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Crochet Rug from Repurposed T-shirts

by | All Designs, Crochet, Home

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

102 Comments

  1. April Pendleton

    How do you get it to NOT curl while you are making the rug in rounds… I have tried everything I could think of and it just wont stop curling.
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      If the rug curls, it’s probably because there’s too few stitches in the round. If it flutters along the edge, that means there’s too many stitches. Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Bobbi

        Hello,

        I am wondering about the tension you used?

        Thanks! Beautiful work!

      • ChiWei

        I don’t normally think about tension, to be honest. But in this case, I’d recommend to keep it loose so the rug stays flat.

  2. Claire Springer

    So cute! Recycling old t-shirts this way and making an absolutely different item (a rug in this case) out of them is so clever idea. Thank you for this smart tutorial. Links are great too!

    Reply
  3. Evonne

    Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job.

    I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I’m confident they will be benefited from this site.

    Reply
  4. TessB

    Hi I just stumbled across this and think it’s great. Exactly what I need for my spare room! I am just wondering if you know how many t-shirts you used and approximately how big your rig was at the end?
    Not sure how many shirts to buy, I need a pretty big rug 🙂

    Reply
  5. TessB

    Hi I just stumbled on this post and it is great! Just what I need for my spare room.
    Do you know how many t-shirts you used? And approximately how big your rug was at the end. I have to do a pretty big one and wondering how many t-shirts to buy.

    Reply
  6. Dott Komm

    I made an oval rug like this by starting with a chain of 12 to 15, or approximately 18 inches. If I made it again I would mark the 18 inches as I go, so the increases would be in the circle part of the rug. When I learned to cut the T-shirt my directions said to practice on a plastic grocery bag by cutting off the bottom edge. This was a smart idea as I could see what was going on and how it looked after the cutting. When I wound my “one inch” strips into a ball I kept the strips flat. As I crocheted, it curled just right. I did keep turning the ball to keep the strips straight. When I added the next ball I overlapped the strips about an inch or so and sewed them with a needle and thread rather than tying them. With strips an inch and a half you don’t tie a small knot. There is also a lot of lint as you make this rug, but it was fun.

    Reply
  7. secondhousegreen

    wow – beautyfull rug, I am also using cotton for my rag rugs

    Reply
  8. LeRae

    Hi ???? I just started making this rug and there are a lot of spots where you can see the seam of the tee-shirt (where it’s sewn together on the sides). I don’t see any seams in your rug. Did you notice this was an issue or am I maybe doing something incorrectly?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      I do see the seam occasionally, I just ignore it 🙂

      Reply
      • LeRae

        Thanks ????

  9. Nancy

    Love your choice of colors!

    Reply
  10. Bev

    Can you explain how you did stripes without the “jog” or “seam” of the color change showing? I’m assuming you crocheted in a spiral rather than joining each round since I don’t see a seam from that. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      Hi Bev, there are jogs where the color changes – you can see it if you look closely. 🙂 I just ignored it kept right on truckin’.

      Reply
  11. Shine

    How many tshirt did you buy and Wht diameter is it

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      I bought 15 of the largest Mens tshirts I could find. The rug is about 2 feet wide.

      Reply
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    Reply
  13. Eliza

    I love these colors! I have a whole stash of old t-shirts that I’ve been trying to cut up for ages (I have two boys under age 3 and lots of distractions!), intending to make a rug of my own. Seeing yours is inspiring me to get back to it! Thanks!

    Reply
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  15. Asa

    Body jewelry has never been in such high demand.

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    Reply
  16. Pam

    This is great! I do it with my old clothes, i have two young boys and the accumulation of shirts is not stopping. 😉

    Reply
  17. Harvey Lee

    Nice article! You shared such a great idea to Repurposed old t-shirts or any clothes. Your crochet rug is amazing. I definitely gonna make one for through your instructions. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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