Crocheted Rag Rugs

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rag rug crochet

We have recently been asked how to actually make a crocheted rag rug. It would be easier to show you, but I’m not able to make a video right now, so I did some checking. These videos are the best I could come up with for the moment. The first two are for a crocheted rug and the last is for what is called a toothbrush rug which is easy to make if you don’t know how to knit or crochet. If you have any questions, be sure to ask.


Toothbrush Rugs – Complete Video Instructions (Part 1 – Beginners)


Photo By: katerha


  1. Nancy B says

    Thanks for posting this video on the crocheted rag rug. It is a good one. I appreciate the time that you took to find a good one. I have recently taken a class to start one and this is a good visual reminder! (I did look at some on YouTube…..oh, my.) Thanks, Nancy

  2. says

    I am so excited to have the instructions for making rag rugs. Do you cut the rag strips according to the thickness you want for the rug?
    I have been wanting to do this with my old pantyhose, so now I just need to find out who has made rugs from hose. How different is it to cut the strips for the rugs from hose, because of the stretch in the fabric?
    It’s great to learn new ideas for recycling for so many household items. Thanks to all for sharing.

    • says

      Usually about 1-1 1/2 in. is what you would cut a strip of say a cotton sheet for a rug. But that isn’t set in stone and is just a guide you can do them thicker or thinner. I usually tear a sheet and just snip across about every inch and don’t measure.

      For a pantyhose rug I have never made one so maybe one of our readers can help. Just looking at them I myself would probably just cut off one leg and use that for a thinner rug and for a thicker rug would use 2 legs but like I say someone else out there might have a better idea.

  3. Jaime says

    If you’re concerned about the thickness of your strips there are little machines out now that can cut strips of fabric into uniformed widths. I think the machines also come with different types of blades so you can do a wavy cut if you prefer. Check through quilting magazines, they should be advertised there.

    • says

      You can buy a machine but they can be expensive and there really isn’t a need because the width of the stripe doesn’t have to be exact or perfect. Most people can eyeball them just fine. I say this because I don’t want anyone thinking you can’t do this unless you have a machine so you don’t try. Jaime was just letting you know that like many other things when they become popular they come out with cool machines and gadgets you can use but you don’t really need them.

      I have made yo yo’s (the round circles they use for quilts or decorations) for quilts for years and have done just fine. They now have a gadget to make them with but like I said you don’t really need it so don’t be afraid to try.

  4. Jaime says

    Yes Jill is right, you don’t need a machine to cut the strips if you are just using them to crochet or knit. But if you would to use strips of fabric for sewing projects the little machine might come in handy. I, too, have also seen the little plastic discs that have come out for Yo-Yo making. If you’re just making them round then don’t bother buying them. But if you would like to make shape like a butterfly or shamrock then you might want to consider getting them. If you like little crafting gadgets like i do then you may want to check out the Clover site:

  5. rose says

    i just went and checked out that site jaime .. i love those flower frills .. i had a pair of sandals a couple of yrs ago that had one of those huge flowers on each sandal .. i got more compliments on those sandals than any other shoe/sandal i have worn ..
    they were such pretty flowers .. i tried to get another pair but the shoe dept manager at our local walmart said they were a one time seasonal product .. and he had alot of requests for more .. they were really comfortable too …
    thanks for sharing 😀

  6. Linda says

    My grandmother taught me to make these when I was 12. I am now 47 and am making one for my daughters’ bathroom. My grandmother tore her strips and then sewed the ends together. That’s one of my favorite memories. Thanks, Jill, for sharing this!

    • Linda White says

      My Grandma and Grandpa made crocheted rag rugs and he even took a screwdriver and made it into a crochet hook so it would be easier to pull the thickness of the rags through. My mama made them too and I wish I would have learned from her but no I didnt want to back then when I could have. They are all 3 passed on now.

  7. Ann says

    Thank you…thank you…thank you!! I thought this was a lost art!! I remember my grandmother sitting in her rocking chair making this YEARS ago. I didn’t get to spend enough time with her to have her teach me how to make my own….so, I’m soooo glad you have made this available for us. I’ve been saving my rags just in case! Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      You are welcome Ann. I have several crocheted rag rugs my mom has made for me. Don’t forget you can dye your rags too to get the color you may need for a certain room.

  8. Mary says

    I have fond memories of my sisters and I making rag rugs. We also cut strips and sewed them together. I remember sitting by the fire and working on rag rugs during a blizzard when we were snowed in. Now recently I have been making rugs again to get rid of things. Old sheets work great. I had some polyester knits (from the 70-80s??) that I cut into strips. Some were very rough cut (varing widths) and I tied the strips together. It made a very funky looking rug with the tied ends sticking out. My grandkids love it! Wish I could post you a picture but I’m not that good on computers.

    • says

      Mary it sounds really cute. That is one thing about these rugs you don’t have to be exact and can just have fun with them. Even kids can do them.

  9. Tanisha says

    Last year I made a rag rug with my two son’s old shirts (cotton polos). They had stains on them or were too old and worn out to pass to someone else. I just got my scissors, turned the shirt upside down, put a snip at the bottom, and cut around and around. Until I got to the buttons or sleeve. I rolled all the fabric into a ball. I got out my super size hook (size S) and began to crochet. I tried to make it oval to use outside of our shower. I want to make another for the other bathroom. It only took two days to make and I didn’t have to buy a thing!!!

  10. Jaime says

    Yes, this is a great idea for using up old clothes and bed sheets that you no longer want or need. Thanks for the tip about dyeing.

    Jill and Tawra, perhaps your next book should be about using needlework skills (crochet, knitting, sewing, etc.) and recycling things we already have. I would buy that book.

  11. katy says

    I love making rag rugs. I don’t even sew the ends together on the strips. I just cut a tiny hole and loop them together. It works great.
    I have also started going to yard sales and goodwill shops just to get different colors. I love the bright colors. All the buttons I cut off are in an old blue mason jar, and it looks really pretty.
    When I visited my granddaughter, I took some of her old flannel pajamas and made her a rag rug. She loved helping me , and that rug has LOTS of memories in it.:)

  12. rose says

    i saw a bunch of you tube videos of how to crochet the rag rugs .. but the one thing that interested me the most was the finger crocheting ..
    this woman made a beautiful throw by doing this .. and it seemed so simple too . ..
    i have tried to crochet once in my life and i was very young .. i couldnt get it at all .. (i think it was the stitching i was doing bc it wasnt a straight stitch, it was like going in circles, sorta) .. but i like the way she did this and it was straight back and forth crocheting .. nothing fancy about it at all ..
    the only problem was, i am not sure how to start .. i am sure you tube might have another video with instructions so i will have ot look..
    another thing i found was someone making a rug or throw doing loops with the material .. well .. not sure exactly what i saw bc by the time i looked at this it was super late and i was about to go to bed (i was falling asleep at the computer) .. hehee .. i will look this up again and see what i can find ..

    • says

      You might enjoy finger crocheting Rose. I taught it to all of my grandkids when they were younger and they loved it. Tawra’s oldest son wouldn’t stop doing it he loved it so much. He when through balls and balls of yarn making what seemed like miles and miles of “rope”. The problem is where do you store miles and miles of “rope” and what do you do with it? : ) : ) Oh well he loved doing it. I would tell you how to start but it has been awhile since I did it and it is the type of thing it is easier to see what to do to start it.

      • Sheri says

        My Grandma taught me to make crochet chains with my finger! I used some really super soft yarn. I can still feel it! I think we used my long chain as a Chinese jumprope. Not sure what else you could use the long ones for, but the short ones can become ribbons in the hair, headbands, shoe laces, skinny belts, ties for peasant blouse or dress, the loops for buttons or lacing on a dress or blouse, etc…

        Do you want more ideas? I could keep on going!

  13. Cindy, in NC says

    How cool is this? I was sitting here taking a break from cleaning house and checked my e-mail for “Living on a Dime”. Right there were instructions for making a rag rug; right next to my computer in my crafts basket is a rag rug I’m currently working on! I’ve been making rag rugs for years. They come in handy for letting my dogs sleep on them. I make my rugs out of strips of cut up clothes, sheets, towels, etc. I also use my scrap yarns (I’m a crocheter). I also throw them across my dog’s bed and even across our couch when my dogs want to lie there. Of course, I also use them for rugs in my kitchen, bedroom, bath; they make a great bath mat, too. Just throw them in the washer and dryer and then start all over again.

  14. says

    Great way to stretch a dollar (or dime). Instead of donating or throwing out your old clothes, sheets, and towels you can make them into rag rugs or anything else you like to make out of strips of fabric. That way you won’t have to spend more money buying rugs and you are actually getting more use out the money you originally spent when you bought the clothes, sheets, and towels.

    You can also make more than just rugs. I’ve seen fruit bowls made out of fabric strips and drink coasters. I think “Annie’s Attic” sells a few books about how to make things out of fabric strips. I think they even sell the little tool that makes it easy to connect the fabric strips. You can check and search for “fabric strips” or “fabric braiding”.

    • says

      This is true Jamie. I use all parts of old clothes too. The buttons, zippers, buckles and appliques. One thing many quilters stopped doing was using old clothes for quilts and we were told you had to buy new fabric. I know the thinking behind this but I just can’t spend almost $100 on fabric for a quilt which is what it can cost so I still use old clothes for that as often as I can. If you are making a heirloom quilt then you maybe could buy fabric but most of my quilts are made from worn clothes.

      One other thing to do with older clothes is I keep an old coat, sweats, shoes etc. in my emergency bag in the car. I don’t want to keep a nice set of clothes because I want to wear those but an old set that are worn or ugly will do fine for an emergency.

    • Sheri says

      Another great way to use fabric strips is in Lockerhooking! It’s an old art coming back!

      It’s really simple and easy to do! You can make rugs, hot pads, mug rugs, purses, seat pads… It’s so much fun to do and very quick. The lockerhook is inexpensive. You can use cotton string or some old sturdy yard to lock the rug hooking on to the rug canvas. Whatever design is on the fabric tends to get lost in the project, unless it’s a very small design. Any design that you find on a grid can be done in lockerhook. This includes cross stitch, needle point, rugs, etc..

      Have fun exploring this old idea made new again!

  15. rose says

    jill .. i never got around to do this but it is on my “to do list” of things to learn .. i told my daughter i am hoping to make myself an afghan this way … she saw the video too and said it will look really pretty ..


  16. Charlotte says

    why not use the ‘manufactured rope’ as thicker yarn to make something else? Could you not crochet it into rug, place mat, etc, and it would make a child even prouder of what they had made!

  17. chris says

    I have made a crocheted rag rug from an old sheet. I love it! My problem is I don’t know how to end it. How do I end it? Do I sew it? Any help would be great!!

    • says

      Chris just pull the tail through the last loop to knot it the same way you would knot a regular project then take a thread and needle and tack it down to the edge of the rug.

  18. Linda Ferguson says

    Does it make any difference if the strips are cut or torn on the selvage or accross the grain of the fabric?

    • says

      Not really. The main thing to consider is which way tears the easiest and of course if you’re cutting it won’t matter at all. The other thing I take into consideration is I try to cut or tear the strips in a way that I will get the longest strips possible so I don’t have as many ends to sew together.

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