are when they need the most help from us.

      Thanks for visiting and leaving thought inspiring comments.


    • light82 profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Thank-you for the charity idea. When I lived in Toronto (this is very sad) a homeless man was found dead on the sidewalk in his sleeping bag, during winter. He froze to death and people walked by him for three days until someone discovered he had passed. hopefully we can help this from happening. Thanks for the idea1 ~L

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Auntysa, i'm glad you found this informative. Imagine how we can all recycle our old clothes and present rag area rugs as presents for the needy at Xmas.

      They will be nice as covers against the cold for the homeless too.

      Thanks for the visit and for leaving nice comments.


    • AuntySa profile image


      10 years ago from Austalia

      Great post. I love the step-by-step videos shown here. I must say that you have given us a brilliant idea to recycle things and make them useful.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      What great ideas-I'll be back to take a closer look!

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      I'm so glad Emma. i know how it feels like, having to throw clothes away. And if they are stained and quite old, they cant be given away either.

      Making rag area rugs is the best way to recycle clothes that are too old to give out.

      Thanks for the visit Emma. And for finding time to leave a nice comment.


    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This has given me such inspiration. I have a bag of my boys' old clothes that are stained and old. I can't give them away, and I hate the idea of wasting them by throwing them away. So I am going to make a rag rug! Brilliant. Thank you.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      2uesday, hello and thanks for visiting. I'm glad you are inspired to try it out.

      Winter months seems a great time to make craftworks such as weaving rag ares rugs, as we tend to be stuck at home a lot more in the cold months than in the summer.

      Im sure you'll enjoy crafting some.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave me a nice comment.

      Cheers 2uesday.

    • 2uesday profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi viryabo thank you for this, I can remember rag rugs in the homes of my grandparents. I knew they could be made by the technique where the fabric strips are pierced through a hessian backing but I never thought of making them by crocheting or knitting. I may have a go at this in the winter time, I have small off-cuts of fabric that would be suitable. You may have inspired me with this article. Thank you.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Hello Peggy, Thank you for your visit and comments. We can put to good use all old clothes and use constructively. We really must have the ragman back! That will be nice.


    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      10 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You are correct in that nothing was wasted in the "good old days." My mother actually remembers the ragman coming around in Milwaukee, Wisconsin collecting old cloths that no one wanted or could use. And rag rugs.......very popular back then. Good hub!

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Hi Stacie, thank you for the visit and your nice comments. Im glad you've found it informative.


    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 

      11 years ago

      this is a very useful and informative hub for us crafters! thanks :=)

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Hi Plants & Oils, Thanks for your nice comments, glad you like it.

    • Plants and Oils profile image

      Plants and Oils 

      11 years ago from England

      Great hub, and really easy to follow instructions.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Thanks so much Dame Scribe. Appreciate your comments. I know kids will love this, especially the creative children who love to do crafts. Keeps them busy and entertained.

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 

      11 years ago from Canada

      Great skills to know and fun projects for kids and teens too. Great article! :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)