Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Crafty Mum: T Shirt Rug

Have a heap of old shirts you don't want to add to the landfill? Upcycle them? There are heaps of ideas. Here's one:

7 years ago my brother moved overseas with a plan to return in a couple of years. And so he left a lot of his belongings in huge plastic storage boxes under the house I was renting at the time. When we moved interstate, he arranged his boxes to be moved from friend's house to friend of a friend's house all around Qld. Finally last year the boxes ran out of a home in Qld and had to move interstate. Thats how we ended up with 36 boxes of my brother's "Stuff". If he ever buys a house he'd be a prime candidate for some Hoarders show. Half of the boxes contain clothes.

Through various moves they have been exposed to sun, heat, cold...etc so some of the shirts are not longer fit to be given away. They are nearly new except sun faded spots. It seemed a shame to throw them away and add to the landfills (especially since it would take my trash bin nearly 3 times over to get rid of all the T shirts)

So what to do with all these half good shirts. My friend, Ms Fork suggested a T shirt Dog toy. But I had hundreds of shirts (and only one little doggie). I could make dog toys for all the pooches in the neighborhood. Had to think big. So I turned, for the first time, to Pinterest. That's where I got the idea for a T Shirt Rug. There are so many variations of the rug from:

Knitted  Rugs
Woven Rugs
Shag/Flokati Rug

Braided rug
With the number of shirts I had I decided to go for the material intensive but super comfy looking Shag or Flokati lookalike rug. The little man also loves resting his face against soft material so I thought he'd really like something fuzzy to burrow into.

I also didn't want to spend too much money on it so no special materials. First I sourced some latch hook matting. I found ebay to be the cheapest (some retail stores which shall remain nameless tried to charge me $40 bucks a meter.. INSANE) I got 2 metres on Ebay for $9 a meter and $2.50 postage. I didn't bother getting a hook having read that a pair of needle nose pliers work better for the T shirt strips. 

Next the shirts. I cut them into 1 by 4 inch strips. 

Then the hooking. Each strip is folded in half, and the looped end is fed through the hole in the hole and back up again. Finally I feed the loose ends through the look and tighten. 

As you can see I did every other hole and offest the rows to get a tight and dense rug. I've seen other crafters do it less dense and the effect is still nice. But I wanted a really shaggy rug.

I had a lot of different colours of shirts but I didn't know how many strips I'd get from my shirts. So I picked the 3 most prevalent colours (red, black and white) and did a flexible geometric pattern. That way if I find I'm running out of a colour I can do bigger squares of the other colours.

The Little Man even comes and helps out every once in a while as a quality control inspector. 

It's still a work in progress. And really does take quite a long time to do. I estimated I'm about halfway through and I've spent about 24-30 hours on it (I measure time in terms of Little Man naps and they are variable). Half the rug used up:

  • 3 man sized red shirts
  • 2 man sized black shirts
  • 2 man sized white shirts
  • 2 ladies sized black shirts
  • 2 ladies sized white shirts
I'll post an update when I finish the rug. 

In the meantime head on over to My Toy Giveaway. Gotta give it away in the next 2 weeks!


  1. wow what anice shart ilike your culuction Your design Hunt is realy ow-some thanks for sharing

  2. Thanks for this wonderful idea - I loved it..

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