How to Make Braided Rugs

With a little time and energy, you can learn how to make braided rugs. Handmade braided rugs add a touch of traditional beauty to a room. 

Rug Braiding Materials
You can use a variety of materials to make a braided rag rug. You can use fabric remnants or old clothing. You can also buy new materials if you like. Just make sure that you don't mix fabric families together. For example, don't mix cottons with wools: Your rug won't braid evenly, and the fabrics shrink differently.

Think about what you want from your rug when you are looking at fabric families. For example, if your main object is durability, you would be looking at making wool braided rugs. However, if you want a rug that feels really good on your feet, you might enjoy chenille braided rugs.

How to Make Braided Rugs
To start rug braiding, you need to form strips of your favorite materials. The thicker the material that you are using, the narrower the strip should be. Strips are usually cut between one and three inches wide. Don't cut the fabric on the bias or it may stretch.

To keep the bulk down on your braids, sew your strips together at a 45 degree angle and then trim the excess with a quarter to half inch allowance. You will want to start with three strips of material about eight or nine feet long.

Now, take each strip and fold each side in to meet at the center of the strip. Then, fold the strip in half. This will keep rough edges from showing in your rug. You can slip stitch the fold into place as you go along.

When you are finished, sew together the three strips at one end and place the end over something stable such as a doorknob. This will help you maintain the proper tension on your strips while you are braiding. Start braiding the three strands together as if the strands were your hair.

After you get close to the end of your first braid, form it into a tight circle-spiral on the floor. Using an upholstery needle and thread, sew the braid together side by side through each loop like you are threading shoe laces. As your rug curves, you may have to run through two loops instead of one to let your rug have more give. Keep checking to make sure that the rug is both flat to the ground and tightly sewn together. You may have to rip out stitches and experiment a little.

As you become more experienced, the sewing will become a breeze.

Keep on adding on lengths of material to your strips until your rug is the right size. When your rug is close to being finished, cut the strands of fabrics to a taper and continue to sew into place.

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