Tuesday, March 27, 2012

T-Shirt Rug

I made the girls a rug to go in their playhouse. It only took about 30 T-shirts from the local Goodwill, a rug canvas from JoAnn's, some double fold quilt binding, and a whole lot of time. I started this thing months ago and worked on it in phases, mostly when I had catching up to do on my favorite TV shows.

Although time consuming, it is very easy to make. First, gather your supplies. It took about 30 shirts to make this rug that is approximately 2 feet wide by 3 feet long.

Then cut your rug canvas to the size you want. This is what it looks like. all folded up right out of the package.T-Shirt Rug 003

Next, use a rotary cutter and mat to cut the t-shirts into strips that are about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long. Some of mine were only 4 inches and others were up to 6 inches. Precision is so NOT necessary. T-Shirt Rug 006

Once you’ve got all your shirts cut into strips, you can start tying them into the grid. I used 1 strip for every four holes and tied them diagonally across. Each marked (in blue) square on the grid has 100 holes so I used 25 strips per square. It took me about an hour to do 6 squares once I got the hang of it. I think I had about 115 or so squares to fill so it was a lot of hours of tying.

Here is a view of the back after tying on all the strips.T-Shirt Rug 008

The last step was putting the binding on the raw edges to the grid doesn’t come unraveled. I just used the pre-packaged double fold quilt binding from the fabric store.T-Shirt Rug 012

Although it was much less time consuming that the actual tying, it was tricky sewing on the binding while trying to keep all the t-shirt fringes out of the way. T-Shirt Rug 014

The stitches are far from strait or pretty, but it doesn’t matter because you don’t even see the biding. It is hidden by all the fringe. It just needs to be there or the edges of the grid that you cut will come undone and that would be sad after all those hours of tying. T-Shirt Rug 015

Here is the finished product. T-Shirt Rug 016

The girls were happy to finally have the rug they have been watching grow for the last several months and I am happy to get started on my next big project.T-Shirt Rug 021


  1. Love it! Just one question since I might actually get to a project like that: would it be easier to sew the edge on first?...does that make a difference?

    1. It would be much easier to sew the edge on first but I wasn't sure if I was going to have enough t-shirts to make it as big as I originally planned so I decided to wait until I was finished tying it to do the edging. Turns out I had plenty, so it would have been fine.

  2. Is the rug washable? My 3rd grader needs a carpet square for the class but it needs to be washable & I thought this wash perfect!

    1. I haven't washed mine yet but I don't see why it would be a problem. I didn't think to check the packaging on the canvas to see if it is washable but as long as you bind the edges, it should be fine.

  3. Love this idea. Seems way easier than the toothbrush rug my DIL and I took a class for years ago. It never laid flat, this looks like it will. Time consuming but way worth it. Yay!

  4. Did you use a latch hook tool to attach the strips?

  5. Did you do a 'single" tie (over and under) or a double "knot" tie???