How to Crochet a Rug out of T-Shirts

comments (56) May 31st, 2013     

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CalPatch cal patch, contributor
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Its easy to crochet a rag rug made from strips from old T-shirts.
This is all youll need to make your own upcycled rag rug.
Begin cutting at the bottom hem of the shirt. I cut this part half as wide since its two layers.
Its easy to crochet a rag rug made from strips from old T-shirts.

It's easy to crochet a rag rug made from strips from old T-shirts.

Photo: Cal Patch
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It gives me a thrill to make something new, that's useful and beautiful, out of something old and unwanted. Oversized, corporate logo-ed T-shirts are a plentiful resource at your local thrift store or maybe even in your own closet. One of my favorite uses for them is to cut them into strips and crochet them into rugs, like your grandmother's old braided rag rugs but much easier to make!

You will need:

  • T-shirts (anywhere from two on up, depending on size rug desired), the bigger the better
  • Scissors
  • Giant crochet hook (I used 15 mm)
  This is all you'll need to make your own upcycled rag rug.

1. Cut the shirts into strips, approximately 1 inch wide. Starting at the bottom, cut in a spiral all the way up the body of the tee, and roll the strip into a ball. Stretch it out as you wind so that the jersey curls up into a cord.

  Begin cutting at the bottom hem of the shirt. I cut this part half as wide since it's two layers.
  Wind the strip into a ball as you cut.

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posted in: fabric, home, upcycle, tshirt, rug

Comments (56)

kcisis writes: I SO love these whether made from T-shirts or fabric (or even thin plastic shopping bags--great for muddy back doors) they can take a licking & just get softer with each wash. About 10 years ago I made a heart shaped one for my expected 1st grandchild's birth, I've had nurmerous friends ask for one, but I've since lost the pattern. Does anyone know where I can find one? Internet searches over the years (off & on) have been unsuccessful.
Posted: 7:53 pm on July 25th
Mwknitter writes: Did I miss something? This seems to be a tutorial on how to cut & join Tss shirts into yarn. Where's the pattern for crocheting the rug?
Posted: 3:12 pm on July 21st
whereismybook writes: Hi , was glad to find your blog. The instructions are great ! I have been collecting tee-shirts for awhile now , want to make a tee-shirt quilt. I saw a blog which lost track of that said to use the left over of the tee-shirt to make rag rugs . So I cut a lot of strips. So far I have started my project and have taken it out 3 or 4 times. The 4th time I really didn't to take it because I had spent so many hours on it. Trouble is that I do not know how to add stitches properly, and single crochets have always confused me . I learned how to crochet my making granny squares .I am thinking that I should stick with what I know and just make a huge granny square.They are so much easier because you just count chains and double crochets . Anyhow when I finally do finish a rug will come back and post a picture .
Posted: 11:25 pm on July 24th
EchoLin writes: it is a good way to recycled the old T-shirts. Thank you for sharing this to all of us.
Posted: 2:38 am on March 18th
paintngrl writes: Love the idea of using T-shirts for this project. Nice and soft. If you don't have t-shirts to cut up you can purchase of 2" to 7" wide rolls of fabric so you can start your rug right away. Just go to Ebay and search for Fabric rolls. They are sold by the pound. They are from Mill Ends. When a machine cuts fabric for sheets, curtains and more. The excess is cut off and sold as Mill Ends.

I use the Mill Ends to make crocheted rugs. The more you put them in the washer and dryer the better and softer they are.
My motto" Don't work harder, work smarter

Happy Crafting!
Posted: 10:37 pm on August 11th
Aisles writes: This is something my mother taught me to do. I remember her making one when I was about 5 so that must be over 40 years ago so not something new.

I've been collecting my hubbies T-shirts for a number of years but as we are both car enthustics they end up being cut up for oil and cleaning rags.

Still I do have a couple of crocheted T-shirt rugs from before I was married so they must be at least 20plus years old now. So simply to through into the washing machine then lay flat to dry.

Don't get to hung up on the thickness just take into condiseration who thick you would like the rug to be, what size crochet hook you have at hand. Regard your T-Shirt thickeness like you would your normal crochet yarn thickenss/grade.
Posted: 6:56 am on July 27th
cooproduct writes: Hi there,

This is such a lovely idea with a great set of instructions. Can I ask if you would consider listing some of your ideas for ReUse on our website:

We are a new organisation in the UK who are focusing on packaging reuse and open design. We are currently looking for exemplar projects which really demonstrate how you can turn otherwise waste materials into a new, valuable product. We really love your work and would be delighted if you would share some of it on our site. If you need any further info about this you can email me at: [email protected]

Hope to hear from you soon, or to see one of your wonderful listings with us.

Thank you

Posted: 5:28 am on May 18th
bespokeshirts writes: Your Mens custom dress shirt
are styled to your taste while providing you a fit you are comfortable.
Posted: 8:09 am on September 10th
beester writes: This is great! I don't know how to crochet. The article that led me to this project was about braiding them. Would I still use the same width strips and what would I use to sew them together. Any other advice about the curling aspect or how to do an owal with braiding? also , just out of curiosity, a rough gamble on how many t-shirts it might take for say , a 5x7 oval. Any input would be great. I once started one from sheets but it was far to stiff. This sounds perfect. I can't wait to try. Liz
Posted: 11:52 am on July 6th
Rooty_Tooty writes: This same technique works well with old jeans, too. Denim won't curl the way knit T-shirt fabrics do but it results in a sturdy fabric. There is no need to limit this to rugmaking. The same technique makes great seat covers, placemats, throw pillows & totes, too. The possibilities are as enless as one's imagination.

Also, I have seen these same fabrics (old jeans & T-shirts)used to make braided rugs & accessories, too.
Posted: 1:24 am on November 8th
brbrcat writes: Thanks for this great tutorial. I have started and even used up some thick cotton yarn as well as the tee shirt strips. I recommend blocking as you go. So far I've blocked it twice to keep it flat and even and I'm only about halfway through.

Posted: 2:32 pm on October 24th
kabegg writes: My grandmother would do the same thing with old plastic bag (the thick ones, not the thin ones from Woolies), and make thick, sturdy and non-slip bathroom mats!! :)
Posted: 4:28 pm on October 6th
BBoopgirl writes: Love this idea but no one has mentioned how wide you cut these strips. I need these things spelled out for me...LOL
Posted: 7:52 am on October 6th
KharminJ writes: @ Punkins2 ~

Here's the first page of resources for big crochet hooks:
I Googled "15 mm crochet hooks" -

Happy rug-making!

Posted: 5:39 am on October 6th
sewinggal1 writes: Love it! Now I have a way to make those ratty old T-shirts of my husband's disappear into something useful and decorative! :)
Posted: 10:15 pm on October 5th
MarieKW writes: Hexagons, heptagons, and octagons are all super easy.

Just start your first round with as many stitches as you want sides.

On the second round, put two single crochet stitches in each stitch.

On the third round, start by doing two stitches in the same stitch; then one stitch in the next stitch. Follow this pattern all the way around.

On the fourth round, do two stitches in the first stitch of the first group of two stitches on the previous round.
Then do one stitch in each stitch of the previous round until you get to the next group of two stitches. Do two stitches in the first stitch of the group and repeat all the way around.

You have to make sure to line up your groups of two stitches on every round. Always put a group of two stitches in the first stitch of each group of two stitches on the previous round. The groups of two stitches are what will make the "corners" of your rug shape.

With the hexagon, it may start to curl. To counteract this, on each round use three stitches instead of two at two of the corners. Make sure you rotate which corners you put the groups of three stitches, otherwise you'll end up with
two long sides and four short sides for your hexagon.
Posted: 4:55 pm on October 5th
kayeb writes: Hello chiclu14, it sounds like you need to add more stitches to keep the rug flat - the outside edge must be too small. For a circular rug, increase by making two single crochets, rather than one, in several stitches evenly spaced around the circumference of the rug. For oval rugs, add the extra stitches on the rounded ends. The next few rows should be worked over the existing number of stitches; then do another row with added stitches, and so on until the rug reaches the desired size. Good luck!
Posted: 9:10 pm on July 4th
chicklu14 writes: Hey Everyone!
This is my first ever crochet project! I've gotten started but I'm frustrated because the rug has turned into a big cone! How do I keep it flat?
Thanks for any responses! I'm sure I"m not alone in this problem.

Posted: 4:31 pm on June 27th
Edileusa writes: Olá. Ótima idéia! Mal posso esperar pra começar a fazer. E, com esse projeto, ainda estaremos contribuindo pra diminuir a qunatidade de lixo no planeta, uma vez que utiliza camisetas usadas. Parabéns!!!
Posted: 8:48 am on June 5th
zhopss writes: This idea was really great! I made the oval rug. For the last row I used the reverse crochet for the edge. Also, I have an old surger that won't sew but it now has a new use> cutting the fabric for the rugs.
Posted: 9:54 pm on March 27th
mama3many writes: What a fantastic idea!!
I can't wait to try it.
Posted: 10:28 am on March 24th
Nana47 writes: Brill idea-need to get myself a large crochet hook and have a go at this! :)
Posted: 2:34 pm on March 16th
wakawacki writes: Im excited to do this project. My husbands work t-shirts (tan)shrink all the time and end up in my recon pile. Now I think ill dye a bunch of them and make a rug. thank you so much
Posted: 12:25 pm on March 7th
sophiecai writes: this is a wonderful idea, but i don't know what whould i need a rug for now.....someday if i need one...i'll follow ur tutorial, still thanks for sharing....
Posted: 10:54 am on February 15th
Punkins2 writes: I am about to start crocheting your t-shirt rug. I cannot find a crochet hook as large as you suggested - a size 15mm.

Why is such a large hook needed? And, will I get just as good results with a 9mm or a K hook? Also, would you please give me directions on how to make a square rug?

Thank you
Posted: 1:38 pm on February 4th
tweedlebug31 writes: Just made my first one and posted pic. Turned out very nice and was easier than I thought it would be.
Posted: 11:35 am on October 27th
Valorietx writes: Beautiful...I would love to make a few of these to use in my home since area rugs are getting so expensive. And these are perfect!
But how do you determine the shape of the rug? The round ones are fairly self-explanatory but some of the other unique shapes like the octagon, oval, etc. I have no idea how to make those shapes, please help!
Thanks in advance for any information on this great project and any other "rug" ideas are welcome too. I am in an apartment and they carpet is probably older than I am. They refuse to replace it and I am not going to invest that kind of money in a rental but I definitely need some ideas for inexpensive area rugs.
Posted: 9:23 pm on September 16th
ciara_belle writes: what a great idea - can use old jeans for extra strong rug, or old sheets, and dress shirts..
Posted: 10:31 am on August 3rd
chammer writes: CalPatch.... you are the BOMB!!! Finding you has been a God send. Not only do I love this rug, but the timing is perfect. I had foot surgery about 1-week ago, on crutches, and I am supposed to stay off my feet as much as possible. MUCH easier said than done!!! However, you have given me something fun, creative, and productive to do that will help keep me and my foot where they need to be. Your tutorial is great and just from what little time I've been able to spend on your site I can tell you I look forward to coming back often.

Thanks so very much for sharing....see ya soon!
Posted: 11:33 am on July 25th
ariyarga writes: This looks like so much fun! I need a couple of bathroom mats and this is perfect!
Posted: 12:59 am on June 8th
chips48 writes: What an awesome idea. I'll be doing this for sure.

Have a great day!

Posted: 12:54 am on May 23rd
CalPatch writes: sarsar67: i still haven't finished this rug (shhh, don't tell!) but i can send you a photo of another one if you send me your e-mail address. mine is cal[At]
Posted: 9:14 pm on May 19th
sarsar67 writes: Cal Patch! You are amazing..
just wanted to ask you something..
well could you please please put up a picture (or send me one) of the full rug.. or any rag rugs you have made..
i need it for this art project..
Posted: 12:25 pm on May 19th
silverhawk319 writes: Think i'll do mine granny square style,love the idea
Posted: 1:41 pm on March 11th
Jen1964 writes: I've been crocheting with old bedsheets & cotton shirting, but they give off lint & threads... contemplating braiding, but that takes too long, and you have the extra step of sewing. So far, I've done placemats, a potholder, and a craftbag with pockets (lined with fabric from a shortened dress. Pockets are same stuff.
SO, I like your method of joining sans thread... and will try it next project. And I bet the knitted cotton doesn't "shed" as much. Besides, it's another look.
I've found that the 1 inch material gives a neat larger size, but a 1/2 inch makes another weight of product just as nice. Must have strong hands for this, so I don't do it often or for long. Wouldn't want to aggravate tendon problems or RSI (repetitive strain injuries).
Posted: 10:42 am on February 22nd
Irish_Lass writes: I'm going to round up all my husband's old shirts. This really sounds fun!
Posted: 9:39 pm on February 20th
cynergyplus1 writes: Love this idea! Thanks Cal Patch. My oval bathroom rug was started with a chain of 20 stitches. It took 7 t-shirts (most size XL) to make a rug 39"x 26". I'm looking forward to making more of these in different colors and shapes!
Posted: 7:10 pm on January 28th
BoDyanDSouL writes: what a grate idea, I'm not a knitter, but I could see myself do one of this
Posted: 5:08 am on January 26th
popoagie writes: Wow. This takes me back to my childhood when I used to hook rugs and then to college when I would make rugs for the cold floor with old sheets and other cast offs from the dorm. Using freecycle as a resource, I can see this as being a very green endeavor indeed!
Posted: 7:44 pm on January 25th
Morethanskinsdeep writes: Boy am I glad I found your post! I'm stating a project this summer using my BIL's t-shirts (may he rest in peace) to make quilts, now I can use the backs of those shirts too to make rugs! Oh I'm so excited.
Posted: 12:56 pm on January 25th
shrtcke writes: I love this! I don't really crochet but I know some basics so I will have to try this. Great color shoices! I'd love to see a pic of the whole finished rug.
Posted: 11:34 am on January 22nd
CalPatch writes: hi valorietx! my fave way to start a circle is:

chain 2
round 1: 5 single crochets into the 2nd chain from hook, (do not join)
round 2: into the first single crochet of round 1, do 2 sc, and continue around putting 2 sc in every stitch
round 3: 2sc in first stitch, 1sc in next, repeat around
round 4: 2sc in first stitch, 1sc in next 2 sts, repeat around
round 5: 2sc in first stitch, 1sc in next 3 sts, repeat around

and repeat accordingly until the rug is as big as you want. in general, for every round you will put one additional sc between the increases.

to finish, after my last sc, i do 3-4 slip stitches to blend in to the edge. then finish off.

good luck and happy hooking ;n)
Posted: 1:35 pm on January 20th
sewittoday writes: Such a cool and pratical way to use up t-shirts. I bet you can just throw it in the wash when it gets dirty. I read an article in Sew News about a lady that uses her t-shirts to make cool panties. They are already shrunk, so they are good and broken in. Can't wait to try this super idea. A little rug would look great in my sewing room. Thanks
Posted: 5:01 pm on January 18th
island_girl writes: What a great idea for all those t-shirts that are stained or has lost their appeal.
Posted: 4:17 pm on January 17th
dette writes: Fabulous! no tee shirt will be safe in my house now!! I started a rag rug using rags ie fabric from my stash but it wasn't working as I'd hoped plus it seemed to take masses of fabric for a small piece of work. Thanks for the nifty trick on how to join fabric too.
Posted: 8:12 pm on January 16th
sbmore writes: I've been hording tshirts for a quilt but this looks like more fun and I think a small one would be perfect for in front of my daughter's play kitchen. It's on my official to do (sometime in the next 10 years, maybe) list.
Posted: 8:10 pm on January 16th
Valorietx writes: Can you please explain to me exactly how to get the rug you make a long line of single stitch or what? I guess I'm not sure how to make it start going in a circle.
Thanks for the help!
Posted: 5:34 pm on January 16th
Knittingdoc writes: This is an excellent tutorial for making the rug with tee shirts. I particularly like the large clear pictures. I've always wanted to learn how to join strips using the slit method. Thank you for illustrating it.

David Thomas MD
Posted: 12:09 pm on January 14th
CalPatch writes: hmmm, good question, SewMuch1920! i got about 2 square feet out of an XL men's T, or maybe a little less. it will depend on the thickness of your strips, too...
Posted: 11:08 am on January 14th
SewMuch1920 writes: I hate the feel the polyester bathroom rug when I get out of the shower. Since I outgrew a lot of white shirts, this would be a fabulous way of getting a cotton rug in there. I'd have to put some grippy stuff down though.

How many square inches (roughly) do you think you can get out of each shirt? (say a women's medium)
Posted: 9:36 pm on January 13th
JenniferStern writes: Maybe I should trade my knitting needles (trying to do the mini cardi) for a big crochet hook...great project!
Posted: 7:04 pm on January 13th
Priamanda writes: I have made these with several different materials and adjust the thickness and how wide the strips are cut. I also just learned toothbrush rugs and the two are really similar. I love to use up what would be trash otherwise.
Posted: 5:50 pm on January 13th
IHaveYarnIssues writes: What a great idea! (Thinking to self, and open to others thoughts) I am making a t-shirt quilt for my daughter I wonder if I could use the "extras" this way?
Posted: 4:50 pm on January 13th
Erinzp writes: cool idea-just need to find a big crochet hook
Posted: 4:05 pm on January 13th
FaveCrafts writes: I never would have known that came from t-shirts! What a cool idea. Thanks!
Posted: 4:02 pm on January 13th
croqzine writes: cal patch, you're always good for an awesome project! :)
Posted: 2:47 pm on January 13th
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