Toothbrush Rugs - Complete Video Instructions (Part 1 - Beginners)

On this page you will find explicit step-by-step instructions that show you how to make a toothbrush rag rug! Yes, everything a beginner needs to know!

Toothbrush rugs are one of the easiest and quickest rag rugs to make. They are easy to learn, inexpensive to make, and the result is gorgeous!

Most other instructions that I've come across on the internet assume some previous knowledge of crochet or knitting. But, believe me, you don't need any experience to learn how to make these rugs! In fact, I just learned how to make these two weeks ago, and I am not very crafty at all.

 

 

 

I taught myself how to make these rugs in one day, and was SHOCKED at how easy it was. I figured it out in one evening, piecing together a number of different directions I found online.

I made two very small experimental pieces that looked awful, but soon enough my rug started to look good and I started a rug for real that very first night. The next day I worked on it ALL DAY LONG (8 or 10 hours?), and my first rug was complete! I was so satisfied and proud of myself!!

As a result, I vowed to share my knowledge. I don't like learning from diagrams, so I wanted to actually SHOW how to make the stitch. I just had to share my easy rendition.

Here is an example of what my instructions can help you to make. This is the first rug that I created (after a few false starts, of course).

START BY EXPERIMENTING

Material

To start experimenting, you will need two long strips (each approx. 2 feet long) of fabric, yarn, ribbon, or whatever you have on hand.

Tool

You will also need some kind of tool to help you pull the strip through--basically, you will need a "big needle". Many people use altered toothbrushes. The bristles/head are cut off and the severed end is filed to a point, like the pointy tip of a needle. The untouched end gets a hole drilled in it, like the eye of a needle.


Other people have used crochet hooks, or have purchased a tool from the "Aunt Philly" website.

When I was learning, I wanted to experiment right away, so my partner helped me bend part of a coat-hanger into a tool. Not perfect, but it works! Even if you don't have any kind of tool, I suggest experimenting anyway. How about a short, pointy pencil with your fabric taped to the end? The only reason you need a tool is to help you push your material through a tight hole.

 

 

Introduction

Let's watch the following movie. In it, we jump right into seeing the very basic knot that you need to know. Don't worry if you don't quite get it; this is just to give you an idea of what is to come.

Okay, now you've seen that the idea is pretty simple!

LET'S MAKE A RUG!

Making Lots of Fabric Strips

To make a whole rug, you will need lots of one-inch strips of material. Any material will do (try cotton or wool), but dry to avoid very stretchy material (like spandex, for example) because it's harder to work with. Basically, just use whatever you have on hand to begin with. To start a rug, I usually get around twenty strips "ready to go", which means that they are cut into one-inch strips (anywhere from 3 to 6 feet long), I've removed any annoying strands that are hanging off the strips, and I've cut small holes in the ends (discussed in the movie below).

 

 

Starting Your Rug

In this movie we start a circular rag rug properly, and we watch how to attach the strips together when your strip gets too short. (By the way, we start with circular rugs because they're the easiest. Ovals are pretty easy too, once you get the hang of the circle.)

3. So, here we go! Let's make a rug!!

My best advice is to just keep plugging away on whatever you've started. At first, it will probably look like a horrible jumble, but after you've gone around a couple times (for example, you've made like fifty to seventy knots [but don't count them or anything!]), you'll suddenly realize that you're starting to figure it out!

Once you feel like you've got the basic idea, it's time to start over with new material and actually start again with a perfect start.

PS: If you really want to make your rug look good, see the next tutorial (for intermediate ruggers)!

 

Comments

To add an extra stitch you

To add an extra stitch you put 2 knots or stitches in the same "hole", rather than moving on to the next "hole". If you lay your rug down on the floor every so often, you can tell when it is going to start to "cup". Peter The Rug Goth has a whole blog devoted to these rugs, and talks about adding stitches. It is toothbrushrug.blogspot.com I believe.

This design is steller! You

This design is steller! You definitely know how to keep a
reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to
start my own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Excellent job.
I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
Too cool!

To increase: this means that

To increase: this means that you do two stitches in one hole.

I am still in the practice phase, but I can crochet (not too well, mind you) but I know from experience that increase means ***REPEAT***

Good luck and just keep at it--eventually it will make sense to you.

If your rug is turning into a

If your rug is turning into a bowl, increase your stitches. You might have to ***repeat*** a stitch in every other hole in some 'rounds.' This is called an increase.
I.E.: a 'round' being a circle if you're making a circular-shaped rug.

At the 127 Corridor Yard sale

At the 127 Corridor Yard sale I talked to a lady about this technique and wanted to find out more about it...I found these gentle, educational videos and will try them out in addition to my crocheted rag rugs for variety. Thanks so much for the clear instructions.

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wonderfully clear and simple

wonderfully clear and simple instructions!! much appreciation!

hi, i guess i must be the

hi, i guess i must be the dumbest person, i have tryed and tryed i understand the four knots but it goes down hill from there. i understand how you move and pull the ties keeping the one on the left where do you go after you remove the pin. not that i've got that far, but how and when do you increase, i thought you said it was just knots. really i appreciate your video, it is clear i guess im dumber than a box of hair i really want to do this, and using rags that you wouldnt have anyother use for is great.........please help me someone whip out the crayons and draw me a picturell thanks

Hi Sharla, NO, you're not

Hi Sharla,
NO, you're not "dumber than a box of hair". It's tricky at first. I'm thinking that maybe you have tightened the knots too much? That can cause the holes to close up.

When you move and bring everything around, your 4 knots are on the right, assuming you are right handed. Knot 4 now becomes knot 1. You'll be doing everything you did before, just putting your tool in the hole of knot 1 first, then under the middle strip, then up to tighten.

By the time you reach the pin, you will have already made a few knots. Those knots are the foundation to your rug, you'll be using them to make your rug bigger, working one row of knots onto another. So, after you remove your pin, continue in the same direction, using each knot hole you come to, one after the other, around and around, and your rug will become bigger.

You may not have to increase for awhile, but if you do, there are alot of comments from ruggers here at the Cafe with their experience and how-to for increasing.

I hope this helped you in some way and didn't make things worse. We want you to be able to make your rug and more after. I think you'll find it fun when you get the hang of it. Keep trying Shauna! We'll be here to help the best we can.

Keep trying Sharla! Sorry for

Keep trying Sharla! Sorry for the typo.

hi again its sharla, just a

hi again its sharla, just a quick note i really hope someone helps me to understand i have ordered 2 books online they didnt explain anything and i really want to make a rug, not just one, many thanks again your video is the best so far i just need alittle more explanation.

thanks for taking time to

thanks for taking time to explain to me Rhonda, i will try again this evening once both of the pups are asleep, it seems like they dont like me to do anything but play with them. as i said i really want to make several rugs thank again for your sweet time, some of the people we meet are so nice

Thank you so much for these

Thank you so much for these clear instructions. I got started a few days ago and after several bonding sessions with my mom (who volunteered to slit my strips while I knot!), I am almost done!

I recommend using a paper clip as a cheap, quick tool. Wrap a piece of tape around the body of the clip to avoid the outside metal catching on the fabric. You get a nice hole at both ends and a nice rounded point to push through the fabric holes. Hope this helps people get started sooner!

Thank you for your

Thank you for your instructional videos. I enjoyed watching them and look forward to trying this new skill. My mother used to make rugs with an old sack and a rug hook - pulling the material through and clipping it to form tufts. My brother used to turn them out very quickly.

I especially enjoyed the letter which encourages to jump on our rugs as we go along, shouting "BE A RUG, BE A RUG". This adds an element of fun to the process.

I also have thoughts of getting my husband started on his own rug, then we can have a competition.

I am so excited! My little

I am so excited! My little girls (about 4 years old) are going to be starting "Little Keepers at Home" which has an introduction to sewing project. But this will work much better for 4 year olds! There's not a needle to poke themselves with. There's no threads to knot up and discourage a little one who has worked so hard. And you get to make something sizeable. plus the knots are so repeatitive and easy to explain (did you see they make a "4" when you're doing it right?) I'm excited. The real sewing project can wait. We'll make our own bathroom rugs first!

Two years ago a friend gave

Two years ago a friend gave me instructions for the toothbrush rug. I had plans on making one as we traveled (my husband and I are retired). I got the strips prepared, but could never figure out the instructions, so I put everything away. Now, after seeing these instructions, I've dug out the strips again and am ready to give it a try. Thank you so very much.

This is great! I have just

This is great! I have just started one.

I searched the house for a toothbrush that would work and couldn't find one. I discovered that taping the end of my tweezers together made a perfect tool. I can slip the fabric through the space in the middle. It works great.

I just thought I would leave that tip for anyone who is like me... to impatient to wait for the tool to come in the mail. :)

when you are attaching a new

when you are attaching a new piece of your fabric, where do you make the slit? Didn't the knotting strip knot over the end of the other one?

I did not get the video

I did not get the video buttons. Is there anyway you could email me the link?

thank you so much for the

thank you so much for the easy to follow instructions.. i have just finished my first rug! I showed my husband a picture of the for sale 'rug needles" and he was able to make one for me from wood! he's such a clever guy... but now i want to tackle a rectangular rug... does anyone know where to find instructions for one?
again thanks so much, now i can watch tv and create at the same time..

This is too fun!!! I haven't

This is too fun!!! I haven't had a chance to watch these videos, as the website seemed to be down when my enthusiasm overwhelmed me. I've started 2 pieces and things are doing fairly well, but I'm making bowls. I've played with tension and thought I had it going my way, but again, in 12-15 laps, I've got a bowl that probably won't lay down... I've tried adding stiches but that didn't gain much. Can somebody help??

To make your rug flat and

To make your rug flat and even instead of it turning into a bowl you will need to ADD stitches. Every time you come to a corner for an oval rug ADD 3 Stiches. So you're adding a total of 6 extra stitches per 360 round.

Don't compact them all into one spot in the corners. Space them out. Add a stitch... continue on for a few normally then add another. As long as your adding 3 sitches per corner you should have a rug that lays flatter and has nice looking rounds.

Just like so many others I

Just like so many others I see, I was delighted to find this page! I also found written instructions and was completely baffled. I purchased a rag rug at a Relay for Life silent auction years ago and absolutely love it. This Christmas I made beaded silverware for gifts and had it in my head that I was going to learn how to make that rag rug for 2010. I'm happy to say I'm started on my first (hot pink since I have plenty of scraps). These instructions are so easy to follow! It's only 5" but so far so good. I can't wait to keep going and I couldn't wait to share! Let's see it's 4pm New Years Eve...maybe I'll make before 2010...I'll just have to take it to the party!
Thanks again!

I could feel the bowl coming

I could feel the bowl coming on so I combined all of the helpful tips and mine are laying pretty flat.
I also noticed that if you pull on the strip that doesn't have your tool it will immediately curl into that bowl so make sure you just hold it taught while you pull your piece with the tool into the knot. So it's like you're knotting one piece around the other.
So, I'm adding the "extra" knots on the corners, don't pull the strip that doesn't have the tool just keep it taught, and I kind of pull, stretch and smooth the rug here and there kind of like you do when you knot fleece but not as hard. Then, I jump on it and say "be a rug! be a rug!"
I'm on my second already, I can't stop!

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umm i am having troble or at

umm i am having troble or at least i think i am i just started and i am wondering is it normal for the rug to sorta curl in to a bowl sorta thing???

Thanks for these

Thanks for these instructions. Very good

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The following is a transcript

The following is a transcript of WJOL Radio's interview with some of Will County Boxing Gym team members- Billy Boy Thompson, Owner/ Pro Boxer/ Trainer Joseph Awinongya, Donald Myart, and Derek Drey a rising boxing star conducted by Scott Slocum 9AM Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010. To listen to full interview visit [url=]www.willcountyboxing.com[/url]

Scott: That will warm you up on this cold morning. Imagine yourself in a hot gym working up a sweat. That is what we all need as the temperature is going to fall to zero before that snow hits about 9PM tonight. Billy 'Boy' Thompson is in the studio with us and he's brought some guests. The 1964 graduate of the Joliet Township high school with an all time record of 110 and 15 with the 95 knockouts. How are you doing sir? Lets make sure the mics are on. Alright, who do you have with us this morning?

Billy: I have Joseph Awinongya from Ghana, Africa. He's president of our Will County Boxing Gym and Derek Drey. Derek Drey from Joliet, our boxing team and Donald Myart, he's a professional boxer, ex professional boxer-an amateur- boxer and also a broadcaster. We all are on the same page this morning.

Scott: So, ah you know, as long as it has been since you have been active in the ring, you are still so involved in the sport, and it shows by the people you brought in here today.

Billy: Well this guy, Joseph, got me involved. I was sitting back in my garage. I retired from the railroad for three years, worked for 31 years, but Joseph got me, got me to come by and and let's get together. So, I went to help him.

Scott: Well -That Joseph, is that the gentleman here?

Billy: That's correct he's from Ghana, Africa.

Joseph: I am from Ghana, I am from Ghana,- but I grew up in Italy. I am (Clears throat) an ex professional boxer. Don King brought me into this country. I came to Joliet, I was in Chicago, I was going to fight a guy in New York. So, I came to Chicago to train with the Polish fighter, because I was fighting the same guy from Poland. So, I came to Chicago and started training in the Windy City Gym and then the fight just turned off..They told me they did not want me any more. I came to Bolingbrook. I see some of the African stores over there, so I said I will stay right here.

Scott: So you got the youngsters going on now, and you are showing them what you know, huh.

Joseph: (Smiling) Yeah, I am showing them something. I came to Joliet. I found out that Joliet used to be a boxing town. I was in boxing for a long time and I said what am I going to do to bring some people together to see if we can open a boxing gym. It took me 5 years to start, you know, getting every body together, to see exactly what we want to do, and how to bring this about. Exactly, like Derek Drey, kids who have energy and want to burn it somewhere. So, we opened the boxing gym and so far the boxing gym is doing real good. We have some professionals, three professionals, we signed up a lot of kids. The boxing gym is going wonderful and I was very, very surprised.

Scott: Now let's back up a moment, you told me Don King brought you to this country?

Joseph: Yeah, Don King brought me to this country.

Scott: How many people want to be discovered by Don King!

Joseph: Yeah.

Scott: How did you do that?

Joseph: ...I went back home to Africa ...I was going back to Germany. I was sparring with one ex heavy weight champion and he had his people over there. They saw me, and they said they would like to sign me up, and that was my dream, since I was fighting. That was my dream to come to Don King. So, they saw me and then they brought me, I signed with them. I did really good with them. I don't take nothing away from Don King. He put me in a place that I know that I can do more things than I can do. What ever I want to do.

To listen to the full interview visit [url=]www.willcountyboxing.com[/url]

These vids are great I have 2

These vids are great I have 2 boxes filled with fabric scraps that I just couldt throw away but had no idea what to do with. Im going to get a rug started right away. Thak You!!

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I love these videos! Thank

I love these videos! Thank you for taking the time to post. I had to watch the 3rd one a few times to get the step where you turn everything the first (only) time but now I am on a roll. I found that using two very distinct fabrics has helped me keep things straight in my head while I practice and get the hang of it. Although, I have to say, my practice piece is turning out so well that it may just end up being my first real piece instead!

Thank you much

Thank you much

I am hooked. . .have made six

I am hooked. . .have made six rugs already. Looking for old sheets at St. Vinnie's and Goodwill are a part of the process. I enjoy this so much. These instructions were excellent and I have sent my sister this link so she can start. Isn't the internet and all ofthis info wonderful???

I've tried making two rugs

I've tried making two rugs now. Both of them ended up looking like "cups" as mentioned above. I will definitely undo them and add stitches in the corners. How often should you add knots? Every row? Every other? Every 3rd?

These are such well made

These are such well made videos, you would never know you don't do instructional videos for a living. :)

I was thinking about the fabric and wondering if anyone has tried buying used sheet, like from a second hand store, and dying them?

Does anyone have any techniques for shortcuts in cutting the fabric into strips? Like, can you double-fold it and cut or use a wheel cutter? I know making a starting cut 3" or 4" long and then tearing the fabric lengthwise works, but would be a little hard for me and it is a little too out-of-control for my comfort. :)

Has anyone tried to hem the strips or does it matter? My grandmother used to make braided rugs and she had little metal cones that she ran her strips through. It curled the edges in on itself - I used to handstitch a simple straight stitch down the middle to make the folds stay. We always cut a large number of strips, maybe 18" long, with the ends on the bias and sew one strip to the next. It went really fast with one of us stitching and the other braiding and it was fun. Has anyone tried this sort of hemming process with a toothbrush rug? Would the rug lose some of its rustic charm if this is done?

Thanks again for the videos! They are very inspiring!

Hi Jean, I recently came upon

Hi Jean,
I recently came upon a website called "Quilters tv", and if you go there, at the top of the page click on "Programming", and then a box will appear and click on the one that say's "All". Scroll down a little bit and you will see a video that says "Aunt Phillys toothbrush rugs", and she is demonstrating how she tears her strips for making the rugs. I thought it was very informative, and maybe it will help you. You can watch it over and over until you get what she's doing. I hope this helps?

She lays her fabric out legnthwise (Not Crosswise), lays a yard stick over the fabric and cut's every 2 inches. Then she tears them down about a foot, lays them flat on the table, and picks up every other strip and you hold them while your partner grabs the others she didnt pick up, and you just rip them all the way down. Then you lay out the strips an arms length, fold in half and cut. She then ties a loose knot so they don't get tangled, and she picks up each strip and layers them one on top of each other, and fold the end over about an inch, she then takes her scissors and makes a small 1/2 inch cut through the fabrics to make the hole that your going to need when you attach your strips as your making your rug. I'm a visual person, so watching her do this a few times helped. The only thing this video doesnt show you is how to start the rug, or how to increase at the corners. I just recently ordered her video, so I hope she explains this as I won't be happy if she doesnt (I paid $35 for her dvd). I hope you get this as I know you wrote this back in February. Let me know, okay? Happy rugging my friend.
Karen

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Thank you very much!!!

Thank you very much!!!

Oh I can't wait to get

Oh I can't wait to get started on this. Our home is wood floors and rugs are so expensive. I've wanted some new ones forever but simply can't afford them. This is perfect. Wish me much luck!

I finally am getting the hang

I finally am getting the hang of this... but how do you stop the annoying threads from unraveling? I have also found that a sturdy safety pin works as a good tool. Wonderful instructions and videos! Thank you for posting!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I have

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I have been trying to figure this out for some time now..there was a big craft show in the mountains in NC. the first time I saw rag rug making but by the time I got home I was totally lost..I bought the lil wood tool and got a brief instruction but four days later I was totally lost..but today I can do this ....so thank you again ..

I love making tooth brush

I love making tooth brush rugs. I am working on my first. It is oval. I have a question though.
both ends of the center of my rug will not lay flat. I first though it may be that my stitching was too tight so I worked some fabric backwards but it did not resolve.
How can I prevent next time?

Does anyone know if it makes

Does anyone know if it makes a difference what fabric is used? Example: does t-shirt fabric or sweatshirt fabric work - or are simple cottons best?

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