Rag rugs have been artfully handmade by generation after generation of homemakers. Simple tied rugs and skilfully woven masterpieces made of recycled fabrics grace the floors of countless homes. Reusing old T-shirts, sheets, curtains, and even blue jeans gives each rag rug a unique look. Making rag rugs is a free and easy boredom buster for kids on a rainy afternoon.
Cut all of the fabrics into 2-inch-wide strips. Make the strips as long as possible. Cut the arms of shirts into strips as well, and set aside these shorter strips (approximately 6 inches long).
Tie long strips together end to end to create 3 large strips. Each strip should be several yards long.
Lay the 3 large strips on a flat surface parallel to one another. Tie the 3 strips together in a tight knot at one end.
Starting at the knot, braid the 3 large strips together by picking up the strip on the far right and crossing it over the centre strip. Lay it down between the centre and left strips. Pick up the strip on the far left and lay it between the centre and right strips. Repeat this process until the entire length of the strips is braided. Tie the end of the braid in a tight knot. The braid should be loose enough that you can easily push a finger between the strips of fabric.
Hold one knotted end in your hand, and with your other hand, begin loosely curling the braid around the knot. Stop when you have made one complete flat circle.
Use one of the short strips to "sew" the circle in place. Use one finger to push the end of a short strip up through the braid close to the knot. Push the other end of the same strip up through the curled section of braid. Tightly tie a double knot with the two ends of the short strip.
Repeat Steps 5 and 6, making larger and larger circles until you come to the end of the braided strip. Connect the circles of the rug together every 4 to 6 inches with the short strip ties. To finish the rug, tie the knotted end to the outside edge of the rug with a short strip.
Have someone hold the knotted end as you braid to maintain even tension. The longer the braid is, the larger your rug will be. To create a patchwork design in your finished rug, use multiple colours of fabric and lay the strips in a pattern. Use lightweight or heavily worn denim for a blue jean rug. New or stiff denim can be hard for kids to tie into knots. Add extra short strip ties to create a shag rug effect.
Supervise children while they're using scissors. While machine washing is fine for rag rugs, it's better to lay them flat or hang them from a clothesline to dry.