The Bane of My Upcycling Existence

16 Aug

A handy step-by-step guide to rag rugging:

Step One: Remove all the t-shirts from your husband’s drawer that are too small/stained/worn out/etc, and cut them into strips.  Make sure they are your husband’s favorite shirts – preferably ones he’s had since high school.  Do this before you tell your husband what you’re up to.

Step Two: Braid all the strips of fabric together, sewing on pieces when necessary to create one big long braided rope of t-shirty goodness  (I had pictures of this, but Zoltar got sick and I lost them all.  You’ll have to use your imagination, I guess).

Step Three: Believe what the nice lady from the youtube tutorial tells you (mainly that coiling your rug into a big circle and then sewing it together with simple needle and thread is easy, fun, and fast).

Step Four: Decide that, after using up three spools of thread, breaking two needles and chipping a tooth (don’t ask…), you haven’t made enough progress to warrant continuing the “simple needle and thread” method, as you’ve only sewed two rounds of the rug together.

Step Five: Find a new tutorial online, this one recommending using a heavy yarn and weaving through the various already braided strands of rug.  Use this tutorial to complete the rug, drink some wine, and call it a night.  Post pictures of your “finished” rag rug on facebook so everyone can see how groovy and hip you are.

Step Six: Put the rag rug at the foot of your bed, leave it there for awhile, and swear at it every time you actually step on it, fully realizing that the “weaving” method was also a fail, and that the rug is not sturdy enough to actually be used as a rug.  Cry.  Call your mommy.

Step Six-and-a-half: Give up entirely on the rag rug, start a new one, this time crocheting it, finish it in an hour, and realize you feel worse, as you now know how easy (and fun!) it *should* be to make a rag rug.

The easy rug

Step Seven: (Hint: if you have been working on your rag rug for any amount of time less than six months, you aren’t ready for this step yet.  Take your rag rug apart a few more times and attempt to put it back together again, each time convincing yourself that *this* time it will work, and will be the most awesome rag rug in the history of all rag rugs).  Call in reinforcements.  I recommend a mom, a delightfully tolerant godmother, and a few bottles of wine.

Step Eight:  Convince the aforementioned reinforcements that rag rugging is totally awesome and fun.  Use your crocheted rag rug as an example of how fun and easy rag rugging is.  Pour them some wine and show them your new plan, yet another online tutorial.  Ignore the comments on this website stating that it is the most difficult, hellish way ever to make a rug*.  You have reinforcements!  You can do it!

*Just in case you’re a masochist:

Step Nine: After spilling a glass of wine, breaking a mirror, and ending up with a tangled ball of knotty death, give up on yet another rag rug assembly method, and suggest to your reinforcements that maybe you should just catch the whole mess on fire and be done with it.  Drink more wine, then, when your husband gets home, tell him your troubles.  Throw something at him when he suggests, gently, that maybe his old t-shirts just don’t want to be a rug.

Step Ten: Coil the braided rope in a circle (much like your original plan, mind you), go to the store, and buy all the bottles of fabric glue you can find.  Dump glue on the rug in thick, heavy glops, not really caring if it actually works, but hoping that by some miracle the glue will create a solid backing for the coils.  If you want, mix some water with your glue so it’s easier to pour on the rug.  If your mom wants to use a paint brush, let her.  Thank your reinforcements for their help, and finish the wine.  Open another bottle (of glue or wine; your choice.  Either one will help).

Step Eleven: When you’ve used up all of your glue and the rug is STILL not sticking together, cut up an old pillow case and glue it to the back of your rug.  Step on the pillow case thoroughly to make sure it sticks in all the little cracks.

the back of the rug after several layers of glue & a pillowcase backing

Step Twelve: When the glue is dry, flip over the rug.  Notice that pieces of the cardboard box you’ve been using as a mat have stuck to the top of the rug.  Use pliers to peel off what you can.  Then, when no one is looking, get out a permanent marker and color over the bits of cardboard you can’t pull off.  No one really looks that closely at rugs, right?

I don't see any marker, do you?

Step Thirteen: Put the rug at the foot of your bed.  Alter your will so the eldest of your unborn children must keep the rug at the foot of her bed forever, or forfeit her inheritance.

Finally Finished!

So there you have it!  The most painful, most awful rag rugging method in all the land, in 13 simple steps.  I suppose I should mention that I started this project thinking it would be fast, easy, and free.  It was none of those things.  The green rug, on the other hand, was all of those things, and I really enjoyed making it.  My mom and godmother have both assured me that at some point the story of this rag rug will be a funny, happy memory.  I’m thinking it’ll take at least ten years.  })i({


2 Responses to “The Bane of My Upcycling Existence”

  1. Julie August 17, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    OMG this is the funniest rag rug story ever!!! As a “reinforcement” person I must add that I had a wonderful, GREAT, time helping with the bottles! (both glue and wine…) 🙂 Very smart move, to add the “backing”, and, I do NOT see even one bit of marker on it! (If it helps any, Happy One, I already think it is a funny, happy memory!)

  2. Brenda August 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    I also have only happy memories of the rag rug adventure! It turned out great by the way!

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