Make a new area rug with $10 and 10 minutes

September 22 | Guest post by Amy

Puzzle rug

We are apartment-dwellers, which means we have shitty carpet. Maybe some apartment managers put in nice, expensive flooring that looks awesome after ten years, but our landlords didn't. After ten years of parties, dogs, and one wild child, the carpet in our place is spotty, threadbare, and wrinkled in places.

When we made over our eight-year-old's room recently, one thing we really wanted was a big area rug. Unfortunately, rugs are expensive. Lucky for us (and you), making a rug is easy and cheap!

We bought our materials at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. These outlets sell used and remaindered home improvement supplies, as well as furniture and house wares, and the profits benefit Habitat for Humanity projects. They have locations throughout the US and Canada and keep usable home improvement supplies out of landfills. Score! If you don't have a ReStore where you live, you can probably find carpet remnants for sale on CraigsList or at a thrift store.

Our ReStore had about a dozen small rolls of carpet for $10 per roll. They varied in size a bit, but most of them were about 10 feet wide. There wasn't much variety in color, but the styles varied from stiff, short, flashback-to-elementary-school carpet to thick shag. Since we wanted a rug for The Kid to lounge on, we chose our carpet based on feel more than look. This beige carpet isn't the prettiest, but it feels nice and cushy.

At home, we rolled out the carpet upside down, sketched a shape on the underside with a marker, and cut it out with a utility knife. Remember to put something under the carpet when you're cutting, so you don't slice into the floor underneath. We wanted to cover as much of the old carpet as possible, so we just rounded off the corners of our carpet sample, but it would be fun and easy to make flowers, splotches, stars, or whatever other shape you have the dexterity to cut out.

We were surprised to find a smaller piece of the same carpet rolled up inside the larger roll. We cut that into a smaller rug that fits together with the big rug like a puzzle piece.

Alice

We were concerned that the edges might unravel, so we carefully trimmed all the dangling threads. After several weeks, I see no loose threads or unraveling.

And, as you can see, The Kid is pretty fond of her new lounging spot. This turned out to be such an easy, inexpensive project! We'll be making a larger rug for the living room next.

  1. That's a great idea! It might even be fun to have a stack of them in different colors so that you can create an instant room change or have little lounging areas on hard floors.

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  2. When we were kids, our rental house was carpeted with a patchwork of carpet samples. I have a distinct memory of lying on my stomach on a squishy shag rectangle with my toes scratching in the short bristles of the sample behind me.

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    • I've always wanted to do that. Maybe I will for my little one's room. Textures are a THING for kids..right?

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      • I bet your kid would love it. My brother and I each had a favorite piece to lie on while we watched TV.

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  3. In case the edges start to unravel, apply some clear nailpolish! (Or glue, whichever you've got at hand.)

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  4. I'm so glad to read that this worked. I had wondered about making a rug out of carpet since large rugs are stupid expensive, but I was afraid the edges would unravel and get little carpet pieces everywhere. Now I have no excuse for my cold, bare, and horribly ugly basement floor.

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    • I do see a few little carpet pieces if I go a week without vacuuming, but nothing unmanageable. And I bet the idea mentioned above of using glue or clear nail polish on the edges would take care of that problem.

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  5. Awesome and clever. Hell, the furniture stores should start doing this themselves, I bet they'd offload a lot more remnants that way.

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  6. This is brilliant. I'd love to stack them to make it look like a topographical map, but I'm sure there could be a lot of other great designs too, especially if you combine this DIY with the stencil patterns on your own rug DIY.

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  7. I love this idea -especially the "puzzle" look- but I have to ask… do they shift around on your floor? I've had a tough time keeping area rugs from bunching up in the middle when they're on top of carpet. If you have a solution, I'd love to hear it!

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    • The smaller rug shifts a little bit, but not in a major way. The big rug really doesn't move around noticeably, and it doesn't bunch up. The underside of this carpet is fabric, so it's not slippery. I think a lot of store-bought rugs are made to stay put on hard surfaces, but that means they slide around on carpeting.

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      • I wonder if you stuck some adhesive velcro (the prickly side down) on the underside of the rugs, maybe they wouldn't scoot around…

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  8. I did that for college in the dorms! There's a flooring warehouse near me that sells all the carpet that was used at the Detroit Auto Show and I would pick out the biggest piece possible so I could cover the ugly brown linoleum flooring that my dorms had!

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  9. Most carpet stores will sew a neat fabric edge onto carpet for you if you want to spend a little more for a really finished look. Carpet stores always have ends of rolls leftover that they'll sell cheap so its an easy way of getting a good quality rug.

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  10. You might be able to use some binding (like blanket binding but not satin) around the edge. It's probably pretty tough to sew, but maybe you could even just glue it… Since I regularly go over a week without vacuuming, I would be a little concerned about the edges. ;-)

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  11. awesome idea! i've had so many new people come over to my tiny studio apartment and they all comment on the carpet. it's a deep forest green…they all make fun of it. i have no idea why. i think it's pretty…and it's not brown apartment carpet. sheesh!

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  12. onto the wall with wood trim, or attaching fabric loops in the "old" style for displaying it on a curtain rod

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  13. Hand Tufted rugs are hand made by skilled artisans. Weavers loop wool through a primary backing. A natural latex adhesive is then applied to the back of the rug to secure the wool loops, and a secondary coating is added for finishing. Although the process of manufacturing Hand Tufted rugs is shorter than that of a Hand Knotted rug, each rug remains a unique, handmade work of art.

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