Saturday, September 18, 2010

Project: Bag Rag Rug

A bag rag rug is a quick and easy project that makes use of some of those pesky plastic bags full of plastic bags that you may have around. It takes the simple old technique for making a rag rug, and puts it to use on a modern problem- too many plastic bags.


  • a big bag full of plastic bags
  • rotary cutter/scissors
  • cutting mat
  • sewing machine (or more patience than I have)

A quick note: in this tutorial I used several thicknesses of bags, because I wanted the different colors. However, the changes in thickness made the rug bunch up a bit during sewing, and I had to set it under my cutting mat with a heavy toolbox on top for a day or so to make it flatten out. I would recommend only using one type of bag, preferably the thin grocery store kind.

First, cut the bags as shown, removing the handles and the bottom, then cutting strips across the width of the bag so they make loops. You can make the strips whatever width you want. Mine were around 3" on these thin bags and about 1 1/2 on the thicker bags.

You do not have to cut all of your bags at the beginning. It does get tedious. I cut a big batch, then would take breaks when I ran out to do another batch.

Take three strips, and clip or tie them together at the end. I chose not to tie them so there would not be an extra bump in the rug. Try to make the ends staggered, so they are slightly different lengths.

Braid the three strips together as if braiding hair, leaving an inch or two at the end.

You will need to attach the next strips as follows:

Pull the new strip through the loop of an original strip

Pull the second end of the new strip through the end which is sticking out of the original strip

Carefully pull tight. These strips of plastic are very fine and will easily rip if you apply too much pressure.

Repeat these steps for all three strips and continue to braid, adding on each time you reach the end.

If you staggered the lengths of the strips in the beginning, each knot will be in a different spot, avoiding a large bump in a single location.

Once you get into the rhythm you will find a way to keep the rope tight. Some people will tie the end to a chair or something, but this may not work well due to the length of the rope.

I began by stepping on the rope as I went, and when it got really long I just sat back on the couch and used my toes to feed the rope along! My fiancée thought this was hilarious.

When you feel like you have enough rope to make a rug, or you get bored with braiding, you can start to sew your rug. Of course you can do it by hand, but I chose to use my sewing machine.

Lay the beginning end of your rope down flat with the clip removed. I made this initial section of rope about 7" but it doesn't really matter. Curve the rope back closely beside the initial section, covering the loose ends when you wrap it around.

Continue to wrap the rope around itself, being sure it is laying flat at all times, and sew it to itself with a zigzag stitch.

If the rug is not big enough, remove it from the sewing machine and keep adding more strips until it is!

When the rug is the size you want, and you have almost sewed to the end, wrap the loose ends under (on the same side the loose ends from the beginning are on) and sew straight across them with a straight stitch, to the edge of the rug. Then, back stitch over it again for strength.

You can cut off any remaining loose ends, and your rug is complete!

Remember, if the rug bunches up at first you can put it under something flat and heavy to flatten it out more.

Finally, submit your project for inspection! This project is Dinah inspected and approved.

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