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July 18, 2014 at 10:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

DIY Rag Rug

By Becky from SLN More Blogs by This Author

As a frugal college student, I’m always interested in easy, practical, and cheap DIY projects on Pinterest, especially those that will spruce up a bland dorm room or apartment. Thus, the rag rug pin that I stumbled across was decidedly the perfect project for me.

Why a rug?

They brighten up the room. They conveniently cover carpet stains. They provide an island of warmth among a sea of cold tile. They produce happy feet (penguin style dancing not guaranteed).

You'll need:

  • scissors
  • ruler
  • plastic sink mats ($1 each)
  • old t-shirts or bed sheets

Time estimate: 5 hours

Time will vary depending on material, cutting equipment, and size of the rug. Using a regular scissors, it took me 2-3 hours to cut the shirts, and another 3 or so hours to tie the strips to the 3 mats.


This rag rug is a great way to use your old t-shirts or bed sheets. I, however, am too sentimentally attached to my t-shirts to cut them up (a t-shirt quilt is in my future), so I purchased 7 youth sized t-shirts from Salvation Army for 69 cents each.

Part of keeping my feet happy involves acquiring and wearing fun and colorful socks. Alas, socks wear thin and grow holes. Unlike normal people, I keep my worn out socks in the back of my drawer. I’ve always thought that their colorful patterns would prove useful for some project — I was right. I cut them into strips and made them the centerpiece of the rug, so to speak.

Getting Started

Cut fabric strips 1 inch by 6 inches. After measuring the first strip, I eyeballed the rest. With a rag rug, I wasn’t too worried about perfect strips — some of them were a little crooked or shrimpy (some as short as 4.5 inches). I used approximately 550 strips for my rug, which is 23” x 14”.

Approximately 550 total strips, 70-90 from each t-shirt and an additional 50 from the socks.


As easy as tying your shoe — easier, actually. Place a strip of fabric underneath the mat, poke each end up through two adjoining holes, and knot. The single knots I used are sufficiently secure, but double knots might be required for different fabric.

Adjoining Mats

The great thing about using sink mats as the rug base is that they can be cut and connected to make the rug any size. I used three mats, cutting the last one in half and attaching the halves to the bottom for a wider rug. Before connecting the mats, the edges that will overlap need to be trimmed. This will enable you to line up the holes and tie the mats together.

I used a few black strips to hold the mats together while I worked. As the strips filled in, I removed the ties as necessary.

Two words of caution:

1. Cutting strips of fabric will result in a release of fuzzies — I was wiping the scissors and table after every shirt. They’ll be everywhere.

2. Dollar store sink mats aren’t always flat. In a lapse of good judgment, I failed to sort through to find the flattest ones. My rug is currently a little bumpy, but I’m hoping some foot traffic will flatten it out.

My progress after two hours of tying.

The underside. You’ll notice that I skipped a lot of spaces, but the rug still looks full from the top. You might also notice that some of the ties are diagonal — a technique that helped fill in some thin spots and will likely haunt my OCD tendencies.

The finished product. My creative itch has been (temporarily) cured, the room has more color, and my feet are happy.

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