How to Crochet a Rug out of T-Shirts
It gives me a thrill to make something new, that's useful and beautiful, out of something old and unwanted. Oversized, corporate logo-ed T-shirts are a plentiful resource at your local thrift store or maybe even in your own closet. One of my favorite uses for them is to cut them into strips and crochet them into rugs, like your grandmother's old braided rag rugs but much easier to make!
You will need:
- T-shirts (anywhere from two on up, depending on size rug desired), the bigger the better
- Giant crochet hook (I used 15 mm)
1. Cut the shirts into strips, approximately 1 inch wide. Starting at the bottom, cut in a spiral all the way up the body of the tee, and roll the strip into a ball. Stretch it out as you wind so that the jersey curls up into a cord.
When you reach the armpits, cut right across the seams until you reach the edge of the sleeves and can't cut continuously anymore. I also cut part of my long strip into some shorter ones so that I can play with the colors.
2. Join the strips. If you're working with long strips wound into balls, you can just overlap the two ends for a few inches when you're ready to join on a new strip or to change colors. But if you want to join lots of short strips for quick color changes, you'll want to join them first so you don't have to keep stopping. Here's how I do it: Cut a small slit in the ends of the two strips you want to join, about 1/2 inch from the end and about 1/4 inch wide.
Overlap the two ends, lining up the holes, as shown.
Now take the long tail of the strip whose end is on top, and pull it through both holes from underneath.
Keep pulling until the entire strip has gone through the hole and give a final tug; you should have a join that feels nice and smooth and not like a knot.
3. Ready to crochet? With the jumbo hook, begin working with your homemade yarn into whatever shape you'd like—round, oval, or rectangular. I recommend single crochet for a solid, sturdy fabric, but you can try other stitches, too. Allow the strips to curl up and twist as you work to make a thick, durable rug. You'll find it can be a little more physically challenging to work at such a large gauge, but the reward is how quickly the piece will grow when your stitches measure 3/4 inch across!
It takes a lot of tees to make a decent-sized rug, but don't worry—there's no shortage of them! And for once, making a dent in this resource is actually good for the planet.