Upcycled Latch Hook Rug

You can create a custom rug from old T-shirts or knit sheets.


Although the latch hook technique is extremely simple, this is a time-consuming project. The rug I made is 3×5 feet and I’d estimate that I spent about 40 hours on it altogether. But it cost me a lot less than it would to buy one that size, and it’s extremely thick and durable.

I bought this rug canvas at JoAnn’s, and you can also purchase them online. You can expect to pay between $8-$12 on the canvas.

You’ll also need a large latch hook tool. My Wal-Mart carries some with wooden handles for around $2, but I ordered this one with a soft handle for about $4 online. You’ll be spending a lot of time with this tool, so make sure you choose one that feels comfortable!

When it comes to selecting the materials to make your rug out of, pretty much anything will work as long as it’s a jersey knit. Old t-shirts, stretchy jersey sheets, or fabric off the bolt will work. I decided to incorporate all three of these into my rug so that I could give you my feedback on the different materials. I can’t notice a visible difference between the different materials I used in my rug. However, my personal recommendation would be to check  second-hand stores for jersey sheets, as they take less time to cut into strips than the T-shirts do.

If you plan on dying your fabrics a custom color, you’ll want to do that first. For best results dye white fabric. I used Rit brand dye. You can use it in your washing machine. or in your sink. Just follow the directions on the bottle. If you’re making a multi colored rug like mine, you can save money by buying primary colors of dye and mixing your own custom colors.

I cut all of the fabric into strips that were between 1 and 1 1/2 inches wide. You really don’t need to be precise about measuring, because the fabric will curl inward a bit anyways. The sheets and the bolted fabric had a little more stretch to them than the T-shirts, so I cut the sheets and fabric to about 4 inches in length and the T-shirt strips to about 5 inches in length. You can use a rotary cutter or fabric scissors. My dressmaker’s shears could cut through a huge stack of fabric at once, so the cutting went quickly.

I tried cutting the strips in both directions, and found it was easier to latch the fabric when the direction of stretch went vertically down the length of the strip.

How to:

You can purchase hem tape for the edges of your rug, but it’s cheaper and easier to just fold over the raw edge of the canvas about an inch and latch through two holes at once. This keeps the edges of the rug from unraveling.

The latch hook technique is very basic. Poke the end of the tool through the hole. With the hook open, place the middle of a fabric strip around the hook. As you pull the tool back through the hole, the hook will automatically close around the fabric.

Pull the strip halfway through the hole. Then snag the top ends of the strip inside the hook and pull down through the loop. Then tug the two ends of the strip to tighten.

I decided to add a knot to every other square. That is, I knot around one canvas seam, skip a canvas seam, and add a knot to the following one. Then I staggered the knots on the next row so that I was placing the next row of knots on the seams that were skipped on the previous row.

I wanted to use lots of different colors on my rug, so I made borders that each had four rows of knots. However, you can do whatever pattern you’d like.

To help you get an idea of how much fabric you’ll need, one row of knots around the outermost perimeter of the rug took a yard of bolted fabric.


How does this rug hold up?

It’s been 3 years since I posted this, and it’s still looking great in my daughter’s rooms. None of the strips have unraveled.

Can I wash this in my washing machine?

I’ve washed mine in my HE washing machine several times, and it held up great. However, this rug is very heavy when wet, so you may want to opt to wash it in an industrial machine at a laundromat. Alternately, you can spot clean it with a soapy washcloth.

 Can I vacuum it?

I like to use the hose attachment to vacuum it.

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19 thoughts on “Upcycled Latch Hook Rug

  1. Jennifer says

    hanks for the tutorial… A few quick questions:
    1. The rug canvases seem to be very rough and stiff. What do you use to back it to protect your floors? We have wood floors, so I want to make sure I have something beneath it.
    2. How to you make the rug bigger than the premade canvas? I need to make a 5×7. Is there a way to connect two canvases or do you have better advice?
    3. Can I do this through monk’s cloth? I saw this rug professionally made, so I’m not sure how they got it through the monk’s cloth.

    • says

      Hi Jennifer! I actually have carpet so I didn’t add anything to the back. But I know you can buy rubber rug backings… those also have a weave pattern, so you could sew it to the back of the rug canvas with a few hand-stitches. To make the rug bigger, you would add just overlap a second rug canvas by a couple of inches. When you add the T-shirt strips, you’ll just go through both layers at once (like I did when folding under the edge of the rug). I’m unfamiliar with monk’s cloth, but I can tell you that it needs to be a non-fraying fabric, or it won’t hold up to washing and will destroy your vacuum. I hope that answered your questions :)

  2. Tracy says

    I suppose using a hugh machine at the laundry mat would be best for washing.

  3. Angela says

    can it be washed in the washing machine? or just vacuumed?

    • says

      I’ve put it in my HE washer several times and it held up great. It is very heavy when wet, so I wouldn’t try it unless you have a good washing machine :)

  4. Melissa says

    This is the BEST video I have found, she uses the tool smartly and efficiently!

  5. Lindsay says

    It would be much better, and far less distracting, if you didn’t have a song playing in the background over the commentary.

    • says

      Thanks for the feedback, Lindsay :)

  6. XxTuffy15xX2 says

    I have a rug like that but i bought it i did not know i could buy one imma try this

  7. durotha says

    awesome – very pretty and looks SUPER SOFT! YEAH FOR THAT!

  8. Sarenda says

    Do you put any kind of sealant on the rug backing so it wont unravel???

    • says

      No, these are knotted and won’t come undone. I made it almost a year ago and haven’t had anything loosen.

  9. Angie says

    I loved this video! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  10. Colette says

    Hi, I love this creative rug. I’ve gone out and purchased many knit sheets, but I need some tips with the dying process. Most of the colors I have are dark greens, blues, browns. I haven’t had much experience with dying material before. Do I need to remove the color from the sheets before I dye them bright colors? Please advise.

    • says

      I would recommend starting with white sheets. If you dye colored sheets, the colors will mix… that is, if you use red dye on a blue sheet, it will turn out purplish.

  11. Ashley says

    I am making mine now. The beginning edge is curling does it flatten out or am I doing something wrong

    • says

      Did you double the first row under? If so, it will turn out just fine :)

  12. Very nice write-up. I absolutely love this website. Stick with it!

  13. Elizabeth says

    Great idea for recycling t-shirts. Another way of keeping the souvenir t-shirts alive!!

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