Finishing Instructions for Rug Hooking

Updated November 22, 2016

After taking the time to prepare a pattern on burlap and rug hook it with yarn or wool strips, it's important to finish your rug well to add lasting durability and support. By finishing rug hooking with binding, you can capture excess burlap to prevent fraying and add a polished looking edge to the rug for display purposes. Take your time to bind the rug well to avoid necessary repairs in the future.

Measure around the outside edges of your rug pattern and add three inches to this measurement. Cut your binding to this length. Place the right edge of one end of your binding against the right side of your rug so it runs along the outer edge of your pattern. Pin the end of the binding to the rug.

Continue to align the binding to the edge of the pattern and pin it to the burlap base all the way around. Work as closely to the hooked portion of the rug as possible with the width of the binding resting over your hooks. Ease the binding around the corners and overlap the tail with where you began by 1 1/2 inches.

Sew a straight stitch all the way around to attach the binding to the rug up against your last rows of hooks with the sewing machine. Change your stitch setting to a zigzag and sew a zigzag stitch all the way around the rug at both a ¼-inch and a ½-inch away from the binding to secure the burlap.

Lay the rug face down over a thick towel. Place a small, damp towel over the back of the rug and steam the rug with your iron on a wool setting. Lift the iron and adjust the damp towel as needed to work the entire area. Continue to lift and steam the rug until the entire rug's shape has been set.

Cut off excess burlap from around the edges of the rug close to your outermost line of zigzag stitches. Pull the corners of the burlap on a diagonal toward the back of the rug and press. Pull back and press the sides of the burlap toward the back.

Wrap the binding's width toward the back by hand and pin it in place as you go to hold it. Continue until all of the binding has been turned to the back of the rug and the zigzag portion of burlap is trapped underneath it. Hand stitch the binding in place along the backside of the rug to hold it all the way around.


To make finishing your rugs easier, consider sewing your binding tape to the outermost line of your pattern before you start hooking. This will ensure you can hook right up to the binding, preventing gaps of burlap from showing in your finished product. When hand stitching the binding, take regular backstitches every 3 to 4 inches rather than pulling the thread tight. This will secure the binding and avoid creating dimples in the binding.


Don't slide your iron when pressing or you may distort the finished shape of the rug.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Cotton binding or twill tape 1½ inches wide
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thick towel
  • Small damp towel
  • Iron
  • Hand sewing needle
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