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How to Make "Shag" Rag Rugs: Easy Step-by-Step Instructions

I've been making rugs for several years. They're a great way to use up fabric scraps!

"Shag" rag rug

"Shag" rag rug

Turn Fabric Scraps and Old Clothes Into Fun, Shaggy Rugs

I started making rugs several years ago when, as the homeroom mother, I needed a class project idea for my daughter’s school auction. Rugs can be made from the leftover fabrics (e.g., used and outgrown clothing) that everyone has in their home, so the initial cost is small—and the end product can be very beautiful!

This idea is very appealing to members of the "green revolution" as well as the more frugal among us. In my opinion, "shag" rag rugs are the easiest of all rugs to assemble—plus, you can find a place for every piece of leftover scrap in your fabric stash.

Materials List

All you need to complete this project is the following:

  • Assorted scrap material
  • Monk's cloth
  • 1-inch wide hem tape
  • A blunt, large-eyed tapestry needle

I also put a backing on my rugs made out of duck cloth so they appear more finished, but some people disagree with this idea. The concern is that the backing traps dirt in the rug, causing it to break down more quickly.

Step-by-Step Instructions

These easy rugs make a great project for adults or kids, though they're time-consuming to complete.

Step 1: Prepare and Hem Your Cloth

To begin, cut the monk cloth in the desired size of your rug plus 1/2 inch on each side. Fold the hem tape in half and sew it to the edge of the monk’s cloth. This will prevent it from raveling.

To hem, fold the hem taped edged monk’s cloth in 1/2 inch and sew on each side.

Step 2: Cut the Fabric Into Strips

Next, cut the assorted fabric into strips 1 to 1.5 inches wide and about 6 to 12 inches long, depending on how "shaggy" you want your rug to be. Don't worry if the length varies slightly. This gives the rug some diversity.

Tip: I use pinking shears to cut the fabric so my strips won't ravel so much, but others prefer the raw edges, saying it provides a more homespun look.

Step 3: Add Your First Strip

To assemble the rug, thread a strip of fabric through the eye of the needle. Starting at the center of the monk’s cloth, attach the strip to the backing by inserting a small stitch.

Both ends should be in the front of the monk's cloth. Even them up and tie them in a knot.

From the front, even up the strip's edges and tie them into a knot.

From the front, even up the strip's edges and tie them into a knot.

This is what the back of the cloth looks like with most of the strips inserted.

This is what the back of the cloth looks like with most of the strips inserted.

Step 4: Add the Rest of the Strips

Go on to your next strip. Mix colors randomly. Fill the entire rug with strips, densely covering and backing and making sure none of it shows from the front.

Tip: I usually include 3 weaves of monk's cloth in my stitch and then skip 3 weaves before I make another stitch. I work from the center to the edge, skipping 3 weaves between rows.

Step 5 (Optional): Add a Duck Cloth Backing

When finished, cover the back with duck cloth, if desired.

How to Keep Your Rag Rug Clean

Dirt will break down the fibers in your fabric, so shake your shag rag frequently to remove loose dirt. Hand wash or place in the washer on a delicate setting. Hang to dry.

Enjoy many years of use of your one-of-a-kind shag rag rug!


AnnRandolph on February 04, 2014:

3 to 4 months.

jhgfdfrd on February 04, 2014:

Wait, three-fourths of a month or three to four months?

AnnRandolph (author) on November 05, 2012:

SportStar13 -It should take about 3/4 months to complete if you work on it about 4 hours a day.

SportStar13 on November 04, 2012:

how long will this awesome rug take if i do a 4by 6 rug

AnnRandolph (author) on September 19, 2012:

curtain material would be fabulous! I'm currently using curtain material in a rug. Go!

Julie Underwood on September 19, 2012:

could I make one using curtain materiel. Can't wait to get started.

AnnRandolph (author) on July 24, 2012:

Absolutely! That would be beautiful!

r4ryder on July 24, 2012:

Can you use linnen fabric?

AnnRandolph (author) on May 15, 2012:


You are welcome. Thanks for reading!

BEA21 on May 15, 2012:


AnnRandolph (author) on May 02, 2012:

Anne Mil,

I use 8 count Monk's Cloth. Hope that helps!

Thanks for reading!

Anne Mil from Florida on May 02, 2012:

Have wanted to do this for years! Thank you so much for the instructions. I do have one question--what size Monk's cloth did you use? Since I have to order off the internet, I need to know size for regular cotton material.

AnnRandolph (author) on April 07, 2012:


Would depend on the size and the type of fabric you want to use. Let me know

steph on April 07, 2012:

how much would you charge to make one because i don't have the time but love this idea

AnnRandolph (author) on January 05, 2012:

Better Homes and garden has a sample of shag rag rugs and they recommend ribbons in one and denim in another. You are right on! have fun!

Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on January 04, 2012:

I've been wanting to do this for some time. Right now I am working on an overdue mosaic project, and when I'm done with that, this is the next thing on my list! You have inspired me. I can envision a rag rug made with denim strips, one made with silk ribbons, and one made with strips from old tee shirts, (and one made with a mix of all that)! Thanks!

AnnRandolph (author) on January 04, 2012:

Denim is wonderful to use for this type of rug. It is long wearing. This rug would last forever. I saw an example of a denim shag rag in a rug making book that was used with red and white fabric.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on January 04, 2012:

This is an excellent idea - I have a lot of clothes from my boys that are too worn to donate, but I could make a rug out of them! Do you think old denim would work, or would it be too stiff?

AnnRandolph (author) on January 04, 2012:

My dog has inherited this rug as well. He loves the fluffies.

Arlene V. Poma on January 04, 2012:

Thank you for your Hub. I was trying to think of a rug to make for my old beagle dog. I'm sure he will appreciate a rug like this. Voted up and everything else. Bookmarked, too.

AnnRandolph (author) on January 04, 2012:

I also pick up fabric at thrift stores, consignment shops etc. in order to get the color of fabric I want. Yard sales are good for this as well. Thanks for reading.

hecate-horus from Rowland Woods on January 04, 2012:

Ok, this is an AWESOME IDEA. I hate throwing out old clothes, so normally I use them for rags...but I always felt like I should make them into something. Love this idea!