Upcycled Rugs Made from Plastic Bags

Upcycling: Creating mats and rugs

First it was vintage, then recycling – now the buzz word on the hipsters’ lips is ‘up-cycling’.  No, it doesn’t mean you have to get on your bike and face those big hills, its all about how to re-use things you would have previously thrown away or dumped in the council recycling bin.   With the evenings drawing in and a chill in the air, it seems a good time to talk about how to ‘up-cycle’ mats and rugs.

Upcycled Bathmat

Well, its autumn, we might not have noticed the summer but autumn is definitely here.  Imagine a steaming hot bath, bubbles galore and gorgeous smelling candles all over the bathroom.  You finish luxuriating in it, grab a cozy towel and step out.  But wait, your feet hit a rather threadbare and stained old bathmat spoiling the mood!  Don’t worry, we’ve got the solution with upcycled rugs.

  1. Take some (clean!) old towels in your favorite colors and get yourself some gridded matting from your local hardware store in the size you would like your upcycled bathmat to be
  2. Cut the towels into finger width to 1 inch strips and about 5-6 inches long
  3. Pull through gridded matting link by link until the grid is completely covered.  Voilà!

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Upcycled Rag Rug

Got a favorite jacket you no longer wear but can’t bear to throw away?  Keep it – it can keep still keep you warm in the winter as braided rug.  All you need to do is:

  1. Discard the lining and take the buttons off (keep them safe for another project)
  2. Cut into strips about 2 inches thick
  3. Iron each strip into 3, width-wise
  4. Take 3 of the strips and sew (either hand or machine) on the bias to lengthen them
  5. Then just plait the pieces together to form the braiding
  6. Interlace (sew) the rug braids together in a circular shape

Now you have a tailored-to-fit braid rug!

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Crochet Rag Rug

If you’re a bit crafty already, you probably know how to crochet.  If not, crochet is easy to pick up and you can find tips on youtube.  This is another variation on a rag rug (see below)but  in this case you don’t need a loom, just a very large crochet hook and an old sheet.

  1. Cut clean sheet into strips about 1 – 1.5 inches wide
  2. Then you simply crochet as if you were making a wool round – it just the size that’s different!

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Plastic Bag Rag Rug

And to finish, this one is a slightly more specialized one, as you will need a loom

  1. To make the ‘parn’ (plastic yarn) cut down the sides of the bags, lay flat and cut into strips about 1.5 inches long
  2. To lengthen the strips put one on top of the other, fold ends about 1 inch in and make a little cut in the fold so both strips now have a hole. Loop them through to create a join without a knot
  3. The warp is the vertical weave that runs through and this needs to be made of cotton rather than parn to give the rug strength, so cut old sheets or old clothes in 1 – 1.5 inch strips and follow the steps in (b) to lengthen
  4. Knot the end of the warp onto the frame and then loop it from side to side on the frame.
  5. Now you simply weave over and under with each new parn strip, making sure to to end each piece in the middle of the weave

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If you don’t have enough old clothes/old sheets etc. at home you can buy them cheaply at your local charity store. Don’t forget old holey jumpers and cardigans can have the wool harvested from them too. For further inspiration for rugs have a look at etsy.com – a crafty website that might make you want to up-cycle your whole life! Finally, after spending quality making time with your rug or mat, you’ll want to preserve its rugged good looks. Why not keep things pristine by using a coir or dirt trapper doormat – you can save precious rug making time by buying a door mat online. To keep things stylish, you can now get coir mats in a wide variety of prints, from leopard to rainbow, via leaves. Here’s to a cozy and colorful autumn. This article was contributed by turtlemat.co.uk.

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  1. I made a loom (like the potholder loom) only much bigger. It’s the right size that strips of old tees can be used just like the little loopers for the potholders. Four of them sewn together makes a nice sized rug.

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