Friday Project: Braided T-Shirt Rag Rug

braided t-shirt rag rug
One of my favorite things to do while crating is to upcycle.  Therefore, this craft, Braided T-Shirt Rag Rug, is a personal favorite.  It is super easy–and who doesn’t have extra t-shirt laying around?   And plus, making it fit into my Lenten goals.
Among other things, I decided to give up buying craft supplies this lent.  I also gave up thrift shopping (it has been hard!).  Although I have not been perfect in my resolutions, I have been pleased to see the true creativity inside of me when forced to use stuff just lying around the house for my projects.  That is why I wasn’t unhappy when one of my husband’s former roommates brought over a couple of tubs filled with my husband’s old clothes, most of which were t-shirts.  After my husband decided he didn’t want any of it, I moved the tubs directly down to my craft room and got started on this project.
As a child I remember my grandmother’s house filled with beautiful braided rugs.  I like this style of rug because of how the colors weave in and out of each other.  Since I was making my rug out of t-shirts, mine wasn’t going to be as “vintage” feeling as hers, but that is fine since mine is destined for a child’s playroom.
Making a braided rag rug is very simple, but pretty time consuming.  Also, at the end of it you will likely have some nice looking calluses on your fingers.

Before we get into the roundup I just wanted to tell you about a book my kids and I have been working our way through around here–and using lots of otherwise-would-be-trash items along the way:Craft-a-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects.  Check it out if you have lots of little crafters at home, like I do.  We are having so much fun with this!


 And, onto rug making!

Here’s how to create a Braided T-Shirt Rag Rug

LOTS of colorful old t-shirts
Sharp scissors (or a rotary cutter is better)
Needle and Thread (the type you put in a sewing machine)
Step 1: Cut the t-shirts into 2 inch strips (or loops which you cut).  I did not use the top part of the t-shirt because I had plenty of t-shirts.  The strips aren’t very long, but that’s okay because strips too long will make braiding difficult.  Also, don’t go narrower than 2 inches.  You will need the bulk to keep the rug from bubbling when you stitch it (I learned that the hard way!)
braided t-shirt rag rug

Step 2: Start braiding…and keep braiding!  Since this is a rag rug I simply tied on a new strip when one got to the end, making sure to vary where the knots were so there wasn’t a huge bump in the completed rug.

braided t-shirt rag rug
Step 3: When you have quite a length of braided t-shirt, start stitching it together.  Working from the back and do a simple whip stitch between the two pieces of braid.  I chose to do an oval shape by folding over the first section of braided t-shirt and stitching it together, and then wrapping around and stitching after that.
Step 4: And…keep stitching and stitching!  Make sure to work on a flat surface to ensure that the rug lays flat.  When you reach the end simply sew down the end of the braid.

And done!

braided t-shirt rag rug
braided t-shirt rag rug
Who knew that my husband’s ratty old t-shirts could look so nice!  This is going to be a wonder addition to our playroom.
Thanks for stopping by.  If you are as crazy about up-cycling as I am, check out these other projects where old became new!
WREATH made from a ripped sheet
THROW PILLOW made from scraps
CROCHETED RUG from T-Shirt Yarn


  1. Beautiful Nancy! It looks like you are getting this down to a science. It looks every bit as wonderful as any that I have seen your grandmother of great-grandmother make! How long did it take you? Jesus, we trust in you. Bless-bless

  2. Wow, that is beautiful!!! I just bought a rug–it’s square though, kind of like this, because I love the colors!!! What a perfect play rug for Gus!

    How did you get your husband to give up the tees? haha!! My husband holds onto his til they literally are falling apart!!

    Nice to “meet” you Nancy, your baby is beautiful!!!

  3. That is really cute!!

    This is a great article! I found this site Braided Rugs to be good if you are looking for Braided rugs for your home!

  4. Hi! Visiting from Happy Hour Projects. Oh wow! This is AWESOME! I want to make one! Thanks for such an awesome idea!

    If you get a chance I would love for you to share this at my Friday link party.. it just opened! 🙂

  5. Wow! What a fun play place for your son. It turned out so well!

  6. Very,very good idea!!!:)))

  7. this is gorgeous! I have wanted to make one of these rugs for a while now, yours came out beautifully. I hope you will consider adding a photo of this into my new site – SewSet, and on-line sewing pattern and tutorial search engine so others can find it easily!

    Thank you for sharing!
    – Jess, &

  8. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful rug. I have lots of old t-shirts but I don’t know if I have the patience to make one. Thank you for adding this to the Our Favorite Things Link Party.

  9. We loved having you link up to our Strut Your Stuff Saturday! Hope to see you again next week!! This rag rug is so cute!!
    -The Sisters

  10. This turned out great! I knew there was a reason I was hanging on to all those old t-shirts. Can’t wait to try this.

    I would love it if you would share this at the Smart Solutions linky party. You can link up here:

    Have a great day!

  11. This rug is very pretty!

  12. Found you at the My Favorite Things Link up. What a great use for old t-shirts!

  13. I probably need to give up buy craft supplies at some point. The rug is perfect for a playroom.

    If you get a chance I would love if you would link up to my Pin Party.

  14. hello! new follower from favorite things. this is just beautiful! my grandmother used to have braided rugs all over her home… makes me think of her 🙂 hope you’ll come visit me at

  15. Wow! I need to try this with all the t-shirts I have piled up in my “clothing to repurpose” pile!

  16. Wanted to let you know that this post was featured this week on the Our Favorite Things Link Party st My Life’s a Treasure. Check it out here –

  17. This is fantastic – thanks for the follow, too! I am so glad I stopped by…I think this will be my next project 🙂

  18. Do you think mixing fabrics is a definite no-no? I have a huge collection of cast offs but not all are cotton jersey like a tshirt.

  19. nahid hasan says:

    Digital T-Shirt Printing
    Here are at Once Vamped we are a small printing company that believes in
    trying to supply wonderful fashionable t-shirts for a reasonable price.

  20. Lesniak Oriental Rugs says:

    This is a cute idea! I love bright braided rugs!

  21. Hi Nancy,

    First of all: Thank you for being boldly and proudly Catholic. Though I’m not (Catholic), I have become an avid Relevant Radio listener, so have learned a lot about the faith. I now understand the “Jesus we trust in You” response, and felt at home finding that prayer in your first com box. It’s part of the daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy prayer that I pray along with the radio.

    But, what led me to you was a search for T-shirt yarn. Can you tell me what it is and how you go about making it? I found a crocheted rag rug at a Church Rummage Sale this summer that I bought not only for its colors, but for the beautiful texture of the crochet. I noticed at the church that the strips were all edge serged. At home, I took a closer look. The strips have been folded prior to serging, effectively making them into tubes. Each tube is 1/4″ wide, so the strip is approx 1/2″ wide prior to folding and serging. There was some “give” to the strips: I was able to pull a small section of one strand out from the rest so that I could examine it more closely. The “give” made me think that the tubes were made from T-shirts, as plain poly/cotton wouldn’t have as much stretch (IMO).

    What can you tell me about the T-shirt yarn used for the rug you have featured?

    Christine – Mpls

  22. I was wondering if anyone knows of a safe way to sharpen the razor wheels? Lost my job due to open heart surgery and I am trying to make some money to stay afloat. If anyone has any suggestions please reply.

  23. Hi! When you braid, do you braid two strips of T-shirt fabric together, or 3? Pretty rug!

  24. Hi, Nancy!
    I just wanted to pop in to let you know that I featured your rug tutorial on Creative Green Living today!

  25. hi Nancy,am emmanuel from kenya and i really love your crafts(am envious. . . .hahahaha).ok,i needed some help from you and i hope that you will be able to help.I need some crafting ideas for business purpose and with a low start up capital.if you can offer some help,could you please notify me on or on facebook at ‘manuel warboy’

  26. Anne Liv Fritzner says:

    Hi, looks cool! Not sure I get the stitching though – step 3 and 4. Do you lay the braids out in the circle and then stitch across – from one side to the other passing through the mittle, or do you stitch along side each braid and stitch it to the next, and how do you ensure the shape. If you would be so sweet and do an extra explanation for the not so clever 🙂 just so I don’t get started wrong. THANKS

  27. Anne Liv Fritzner says:

    sorry just googled a bit, and now I get it. starting from the mittel. no need to reply

  28. Usually I do not read post on blogs, however I
    wish to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do
    it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, very nice post. recently posted… Profile

  29. My round rug is not laying flat. Any suggestions why? Thank you.

  30. Do cut your loops to make one long strip or leave them intact?

  31. Lovely Share!!

    Making a beautiful mat really a good use of waste t-shirts which increases it value even then also when it is not being worn by anyone. The masterpiece have been shown above is looking awesome with multi shades.


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