Make a personalised rug from home with this beginner-friendly tutorial

Looking to add a uniquely personal touch to your home? A homemade rug might be just the thing and it’s surprisingly straightforward to do. Here, an expert explains the basics.

Welcome to The Curiosity Academy, Stylist’s new learning hub where you can access workshops, how-to guides, new research and learn the most up-to-date skills from the UK’s most in-the-know people.

The interiors game has definitely stepped up recently. Over the last year in particular, many have realised the huge impact of a well-decorated and welcoming home – thanks in large to the fact that we’ve spent so much time in them. 

We’ve also seen a huge rise in home crafting with a particular intention of creating special, one-of-a-kind interior pieces people really love, from sculpted vases to homemade dinner candles. 

One of the more unusual DIY interiors trends that emerged over the past year is rug-making, as the hashtag #rugmaking had a 418% year on year increase in posts from 2020-21. This interest in making rugs perhaps stems from a renewed interest in tufted homeware and the realisation that creating your own tufted items at home isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

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This is what Beth Joy realised when she started to make and sell her own custom rugs at the beginning of lockdown in 2020. “It became an amazing escape for me to go to my studio and just get lost in there for a while with all of these soft, lovely, colourful things.”

The great thing about making rugs is that you can tailor them to your space, as you can easily adjust the size and proportions of your rug. Here, for The Curiosity Academy, Beth shares her tutorial for making a tufted rug, as well as her tips for making sure you make it the best you can be.

What you’ll need:

The quantities of some of the following equipment will vary depending on the size of your rug but the below amounts are enough to make a rug with the dimensions 50cm x 75cm (about the size of a standard doormat).

  • A tufting gun or a punch needle
  • Fabric pens
  • 50cm x 75cm wooden frame
  • Monks cloth to fit your frame
  • 2kg yarn (in your preferred colours)
  • 1l Styccobond F1 Latex
  • 1 stick of hot glue
  • Glue gun
  • Backing fabric to fit your frame (thick cotton works best – you can use old curtains or a dining table cloth)
  • Carpet gripper (enough to fit around your frame)
  • Spray contact adhesive for rugs
  • Fabric scissors
  • 10m Upholstery tape
  • Paint roller

How to make a rug from scratch

  • 1. Stretch your cloth onto the frame

    Cut your cloth to size using fabric scissors and then stretch it onto the back of the frame so it’s tight (avoid any bagginess). Attach the cloth to the frame using a carpet gripper.

  • 2. Draw your design

    Draw your design directly onto the front side of the fabric. Be aware that if you’re using words or a specific image that needs to be a specific way, you’ll have to draw it in reverse in order for it to be traced the correct way when you add fabric.

    If not, you can freehand the design of your choice – something simple like block shapes or lines is best to start off with.

  • 3. Trace your design with your gun or punch needle

    Thread your yarn through your tufting gun or punch needle – take two balls of wool and feed two strands at once into the tufting gun oryour punch needle to make sure your fabric is thick.

    Start by tracing the outline of your design with your tufting gun or punch needle and then filling the shape and background in. You can experiment with colours as much as you’d like here!

  • 4. Apply latex to secure the wool

    Take a handful of latex and apply it to the back of your rug with a paint roller or a paint brush. Leave to dry for 24 hours.

  • 5. Remove the frame and attach fabric to the latex

    After 24 hours, remove the frame lining your rug. Take your spray contact adhesive and spray a good thick layer across the latex. Leave it to go tacky for about 30 seconds.

    Then, take your cotton fabric, cut it to size and press it firmly onto the latex so it sticks together.

  • 6. Cut off any excess fabric

    To finish the rug, cut off any access fabric around the edge. Leave about an inch of fabric which you can then fold back on itself to neaten up the edges. 

    You can also use upholstery tape to cover up the edges on the back using a hot glue gun.

    You can use scissors to trim the surface of the rug to make it more even but this is down to personal preference – you can leave it shaggier if you’d prefer.

Beth’s tips for creating an Insta-worthy rug at home

Seek out inspiration

Some designs that look great as a print won’t work on a rug and vice versa, so it can be good to create a mood board of the kind of rug designs you like. You can do this online using a site like Pinterest or you can actually go into fabric shops and interior stores to find inspiration.

Limit your colours to start off

If you want to make your design look sharp and crisp, Beth recommends using no more than three or four colours on your rug or it can start to look messy.

Decide what you want from your equipment

A tufting gun is the least time-consuming way to make your own rug but a punch needle works great if you’re trying to create a design that is more detailed. Do some research on the kind of rug you want to create and how each piece of equipment might benefit that to decide which one is right for you.

Mistakes can be fixed

If you do make a mistake, you can usually pull the most recent thread of your rug to undo the previous steps (or the entire rug). Sometimes you may need a kitchen fork if the yarn is stiff but don’t stress too much about making a mistake as there are ways to fix it.

Start small

You can build up to making big rugs but start with a small design if you can because this will help you really get to grips with how to do it and it won’t leave you stressed with the more time-consuming elements of creating a bigger rug at first.

You can read more arts and crafts articles from The Curiosity Academy at Stylist.co.uk.

  • Beth Joy, founder of Beth Joy Rugs

    How to make a tufted rug with Beth Joy

    Beth founded her own rug company in 2020, 7 years after completing her Fine Art degree. She shares her designs on Instagram with over 18,000 followers and creates Reels to show her rug-making process.

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