Making a Rag Rug

Some posts here on ARoseTintedWorld may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and buy a product or register, then I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I may also use products from the companies mentioned in these posts. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Do you have lots of small pieces of jersey fabric left over from sewing jersey garments? Or need a way of upcycling old knit garments into a useful item that you can use around the home? Then this post is for you. Today I am going to show you how to make a rag rug. Making a rag rug (or clip rug) can use up all your old jersey scraps or garments to make something new and wonderful!

Here is how you too can easily make your own rag rug!

*This post has been updated – it was first published in October 2018 – and it is a collaborative post – please see my Disclosure Policy


Making A Rag Rug



My Mother was born during the Second World War. Her family lived in a pretty typical stone house of the time. A back to back, two up one down with an outside toilet. In a long street of many more houses inhabited by other similar families.

The houses had stone floors, and carpets were pretty rare, if not unknown. My Mum told me that the family often spent evenings in front of the fire making rag rugs to put on the cold stone floors.

These rag rugs were made from cut up pieces of worn out old clothes (such as coats) and pieces of sacking, as money was tight and the family used to make use of anything they could. Not much went to waste in those days of rationing.

I have often wondered how these rag rugs were made. Mum says that my grandfather made a frame for my grandmother to hang the rug from whilst she was making it. And grandad also made my grandmother a hook to pull the rag pieces through.


A Perfect Way To Upcycle Old Clothes


I was immediately captivated by this fact. If you have been reading my blog, you will have already found out that I am a keen sewist, and that I also do work in jersey and other stretch fabrics. You also may have read my series on Lagom, which is a lifestyle that promotes sustainability, recycling and upcycling.

If you have ever sewn, you will probably have ended up with countless small scraps. My scrap bag overflows.

But whilst the cotton and woven scraps can often be used to make many things, the jersey scraps that you end up with after cutting out your pattern are often too small to use for anything else. So here we have a possible use for those scraps!

Furthermore, as a parent to a 4 year old I do often have to throw away Elizabeth’s old clothes. She grows out of them quickly, and so I am constantly clearing out. Some I can sell or give to charity, but if they have been worn or played in a lot with they may have stains or be very faded. Here is a way of reusing these clothes rather than throwing them away. Knit or jersey fabric doesn’t fray, so is much more suitable for making rugs in 2020.

I was hooked on the idea of making a rag rug of my own.


What You Need For Making A Rag Rug.


  • Hessian for the backing fabric (I cut quite a small doormat sized piece from mine and hemmed it with a sewing machine, but you could hand hem it or leave it rough, though the edges do fray)

Making a rag rug - hessian backing

  • Some old jersey clothes (T-shirts, leggings, sweatshirts) or scraps.

making a rag rug - jersey clothes pile

  • A pair of sharp scissors and a wooden block to make the ‘clips’ of rags all the same length

Making a rag rug - making clips with scissors and block

  • Your tool of choice for actually pulling the rag ‘clips’ into the rug. I was surprised to find a range of tools online. These vary from a simple ‘proddy’ or wooden peg, to a latch-hook type tool, right through to a sophisticated rag rug tool with a spring loaded jaw that can pull the rag ‘clip’ through. Here is an affiliate link to the tools I use – the spring loaded tool and the cutting gauge to get the clips the same lengthMaking a rag rug - prod and rug making tool
  • To make the ‘clips’ or rags you need to cut the clothes into inch wide strips of material. This is not an exact science. And then use the wood block to cut the clips to be approximately all the same length.
  • I drew a design on my hessian with a marker pen, but you can be as random as you like.

Making a rag rug - hessian design

To Do The Traditional ‘Proddy’ Method

  • Take the hessian and make a hole with the ‘proddy’

Making a rag rug - hole with prod

  • Then push one end of the clip through the hole with the prod, and pull half the clip through from the other side.

Making a rag rug - half clip done

  • Then make another hole a few hessian strands away from the first

Making a rag rug - prod second hole

  • Push the second half of the clip through this hole and pull through to the other side!

Making a rag rug - clip in place

  • Now make a hole a few strands away from the first, and carry on.

To Use The Rag Rug Tool Method

  • I found this rag rug tool on eBay. You push the point of the tool into the hessian and back out again, effectively making 2 holes at once.

Making a rag rug - using the rug making tool make a hole

  • Then you squeeze the handles of the tool together to open the jaws of the tool and insert the rag clip into the jaws

Making a rag rug - insert clip into jaws of tool

  • Then pull the clip through the holes created earlier, and you are left with the clip in place.

Making a rag rug - clip rag in place

  • Now again all you do is push the rag rug tool through the hessian a few strands away from the first holes, and carry on.

Quite quickly the rug takes shape.

Making a rag rug - taking shape 1

Making a rag rug taking shape 2

Until you are left with the finished result


I was very pleased with the end result. My mother was absolutely delighted when I showed her the finished piece. 

As for rug cleaning the finished piece? Well, these rugs can be washed in the washing machine and hung out or air dried. You may lose a couple of the clips in the process, but once dry, these can just be replaced by using the technique above once more. I’ve washed mine several times now, and they are still pretty much intact.

Fancy finding out more ways to upcycle old clothes? Find some here

Have you thought about making a rag rug? Do let me know if you have, I’d love to see your makes. Contact me on social media, or I’d love to see your comments below.

Don’t forget to pin this post for later!

Making A Rag Rug - a frugal zero waste way of using old clothes to make a lovely decorative item . DIY your own rug using this tutorial. Full instructions on how to make this lovely shaggy floor cover. #sustainable #sustainableliving #zerowaste #zerowasteliving #zerowastelifestyle #ragrug #proddyrug #ragrugsproject #frugallivingtips




39 Replies to “Making a Rag Rug”

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. I’m sure it brought back great memories with my mum too, which was mostly the reason that I thought I’d have a go!

  1. Cheryl Thompson says:

    I’ve tried many craft over the years (can you tell from my blog name?!), especially textiles, but never a rag rug. Bit of an over sight as I do generate a lot of fabric scraps. I’ve made latch hook rugs, which are similar and I think I can use my supplies and tools for a rag rug too. This winter. I really should give it a go. #MMBC

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It’s honestly the best thing that I’ve found for jersey scraps. I might give a woven cotton scraps one next but I am a bit wary of it fraying!

      1. L Frone says:

        If you enjoy making rugs, check out locker hooked rugs. I have made a few and I love the colorful outcome.

    2. Kenji Harvey says:

      Can you tell me the name of that tool? I have been searching “craft tools”, “rug making tools”, “craft pliers”……I can’t find them. Loved the post!
      Thank you in advance

  2. Talya says:

    Oh wow this looks so awesome! I had no idea this was how rag rugs were made….lovely to see how it progressed thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub!

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It’s so simple yet looks so effective doesn’t it? Thank you!

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you! I might look into doing a rag wreath at some point, that sounds like a great project!

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      That was certainly my main reason for having a go. Thank you!

      1. Aliesha says:

        Could you turn this into a bag somehow? Or make a rag bag? X

        1. Jo Boyne says:

          I had never really thought about doing that, but I am sure it would be pose. May be worth lining the bag first though!

      2. Lynn says:

        Hi fab method got a prodded and hessian and plenty of scraps, I really want to do this for the first time but how do you finish the edges once complete thanks

        1. Jo Boyne says:

          I sew the edges and neaten them off around each side before starting. Mum said they used to do this by hand sewing, but I use my sewing machine.

  3. Emma T says:

    I bought my best friend a rag rug kit one year for her birthday, and myself one at the same time, but I have to admit I’ve not used it yet. I must get it out and have a go. #coolmumclub

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It really is such a lovely project! Thank you for reading.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I am just finishing one like my grandma made with bits and bats if woollen fabric .There are classes at Bradford industrial museum

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Wow, thats good to know. Just down the road from me. I bet a wool one will be mega warm. My Grandma used got have a rack on which she made hers!

  5. Anitha says:

    The idea is really great. I’ve a lot of old cloth which is I can’t use that anymore with this idea I’m going to make a Raga Rug by using those clothes. Thank you for the idea, I’m going to try this.

  6. Mea Cadwell says:

    Can you wash these? Since the fabric scraps aren’t sewn into place, how does it hold up?

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      It holds up quite well to washing actually. I’ve washed each of mine a few times, and each time they have lost a couple of strands, but I’ve just popped them back in!

      1. Molly says:

        I use a rotary cutter to cut up the strips for rag rugs.
        Speeds up process x 100 and easier on hands.

        1. Jo Boyne says:

          I hate using a rotary cutter. I don’t know if it is just that I am useless with one or because I am a left hander but I may as well keep using scissors for the time I waste. lol. But thank you for the tip. Maybe I’ll give it another go

    2. Elsa says:

      I’ve always wanted to make one of these. Now I know how and I can get hessian from my local scrapstore. Thanks!

  7. Mea Cadwell says:

    Thank you, that’s good to know.

    And, this means you have an interactive rug. Lol

  8. cindy says:

    Really enjoyed your article. I found most helpful your notations about the different tools used for making the rug. In the past I didn’t know which one to buy to make which kind of rug. Your explicit directions are wonderful.

  9. Peggy Murray says:

    Thank you for the information. I’m sorry but I was more pleased to hear someone talking about their mum. My mom was from Liverpool. She took me to see her family when I was a teenager. I made a friend next door but one. What a great way to explain where she lived. I’m in my sixties and miss my mom. Thank you for telling some of your story. Peggy

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Aw, thank you Peggy. I’m glad that it sparked some happy memories for you.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      This is an affiliate link to the set that I use, with the rag rug tool and the cutting gauge for getting clips of an even length – Rag Rug Tool

  10. Cheryl Youland says:

    I have made two rag rugs for my granddaughters. I used a rug backing, net type, and tied each scrap on the front. Unfortunately, though beautiful, the sides began to fray after a wash and the rug began to fall apart on the edges. So, I’ve been in the restoration phase! I’ve learned that no matter the backing used, it’s important to bind the edges before starting.
    Send your email or other and I’ll share photos w you.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Cheryl. I sew around the edges of my rugs and they withstand washing. Burlap sadly does fray easily, so I find folding and sewing well works best for me, but I am sure binding is good too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.