Crochet Rug from Repurposed T-shirts

 
 

I’ve seen a lot of crocheted and woven and braided rugs out on the internet; it was even one of the first things I pinned to Pinterest, but I never got around to trying one of my own until now.  I always thought it was going to be difficult, but actually, it’s really quite easy, and no fancy instructions needed!  Here’s how I made my own crochet rug from repurposed t-shirts!

Crochet Rug from Repurposed T-shirts

Step 1.  Acquire fabric.  In this case, I used XXL men’s t-shirts from Goodwill.  Choose t-shirts that are mostly or 100% cotton, and have no or very little print on them, preferably, only above the arm line.  You’ll also want the fabric weight to be fairly consistent, so don’t try to pair up a Hanes t-shirt with a paper thin cotton shirt from BR.

Step 2. Create your yarn.  There are oodles of t-shirt yarn tutorials out on the internet.  Feel free to choose any one of them, or try this one on for size.  Cut the shirt below the arm line and below any print (hence the no or little print rule).  Fold the t-shirt from one side to the other side but leave it about 1 inch short from actually meeting ends – this is your 1 inch allowance.  Now cut the t-shirt into 1.5 inch strips, avoiding the 1 inch allowance.  Thicker strips will give you thicker yarn.  Thinner strips give you thinner yarn.  Don’t cut too thin, or the yarn won’t form.  Open up the shirt to see your 1 inch allowance.  Cut starting from the hem, on a slant, from 1 strip to the next across the allowance – this connects all the strips together.

The basic idea is that the shirt is already in the round, so you’re cutting a continuous strip from the bottom hem up to the armpit.  Actually, remove the hem before cutting – it doesn’t curl well (or, at all).  Once you have the big strip, stretch the strip and allow the knit in the t-shirt to curl in on itself, thus creating the yarn.

Repurposed Rug Using T-shirt Yarn

Step 3. Ball up your yarn.  This is actually pretty important, but once I started to crochet, I realized I twisted the yarn as I balled it, so there was a lot of tension.  I ended up unraveling the whole darn thing before crocheting, which kind of defeats the purpose of balling it up in the first place.  C’est la vie.

Crochet Rug using Repurposed T-shirts

Step 4. Crochet.  I used a single crochet here for a dense weave.  You’ll be crocheting in the round, so start either with a magic circle or the Chain 2 method.  Both are described in this post.  For a quick look at the single crochet, head over to this post, or check out the other crochet tutorials I have!

I used the largest crochet hook I had on hand, which was a size Q and started with 6 SC in the first round, doubled it to 12 in the second round, and slowly increased by multiples of 6 beyond that.  In retrospect, I think I would also try starting with 4, doubling to 8, and then actually counting my way around.

 

1st round: 6 SC

2nd round: 2 SC in each stitch (12 stitches)

3rd round: *1 SC in next stitch, 2 SC in next stitch, repeat from * (18 stitches)

4th round: * 1 SC in next 2 stitches, 2 SC in next stitch, repeat form * (24 stitches) and so on.

Use Old T-shirts to Crochet a Rug

Or, you can be like me and just make it up as you go, increasing as necessary to keep the piece flat.  If the work is curling up, you need more stitches in the round.  If the work is ruffling, you can either take it apart and not increase as many stitches, or do a round with no increases, sort of to bound the problem.  I also tried to alternate where I made the increases so as to keep a circle shape.  I’ve noticed that if I increase in the same spot each round, I end up with a polygon instead of a circle because of the bulge that extra stitch makes.

When you run out of a particular shirt, tie it to the next shirt with a small knot and keep going.

When you’ve come to your desired size, or to the end of your t-shirt stockpile, pull the end through the last loop and pull tight.  Then weave in your ends.

Repurposed T-shirt Rug

Sorry this isn’t a very detailed tutorial, nor is it a class on crochet.  My mind wasn’t really focused last week due to some family issues and this was an easy mind-numbing project!

 

If you’d like to see more UPCYCLED inspiration, check out these projects from my favorite girls, I mean, #MyFavoriteBloggers!

7 Creative Upcycle Projects from #MFB | www.1dogwoof.com

Crochet Rug from T-shirts from One Dog Woof

Rustic Mason Jar Vase from Suburble

Upcycled No-Sew Fun for Kids from Creative Capital B

Wipes Container to Craft Storage from It Happens in a Blink

Fabric Crochet Coaster Pattern from Petals to Picots

Upcycled Newspaper Beads from Do Small Things with Love

DIY Silverware Kitchen Clock from The Benson Street

 
 

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Comments

  1. says

    The blues you choose for the rug look so neat. I have been working on a braided rug from old t-shirts. Since I have been handsewing the rug together it is taking a really long time. I like this idea much better.

  2. says

    So super cool! Love the idea of recycling and creating something new and improved!

    We’d love for you to link up to our new weekly blog hop- photo friday- any of your fav. pictures from any posts are welcome!

  3. says

    Love LOVE this! It looks so pretty with the gradation of colors you’ve used. Thanks so much for sharing! Found you from tater tots and jello.

  4. says

    I love this tutorial!! Thank you so much! I can’t wait to go gather some tshirts now and get started! One question, and you may have already answered it but that’s a lot to read, LOL…what size hook did you use? Never mind…just saw where you already answered that!! Thanks again!!!

  5. says

    I actually went out and bought a crochet hook specifically to follow this tutorial because I love the design. Mine doesn’t look as good as yours, but I’ve only been crocheting for a day, so I don’t expect it to be exactly picturesque. =P

    Thanks for the tutorial; this is just the sort of project I needed.

  6. says

    Yes, how many t-shirts did you use for this rug? I need to make a 4 or 5 foot diameter rug. I love crocheting and can’t find an outdoor run I like. This one is perfect!

    • says

      Hi, I think I used about 12-15 mens xxlarge t-shirts, and the rug came out to maybe a little over 2 feet in diameter. I’m sorry I can’t remember exactly, but because you don’t use the whole t-shirt, each shirt doesn’t go very far, especially as the rug gets larger.

  7. Debbie says

    I love this! I have a bunch of old ones and will now go out and scour thrift shops for more. I have one question though. How wide did you cut the strips for your rug?

    • says

      Thank you Debbie! I think cut the strips around 1.5 inches wide. It’ll depend on how fine you want the crochet to be. I did find that 1in strips rolled up two small, and 2 inches tended to get too bulky to crochet properly. But it’s personal preference!

  8. Melissa Moenkhaus says

    Using the same concept, CLEAN tube socks cut into strips make very hefty potholders! I was given a bag of trim pieces from a sock factory years ago, and made some of the thickest, most durable potholders/hot pads I’ve ever seen. I would recommend using a metal potholder loom instead of plastic. (Likewise, the loom hook needs to be equally strong.) Potholders made from sock strips are stouter & more challenging to work with than nylon potholder loops, but there’s no comparison to the quality of the product!

  9. says

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The words in your content seem to be running off the screen
    in Safari. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d
    post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon.
    Thanks
    mitto 2 recently posted…mitto 2

  10. Ruth Chesick says

    I saved all of my son MATT’S t-shirts – he passed away 5/24/2012. I will be making t-shirt necklaces and I think I will also try this rug.

    I have 2 huge plastic garbage bags of his shirts, so think I will get a lot of yardage from them.

    • says

      I’m so sorry about your son’s passing! But those 2 big bags of shirts will definitely be able to produce something beautiful to honor his memory!

    • says

      Thanks Meghan! I’m waiting for my husband to start discarding tees so I can make a crazy colored one. Although with guys, the colors are all in the grey/green/blue family anyways. Glad I inspired you, and thanks for coming by!

  11. Lady Ukkey says

    I was wondering how you stopped it from folding up? I been trying and mine folds up like goes all crinkled? Thanks Lady Ukkey

    • says

      What do you mean folding up? It’ll all depend on the number of stitches you have in each round. If there’s too few, the rug will curl up. But if there’s too many, you’ll start to see ripples and the edges kind of bunch together. It takes a little experimenting. Hope that helps!

  12. says

    My mom saw this (from the blog hop) and told me that she’s going to start collecting t-shirts to make it. It’s a hit!

    Love this upcycle, ChiWei! :)

    • says

      Aww thanks Tara! I want to collect more t-shirts to make this, but my husband will think I’m a hoarder…he might already think I am one…

  13. says

    Fabulous project! I have a friend recovering from a massive stroke. She’s lost the use of her left side, but recovering. I really think this will be a good project for us to share, to help her have victory!
    Thank You so much for sharing this. ♡

  14. Nfancy J says

    Love this, but need a picture to figure out how to make the diagonal cuts across the 1″ portion that keeps the shirt in oe single strand for crocheting.

  15. says

    It occurred to me while reading this post that, old flannel sheets would also work well for crocheted rugs. In fact, not just flannel but any old sheets or pillow cases. Dang! Now I have to go find our old sheets.

    • says

      They should! I wonder if the sheets would fray as you crocheted, so if you do it, let me know, because I’ve got a lot of old sheets hanging around!

Trackbacks

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