How to Make a Braided Rug

DIY Rag Rug Craft Tutorial

When she is not playing Frog Ball or snacking on waterlily bulbs, Ella Toad can often be found stitching patchwork quilts and new clothes to share with her friends. She always makes sure to save her fabric scraps, just in case she can think of something industrious to do with them. One fine spring morning after her dip in the lake, Ella was perusing her sewing stash when she thought of the perfect project: a braided rag rug!

Ella kindly showed us how she made her rug, so that you can make one too. Here's how:

 What You Will Need
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • A needle and thread
  • An iron (optional but very helpful)
Ella chose three fabrics with golden tones that she thought made a nice color story, and one dark navy fabric for contrast. If you don't have a stash of sewing fabric lying around like Ella does, don't rush out to the store just yet! This is the perfect project to give some tired textiles a new life – old t-shirts, sheets, or dish towels would all work. You could even experiment with dyeing fabric fun colors at home.

Start by cutting your fabric into strips. They should be fairly long, but not so long that they get tangled when you start to braid – you will need to add new strips as you work.
Since we were using woven fabric, we folded the raw edges in towards the center and pressed them with an iron, then folded the strip in half and pressed again. This way the raw edges are sandwiched in the middle and less likely to unravel. If you are using a knit fabric (such as a t-shirt), you can skip this step. 
    Pin a safety pin at one end of each fabric strip. This will help you pull them through the braid to weave the rug together.
    Stack three strips and sew them together with a few stitches at one end to make the base of your braid.
    Use a piece of tape to hold the base in place while you start braiding. Braid a short distance first to create the core of your rug.
    If you have never braided before, watch this video tutorial to learn how!
    Next take one strip of fabric, poke it up through your braid from underneath, and pull it tight.
    After this step, it should look like this: 
    Turn your braid around so that the base is facing you. Now you will be braiding in the other direction. Braid a little bit more:
    Then thread one strip of fabric up through the core braid, pulling tight just like before. 
    Braid a bit more, and it should look like this: 
    Next, poke a strip of fabric up through the braid near the stitched base:
    Pull it through tightly, then braid a little bit more. The braid will curve around and start working in the other direction again. Thread a strip of fabric through the main rug again, and keep braiding. 
    That is pretty much all there is to it! Braid a little bit, thread one strand up through the outermost ring, and repeat. As you work, your braid will curve around and around to form the rug. 
    When you reach the end of one fabric strip, sew on a new strip with a few quick stitches. You can see that we swapped the plain goldenrod for the dark navy in the photos below to start adding some contrast. Play around with changing up your colors to create a pattern! 
    You can make your rug as big or small as you would like. We found that using a darker color around the outside edge creates a nice effect.
    When you have decided your rug is big enough, sew the ends of the braid together. Tuck the braid end underneath the edge of the rug and sew it to the underside.  
    You may find that your rug is a bit wonky at this point, perhaps forming a bowl shape rather than lying flat. To remedy this, press it with an iron and plenty of steam, then let it sit until it cools. (If you don't have an iron, you could try spritzing your rug with water and putting some heavy books on top of it.)
    At the last minute we decided to thread one loop of navy fabric at the very center of our rug, to help tie the pattern together: 
    And then it was done! 
    Ella was pleased as punch with her new braided rug. "This will fit right in with my decor!" she declared. Nice work, Ella! 

    Did you make this craft at home? Send us a photo or tag us on social media @hazelvillage! For any questions, please email us at 

    You might also like:

    A Tour of Hazel Village
    Cozy Blanket Craft 
    Lore FAQ Part One