This project is quite easy, and it’s also immensely rewarding. It let me keep old (unwearable) clothes without cluttering my drawers. It gave them a new, useful and pretty life.
It’s easy and quick enough to get actually finished in a few days. It leaves behind minimal craftermath. And my favorite part — since it seems I’m getting old and lazy — for the most part it can be done while sitting on the sofa, watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy.
Want to make your very own t-shirt rug? Gather your supplies:
- old t-shirts — For this project I used about 30 pieces — some were big men’s t-shirts, some smaller women’s tank tops, I even threw in a couple pajama pants.
- sharp scissors
- a crochet hook — I started with a (metric) 7/(US) K hook, but it was too small and it broke, so I continued with a (metric) 9/(US) N hook.
First of all, make your t-shirt yarn. This method is fantastic and quick for men’s t-shirts without side seams. I found however that the material of most of my women’s t-shirts would not curl, and stretched the wrong way if cut that like that, so I just cut long strips top to bottom and joined them like this…
They didn’t curl anyway, but the material stayed thick and strong. My strips were about 1.5-2cm wide — they don’t need to be perfectly even.
For the first rows I alternated small strips of different colors, and kept the last rows monochromatic.
Once you have your yarn balls ready, sit comfortably on the sofa with your favourite show and start a chain stitch…
Then start building on it single crochet stitches…
Don’t be discouraged if you’ve never attempted a chain or single stitch — they’re very easy and you don’t really have to think about it once you start. You’re basically working in a spiral, turning the work clockwise and adding single stitches.
Your rug size and proportions will depend on the length of that first chain stitch. I made a mistake here because mine was too long, so I when I finished my original yarn I had a sad narrow thing that did not look like the bathroom rug I had envisioned. Fortunately, I had more t-shirts to sacrifice and even my mom donated a few to the cause. That’s how I ended up with a bedroom rug. It’s about 1.5m by 65cm (4.9 by 2.1 feet) and my chain was 85cm (2.7 feet). So basically your rug will be as wide as you make it and (width + chain length) long.
When you’re finished, secure the yarn end tying it informally in a knot (I have no idea if there’s a proper way to do it).
This project is great for a beginner (like me – it was my first crochet project) because it’s not meant to look perfect, and t-shirt yarn is very forgiving. You just have to be careful not to make your stitches too tight or you’ll end up with a giant bowl instead of a rug that lays flat. (Note to self: I have to try making t-shirt bowls next time!)