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How to Make a Mug Rug

Claudia has been quilting for almost 30 years and writing about it for more than six. She has won a number of awards for her work.

Learn how to make a batik mug rug with this easy tutorial.

Learn how to make a batik mug rug with this easy tutorial.

What Is a Mug Rug?

Mug rugs are cute mini quilts that are a cross between a coaster and a placemat. Usually about 5" x 7", they are just the right size for a coffee mug and a snack. They are the perfect homemade gift for friends and family, especially those who love their coffee and tea. Mug rugs also add a nice decorative touch to a coffee table or make a pretty protective coaster for a side table.

Use this step-by-step guide to make your very own mug rug, or get creative and design your own.

For all of you diehard quilters, this is a perfect fabric stash buster.

Supplies Needed

  • Fabric - 100% cotton, pre-washed and pressed
  • Batting - Use a low loft
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Needles
  • Cutting board
  • Rotary cutter
  • Quilting ruler

Easy Pattern

This is a fun and easy pattern that anyone can follow. Use fabric scraps you have on hand, or buy a special fabric collection. Any colors will do.

Note: This pattern is sewn using a 1/4" seam. The finished size is approximately 5" x 7".

Step 1. Choose the Fabrics

For this pattern, you will need three fabrics.

Changing fabrics really changes the look of a mug rug. The photos above show three different color schemes. The first is a bright summer-like scheme, the second has richer tones, and the third one is in earthier tones.

While you do not need large amounts of fabric for this project, you will need one piece that is large enough to be cut to 7" x 9".

Cut out all of the fabric pieces you will need.

Cut out all of the fabric pieces you will need.

Step 2. Cut

Cut out the fabric pieces listed below.

Use a rotary cutter, quilting ruler, and cutting mat for easy and precise cutting.

Yellow fabric:

  • 2 - 4" squares
  • 1 - 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangle

Pink fabric

  • 1 - 4" square
  • 2 - 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles

Blue fabric

  • 1 - 4" square
  • 2 - 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles
Form the half square triangles.  Note the drawn diagonal line and the seams sewn on each side of it.

Form the half square triangles. Note the drawn diagonal line and the seams sewn on each side of it.

Step 3. Create the Half Square Triangles

To get the triangle and square shape of the pattern, you'll need to:

  1. Place one yellow square and the blue square, right sides together, so that they are lined up perfectly.
  2. Do the same with the remaining yellow square and the pink one.
  3. Take a marking tool and a ruler and draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other.
  4. Using a 1/4" seam, sew on both sides of the drawn line.
Cut on drawn line.

Cut on drawn line.

Step 4. Cut the Triangles

Cut the fabric on the drawn line. You end up with four half square triangles.

Press the triangle squares.

Press the triangle squares.

Step 5. Press

Press the squares. For ease of sewing, press one of the half square triangles towards the yellow fabric and the other one towards the pink fabric. Pressing like this will ensure that the seams nestle together when piecing them.

Trim the half square triangles to size.

Trim the half square triangles to size.

Step 6. Trim to the Correct Size

Using this method to make half square triangles makes a larger square than you will need for the pattern. Because of this, you will need to trim down the squares to the required size.

Using your quilting ruler, trim all of the half square triangles down to a 3" square. Use the diagonal seam as a guide.

Lay out the fabric pieces in the desired pattern.

Lay out the fabric pieces in the desired pattern.

Step 7. Lay Out the Squares and Rectangles

Once the half square triangles have been trimmed to size, lay them out in the desired pattern.

Sew all of the pieces together.

Sew all of the pieces together.

Step 8. Sew

Sew all of the pieces of fabric together. Start by sewing the half square triangles together and then the rectangles. Remember to always use the 1/4" seam.

Cut the backing and the batting.

Cut the backing and the batting.

Step 9. Cut the Backing and the Batting

Cut the backing fabric of your choice in a 7" x 9" rectangle. Cut a piece of batting in the same size. This is larger than the approximate finished size of the mug rug. Cutting the larger pieces allows for shifts and shrinkage during the quilting process.

Step 10. Layer the Pieces and Quilt

Lay the backing fabric on the table, right side facing down, then place the batting on top. Lastly, lay the pieced top on the batting, right side up.

Using your machine, quilt in any design you choose. In the photos above, the bright summer mug rug was quilted along the seams. The richer-toned example was quilted along diagonal lines that were marked on the top. The earthy-toned example was more heavily quilted using the sewing foot as a measuring guide.

Trim off all of the threads on the front and the back.

Using your ruler and rotary cutter, trim off the batting and backing around all four sides.

Bind the mug rug.

Bind the mug rug.

Step 11. Bind

Binding is made from 2 1/2" strips of fabric. Using the same technique used to bind a full-size quilt, put binding on the mug rug.

Step 12. Admire Your Finished Product

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a couple of cookies, and enjoy your new mug rug!

What to Do With Your Mug Rug

Mug rugs are perfect for:

  • Nursing home gifts: Brighten up a dreary nursing home room with a cheerful pattern.
  • For the guy who has everything: Choose his favorite sports team colors so he has a place to put his beverage.
  • Teacher gifts: Have your children help make a set of four. It will make a unique and heartfelt gift.
  • Coffee or tea lovers: Include a mug rug or two in a gift basket to add a homemade touch.
  • Seasonal decoration: To add a little seasonal charm to any room, use holiday-themed mug rugs for every occasion.

© 2013 Claudia Porter


Claudia Porter (author) on February 20, 2013:

I always appreciate your angels pstraubie. Thanks for commenting and enjoying the hub. Have a great day.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on February 19, 2013:

These are so cute, Glimmer Twin Fan. As I was reading I kept thinking they look like mini-quilts and then got to the section where I saw quilt. I am not at all surprised since you do so much with quilting. The step by step directions give a great model to follow to make these.

Thanks for sharing

Sending Angels your way :) ps

Claudia Porter (author) on January 26, 2013:

Hi Marcy - Thanks for reading this hub. This is a fun project and easy too. Have fun sewing!

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on January 26, 2013:

Super cute! I love the look here! And very helpful instructions - even I could do this!

Claudia Porter (author) on January 26, 2013:

Thanks so much for all of the support Rajan! I appreciate it.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 26, 2013:

Very educative and with excellent photos, GTF. It really seems simple to make but I know you made it appear so. Thanks. Voted up, useful and awesome. shared too.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 23, 2013:

Thank you Movie Master. These are such a quick and easy little craft and they are fun to have around the house. Hope you get a chance to make one.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on January 23, 2013:

I didn't know what a mug rug was - what a fabulous idea, this is something to make on a cold snowy evening.... maybe later!

Thank you and voted up.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 16, 2013:

Thanks Michelle! Your Mum will have a good time making them. They are lots of fun. I appreciate the support!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on January 15, 2013:

Glimmer, this is a wonderful idea!! I'm not too good with sewing, but I will pass this on to Mum, who is a wonder at it. These are beauties. Thanks for sharing!! Passing these lovely rugs on.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 14, 2013:

Thanks teaches! I think they would be great in Christmas colors and patterns. A year gives you a lot of time to finish them too. I appreciate the comments.

Dianna Mendez on January 13, 2013:

What a clever idea! I know some who would really appreciate these as they host a lot of get togethers. I don't think I have the time right now to make these, but maybe a few over the year before Christmas comes around again. Thanks for sharing. Voted up++

Claudia Porter (author) on January 13, 2013:

I appreciate it kmaskreations! These brighten up those dark television rooms (at least mine is dark). I think they are fun in sports team colors.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 13, 2013:

Eileen - You are right, this is a good beginner project. It does not take a lot of fabric or time and a finished product is always inspiring to beginners. Thanks for commenting.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 13, 2013:

Hi Nell - I hope you give it a try. Go crazy with fun colors and brighten up these cold winter days right now. Thanks for visiting.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 13, 2013:

Thanks so much Mary Merriment. These take no time. Use up scraps to make it even quicker. I appreciate the comments.

kmaskreations on January 12, 2013:

Thanks for sharing this mug rug hub :) I'd never heard of them and love the idea. It's just what we need while snacking and watching TV in the den.

Eileen Hughes from Northam Western Australia on January 12, 2013:

This would be a great starter for a slow learning quilter. I think I might be able to do this to get me started down this track. thanks for this step by step guide.

Nell Rose from England on January 12, 2013:

I love these! so clever, and after reading and looking at the photos I may give it a go! I remember years ago making a box in a similar way, with cardboard to keep the sides up, voted up!

Mary Roark from Boise area, Idaho on January 12, 2013:

These are super cute. I know a few people who would love them. I need to use your instructions and get busy! :o)

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2013:

Thanks joanwz. I'm glad you are going to try this. It is a lot of fun and a great way to use up scraps.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2013:

Thanks so much Rosie writes! They brighten up my living room on these dark winter days here. I appreciate the comments and shares.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2013:

bdegiulio - Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I enjoy doing projects like this, of course they are not as much fun as travelling.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2013:

Hi Natashalh - I thought the title might either interest people or turn them away. Glad you checked the hub out. It's a fun little project.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2013:

Thanks DzyMsLizzy! A project like this is so quick and easy you could get back into sewing for a short time. But I understand sewing burnout. Sometimes I need a break too.

Joan Whetzel on January 12, 2013:

I've never heard of these before. What a clever idea. I'll have to try this one out.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2013:

Thanks so much RTalloni. They are great fabric stash busters. I want to do some in color families. I think they would be pretty too.

Claudia Porter (author) on January 12, 2013:

Hi Bill - Thanks so much for stopping by. I like these easy projects that can be done in a short time. I appreciate the support.

Audrey Surma from Virginia on January 12, 2013:

Beautiful pictures and I love the bright colors you chose in the mug rug you made in this hub. Voted up and pinned!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on January 11, 2013:

I was definitely curious to see what a mug rug was. What a great idea. Learned something new today. Great job.

Natasha from Hawaii on January 11, 2013:

I saw the title and was a little confused - how can someone make a rug out of mugs? As soon as I looked at the hub I thought ooooohhhh. Cool idea and great instructions!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on January 11, 2013:

I've done needlepoint mug rugs on plastic canvas, but these are pretty. However, I've never done looks like too much for me. I'm not that "into" sewing anymore. I did it for years when my kids were little, and got pretty burned out. Now, I mainly use the sewing machine for making repairs.

Voted up, beautiful and interesting.

RTalloni on January 11, 2013:

Thanks for posting this versatile project with the clear how-to guide! Mug Rugs would indeed be a super way to use up those extra fabric pieces. All of your ideas for using them are I'm thinking personalized sets, with cookie recipe cards, of course. :)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 11, 2013:

I had to read this just to find out what a mug rug was. Now I know. :) very cute and clever for those with any talent at all...which leaves me out.

Have a great weekend my friend!