Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to Crochet a Rag Rug Tutorial

I love having a rug in front of my kitchen sink. It's that added touch that make my kitchen feel a bit cozier. When putting away my holiday rug a few weeks ago, I pulled out my regular (no seasonal) rug and to say it's looking a bit worn is putting it mildly. 

I found a few cute rag rug tutorials on Pinterest, but none that were exactly what I wanted. So, I decided to create my own how-to video. I started this project yesterday, so you can see how fast it is to create.

Step 1: Gathering the Materials
You can use whatever fabric you want! I wanted mine to match my kitchen, so I took a quick trip to the fabric store and selected a yard or two of fabrics I liked. When selecting fabrics, it's more important to select colors you like rather than pattern. Unless the patterns are small, you won't be able to see them anyway. 

You don't have to spend a lot (or any) money to make this project, you could use what you already have around the house! Ideas for fabric/scraps:
  • Sheets and pillowcases
  • Men's shirts
  • T-Shirts
  • Old pj's
  • Denim jeans
  • Thrift store or garage sale finds
  • Old curtains
  • Remnant fabrics
  • Dishtowels
Step 2: Preparing the Fabric
Now that you've gathered your fabric, you'll need to cut it into strips. I place my ruler a little bit from the edge, then snip the fabric at 1 1/2" increments. 

Then rather than cutting the strips, I rip them! Ripping is much easier and faster than cutting, it's more accurate, and it makes a very satisfying sound. I also like the rustic look of the torn edges.

Here is a pile of my torn strips. Some tutorials suggest you join all the fabric strips and wrap them into fabric balls so they are ready to use before you begin the project. My approach is a bit unorthodox, I don't like to prepare all my fabric ahead of time. I tear up about a dozen strips, then crochet a little bit, then rip some more fabric, and so on...then I can change fabrics as I go. 

Joining the strips
It's a lot easier to join the strips before you crochet them. This method of joining allows you to crochet along as if you are working with one unending strip of fabric. No yarn ends to weave in later, I love that part.
Here's how you join the strips of fabric:
Cut a small slit into each end of the fabric strips.

The slit only need to be wide enough for a strip of fabric to slip through. I make mine about 1" long. To join the strips, we'll call this green strip, Strip A.

Now, slide Strip A, through the slit of Strip B.

Then, slide the other end of Strip B through the slit of Strip A and pull the entire strip through the slit.

Now, the strips are joined. I like how the ends link together. It adds a nice bit of dimension to your rug having a little tuft of fabric sticking up here and there. 
Just keep joining the strips like that to create a long piece to work with. I join a few pieces, crochet for a bit to see how it's working up, then change fabric, work a little more, etc.

Crochet the Rug
Using a size P/11.5 mm crochet hook, chain 33
  1. Beginning in the second chain from the hook, work 1 single crochet in each chain across (32 single crochet stitches).
  2. Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 single crochet in each single crochet across (32 single crochet stitches).
  3. Repeat #2 until rug reaches desired length.
  4. Cut fabric leaving approximately a 6" tail. Pull tail through last loop. Weave in yarn ends.


  1. Anonymous2/22/2012

    This is great, However I must be dense I just dont understand how you join two together. I have been experimenting with plarn now to try this. Does it matter if it is cotton or cotton blend?

    1. I understand your question. On the photos it doesn't really show the follow through with the strips. When making your slits, make them on both sides of the strips. It is the same concept of putting a luggage tag on a handle. (that's how I learned how to do it). Put it through the hole and then the other side of strip through the same hole. You will get the hang of it. Hope I helped and not made it worse. :)

    2. pinkkangaroo,

      That is a great way to explain it! The luggage tag. Thanks for your imput! :)

  2. This rug is pretty dense, that's what I like about it. I wanted a nice thick rug to stand on at the kitchen sink. You could always go up a hook size if you want it more open.

    I didn't understand the joining at first either until I tried it. It's one of those things that makes sense when you do it and then it's super easy. So, just follow the steps, you'll love it!

    You can use cotton or cotton blend fabric. I went to the calico/quilting department of my local fabric store. They have all of the fabrics arranged my color, so it was easy to pick a few patterns that coordinated. Enjoy!

    1. Anonymous2/23/2013

      How do I adjust instructions for an oval rug?

  3. This is great! I have been gathering a few ideas,(I too like the idea of a rag rug for the kitchen). I might just make one in all white for next to the bathtub as well.

  4. Anonymous2/23/2012

    Thanks for sharing. I am a knitted that occasionally crochets. I may give this a try.

  5. Anonymous2/23/2012

    This is great!! Thank you so much for sharing. I have a truck full of fabric left over from quilts and what not - can't wait to give it a try!! =:)

  6. Anonymous2/23/2012

    I would love to see the final results! Thank you for the tutorial!!!

  7. My Mother crocheted a stairway rug that I wish today I had a picture of it. It went up about 40 or more stair treads and wore like steel. I remember her using nylon or cotton stockings along with other fabric pieces she had from old clothes, etc. It was amazing.

  8. My grandmother used to make these and I often wondered how she did it. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Just curious, but do you do anything to finish it off around the edges when you're done with it? Mine is almost done and I'm thinking of taking a complementary color and single crocheting all the way around it.

  10. Anonymous12/27/2012

    My mother used bread wrappers and other plastic to make rugs for rugged use areas.

  11. ann lutz9/22/2013

    When I was a preteen my mom and grandmom used to make these and when we had enough for our house we would make 2 more long ones and donate to our first aid squad to raffle off. The first aid and volunteer firemen are always looking for something like this to make money on. In a way its paying it forward...............