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How to Make a Braided Rug and Other Facts About Braided Rugs

How to Make a Braided Rug and Other Facts About Braided Rugs

Posted by CLP on 31st May 2021

Do you want a focal point for your living room that's filled with rich history, sustainable, and easy to DIY or buy online? Whether you love historical housing, want to fill your home with personalized decor, or have strong feelings about sustainable interior design, braided rugs will fill that space for you!

If you've ever wanted to learn more about these historical rugs, now's your chance! We'll review the history of braided rugs, how to make one of your own, and where you can purchase one if making one is too much work.

The History of Braided Rugs

Braided rugs have graced the halls of American houses for a very long time. While the art of the braided rug began with Native American tribes, it moved into colonial houses during the fifteen and sixteen hundreds. The settlers adored the colorful displays and wanted to incorporate them into their own homes, so they adapted the techniques the Native Americans used for themselves.

During the colonial period, women used scraps of wool and other leftover materials from sewing projects to make their braided rugs. This practice continues even to this day in Amish communities, well-known for their craftsmanship in furniture and interior decor.

What Are Braided Rugs Made From?

Braided rugs can be made from a wide variety of materials. The settlers in colonial periods made them from discarded wool, cotton, and burlap leftover from larger sewing projects. Nowadays, braided rugs can get made from yarn, jute, polyester, or other types of fabric.

Regardless of the choice of material, all braided rugs should contain a "core fiber". The rest of the rug gets wrapped around this core, and it's the textile composition of this "core" that determines how you can clean your braided rug if it gets dirty.

How to Make a Braided Rug

Now, let's get down to brass tacks. Making a braided rug is a fairly easy DIY project that can use a ton of old, discarded fabric. It also makes a great family creative project that all of you can do together. Here's how to make a braided rug, step by step:

What You Need to Make a Braided Rug

First, let's discuss the materials you need to make your own braided rug. For basic supplies, you'll need long strips of fabric, ideally from sheets or curtains instead of shirts. You'll also need a ruler, sewing scissors, and safety pins. Last, you'll need some sewing thread in a color that blends in with the colors of your braided rug. (Unless you want it to stand out as a contrast!)

First, Make Sure You Plan for Your Space

Think about how you want to use your rug before you start making it. Do you want this as a centerpiece in your farmhouse living room? If so, you might want to make your rug in the shape of a rectangle. For your bedroom, ovals might be better.

You should also consider the colors you want to use in your rug. While light fabrics can get dyed darker shades, this will add to your project time.

Next, Cut Up Your Fabric

Now, it's time to grab those sewing scissors and get to cutting. Ideally, you want to ensure that they're all around the same width and length. You can use your ruler and a pencil to mark 1-inch notches in the fabric to make it easier for you. Once you've got your fabric cut into strips, you'll want to separate it into three piles and roll the piles into balls.

Start Braiding

You'll need to grab an end piece from each of the three piles for this. Lay the ends over top of each other, then sew them together. Grab your safety pins to secure this sewn piece to something that will hold it steady while you work. Once that's done, start braiding your strips together.

For an oval rug, you can keep this braid going in a long, continuous line that you can coil around itself. For a rectangle rug, you'll make a bunch of separate braids, all around the same length. Then, you'll sew them together.

Sewing the Rug Together

Once you have your braids created, it's time to start sewing the rug. As mentioned above, oval rugs get coiled up like the shell of a snail in one continuous motion. Pin the braids, coil, and keep pinning until keep repeating until you're ready to sew all the coils together.

If you're making a rectangular braided rug, the process is much simpler. All you need to do is sew your braided strips together!

Are Braided Rugs Trending?

The simple answer is, yes! Consumers have started to crave more classic, homemade feels to their home decor. Not to mention, with the current emphasis on sustainability, it's more important than ever to re-use old fabric for new purposes. So, braided rugs occupy a place for both the classic-lovers and the cutting-edge decorators.

Where You Can Buy Braided Rugs

If the process of making a braided rug of your own seems overwhelming, you can always buy one. Where can you find these braided rugs? They exist in online retailers and artisan stores such as Amazon or Etsy, but the best ones will always come from good, old-fashioned furniture stores or local artisans.

Where possible, you should also try to offer your custom to Native American tribes and Amish communities in your area. These braided rugs are better-made and better for the environment than the artificial ones you can get off of the internet.

Are You in the Market for More Country Classics?

Now that you understand how to make a braided rug and a bit more about the history of these classic floor centerpieces, are you in the market for more country classics? If so, then don't hesitate: Browse the Sale and Clearance section of the Country Living Primitives website today! We have a host of hand-made colonial and farmhouse classics ready for discerning customers like you.