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Braiding rugs is one of the simplest and least expensive hobbies anyone can have. These rugs can be made from old fabric remnants, ruined nylons, scraps of old clothes or even dried grasses. The best part of braiding a rug is being allowed to choose your own colors to fit into the theme being used in the room you are making the rug for. These rugs can be small throw rugs or can even be made into one large enough to fit a room.

To begin braiding a rug you will need to gather the fabrics in the colors you prefer. Decide if you will use bright, dark or neutral colors. Perhaps you would prefer to use a patterned fabric. All your materials should be medium to heavy weight and densely woven. When figuring the amount of material you will need, one yard of 54 inch fabric per square foot of rug is sufficient. Buying remnants by the pound from your local fabric store is a great way to start. You will need about one pound per square foot of rug. You will also need sewing and lacing needles, carpet thread, braiding cones to fold the fabric strips and clothes pins to clip to the braid when you are not working on your rug.

The first step in rug braiding is to tear strips of fabric that are 1 1\4 when using heavy fabrics to 2 1\2 inches when using thinner fabrics, wide along the grain of the fabric. Join the ends of the fabric strips into continuous lengths by placing the ends at right angles and stitching on the bias. For the best results, prepare enough fabric strips for the entire rug. Once the strips are joined, they can be separated by color and rolled into rolls. Now that you are ready to braid, insert the end of three of the strips into braiding cones and slide the cones about a foot along the strip. Join two of the strips with a bias seam, making a T. Attach a vertical strip inside the first two with the single fold of the horizontal strip face up. If you need better tension before you begin to braid you can sew a piece of string to the top of the T and then tie to to a table leg.

Begin braiding your rug by crossing the right strip of the cross bar over the vertical strip and then the left strip over the strip now in the center. While you are braiding be sure to twist the strips so the single fold edge is facing left. As you reach the center of your rug you will notice that the curve is becoming more round. In these turn areas you will need to change your braiding technique a bit. Bring the left strip over the center, then the strip that has become the left center over the new center strip. Then bring the right strip over the center strip and tighten to cause the braid to curve to the right. To begin the center of a round rung use between 6 and 12 round turns and then begin to straight braid.

After you have made the center of the rug, you will want to begin joining the braids with a large needle and carpet thread. You will need a flat surface or table to lay out the rug. Put your stitches through the folds of the inner loops, stopping just past the second turn. Using the blunt edge lacing needle, begin to lace the braids together by working under the inside loops and out to the top of the braids. Skip a loop occasionally on the outer braid to prevent the rug from bucking. Be sure to pull your thread tight. To finish the rug, taper each strip to a point 6 inches long. Fold the raw edges under and stitch, then stitch the points into the matching loop.