Toothbrush Rugs - Complete Video Instructions (Part 2 - Intermediate)

So, you've checked out our directions for beginners and are looking for a few more tips? Well, here we go! Starting a CIRCLE versus an OVAL rug:

Better example of working around the ends:

Finishing your rug:


Thank you so much for putting

Thank you so much for putting these videos! I made these over 25 years ago in school and forgot how to do them. Thanks to your tutorials I will be teaching my boys how to do them. We will probably give them as gifts to their teachers and grandma. Keep up the good work, and thank you again!!

I would also like to send pictures of our finished products, if that's ok with you. :) I'm sure my boys would be proud to show them off, especially to the person who refreshed their mommas memory. he he he he.

My rug was flat the first

My rug was flat the first time, but the second one had ripples and a bubble in the middle I was never able to flatten out. I figured out that I had added too many extra 'stitches' to the problem areas on that one.

I find the number of extra stitches, or loops, whatever you want to call them, that you need to add, and the ease of adding them to get a flat rug depends on a few factors. One, how tightly you pull your stitches; tight stitches equal small holes, much harder to fit extra stitches into those holes. It's much better to use looser 'tension', by not pulling so tight. Two: thickness and width of fabric strips. On most of my rugs, I used strips between 2 and 2 1/2 inches wide. I tried pressing the raw edges under first, but it took too long, so now I just turn the raw edges in as I go along. They're completely hidden except for some of the strip joins, which may need a bit of trimming. But this extra effort makes for a lovely, neat finished appearance.

No question about it, wider strips like I use require quite a bit more fabric, but I like the finished look, no loose threads from the raw edges hanging out. I have always torn my strips too, to make sure the grain is straight, but it's faster to cut them, I have to admit.

I find it's easier to get a flat rug using a heavier fabric, such as some drapery fabrics, and of course the rug is thicker too.

But the main trick to a flat rug is simply adding just enough extra stitches as you go around the curved parts. Make two stitches into one hole, and you have 'increased' one extra stitch. If you need more, do the same with the next hole, until you have increased just enough for a flat, even curve. Lay the rug flat on a firm surface often to check for flatness. It may take a few tries to figure out just how many increases you need for the rug you are working on and you can always pull stitches out if you need to, though of course nobody likes to have to rip stitches.

You can do a double increase, adding a total of 3 stitches to one hole, , but I find the curves look more even using only one increase per hole. Experiment to see what looks best for your piece.

Basically, if you see a ripple or a 'bubble', you've added too many extra stitches to the spot where you see the problem. If the piece is starting to become bowl or hat shaped, you have added too few or no extra stitches to the curves or corners. Rip out your stitches and try again, at least your fabric won't be wasted.

As the rug grows larger, you will find the number of increases, and where they need to be placed to turn the corners evenly and flat will change because each round, or row makes the corners wider and longer. It's not an exact process, you have to do it a bit by eye and feel, and practice sure helps.

I find every rug is a bit of an experimental process, but if you always use similar weight fabric with similar size strips for each rug, you will quickly learn just what is needed for that type of rug and fabric and it becomes easier with every one you make.

As for tools, my preference is for the cut off toothbrush or spatula handle, with a large [approx. 1/4 inch] hole drilled in one end, and the other trimmed to a point about an inch long, smoothed and rounded at the tip. I actually started with one that came with an Aunt Philly kit, and have since made some of my own modeled on that one. They work well, are easy to use & are very cheap to make, because it's usually not difficult to find worn out toothbrushes.

I looked for some time on

I looked for some time on making rag rugs that I could take with me and work on at appointments or in the car, this one is Perfect! Once you get the circle started its easy to pick up and go. I have a small scrap bag that has all my strips in it , just hook and go.Thank you so much...

I made my first rug/chair

I made my first rug/chair pad! 3 more to go. I found I started off loose then got too tight and the center puckered.

Now I just gently pull to the side to snug lightly and allow the fabric to take shape. I add doubles when needed (two stitches in the same hole)

The best tip I can give is to frequently check how taught the fabric is that isn't actually being tied. After I tie several loose knots I pull a little on the fabric that we are tying the knots around so as to make sure it is not the reason for puckering-Get it?-I pull on the fabric and the knots I just tied and it sometimes takes up on the fabric that isn't actually being tied ensuring that my rug lay's flat.

Thanks for the video!

I took a class in the 80's in

I took a class in the 80's in making a oval rag rug. I have it to this day in my bedroom and I am looking forward to taking up rag rug making again. To keep it flat you will add four extra loops in on each rotation, round, or cycle of the rug--two at one end and two on the other end. As you are ready to turn a corner and start down the opposite side, you will put in two loops in the last hole on the side you are on. Then as you turn you put two loops in the very first hole on the new direction. In effect you have added one loop to each side of the rug on the turn--this is the increase. When you get to the opposite end you will repeat the process. Two loops in your last hole on the side you have just been looping; turn rug and put two loops in very first hole on new side. The two extra loops on each end of the rug that you added within one complete rotation keeps the rug flat. That is what is meant by increasing the rug--you go through the same hole twice. Putting in the four extra loops is what allows the rug to grow in size while still remaining flat.

One more thing-- As the rug

One more thing-- As the rug gets wider, you will have a growing number of loops between your "return" loops where you change directions. As the rug increases in width add your extra loop in the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions on each rotation. You will gain an eye on knowing where the extra loop is needed.

Awesome instructions! i saw

Awesome instructions! i saw the video on this site when i was searching for directions on making these rugs. i got really ecxited to make these
rugs looked do-able. before i started i decided to read everyones comments to get as much unfo as pssible. well, needless to say i got a
nervouse because of all the talk of increasing. everyone new
you needed to but really couldnt explain how or where. i must say to you you THANK YOU. you have renewed my confidance that i can make these.
your explicit detailed instruction was easy to understand and picture. i hhave one question. where and how many for the round rugs? thanks again.

Thank you so much. I learn

Thank you so much. I learn better by seeing it done than reading instructions. This really helped. I have been looking for a pattern for a while.

Just made my first circle

Just made my first circle rug, came out pretty good, it does have a couple of wavy spots, because i was so panicked about the increasing, i guess i increased too much, lol. My question is this, has anyone made a rectangle rug? I would like to try it, but not sure how . (like where exactly to increase), do you just decide what will be a corner and increase only there? Thanks for any help! Mercedes

In the photo gallery on this

In the photo gallery on this site, a lady has made a rectangle rug--go there and look at picture. She said she put three loops in each corner every time she went around the rug. If you would like an oval rectangle, my directions above will make a nice oval.


Thanks, I will check it out

Thanks, I will check it out and see if i can figure it out, i love learning this stuff! :)

Thank you so much . . .

Thank you so much . . . for making these excellent videos. With their help I've been able to start what looks like it will be a nice rug and, so far, I haven't spent a penny. I wonder if anyone knows the origin/history of this method (as opposed to regular crocheting to make a rag rug.)

It takes a surprising amount of work to plan and film good videos. In offering these free, you stand in the best traditions of the Internet. Bless you.

thank you so much for these

thank you so much for these wonderful, clear instructions, I started to make my rag rug last week before I saw your site, I have blisters on my fingers LOL, I used a large knitting needle and my fingers to pull each stitch through, this method (self taught) was slow and painful! I did however source my material from op shop buying. I wanted a shabby chic look for my bedroom so bought doona covers in pastel shades for $2 to $3 each, which gave me the equivalent of two bed sheets per cover. I then recalled from my earlier sewing days that there was a method of making continuous bias strips, I found instructions for this on google a site called Fiber Images, once I had made this loooong strip about 2" wide and hundreds of meters long I tightly rolled it into a ball about the size of a softball and put a sewing pin in it to stop it unrolling, I just unwind a couple of meters at a time and hold the rest with a pin so the ball doesn't unravel. The bias strips do not frey and look neat, I want to be able to wash my rug and thought the freying would be a problem down the track. I hope this hint helps someone! Once again THANK YOU and BLESS YOU from Australia.

Wow, so cool maaaaan! I

Wow, so cool maaaaan! I loved this tutorial. every time i try to make one, i fail but dis one is fail prooff ! :)
<3 !!

Wow! I've just attended a rug

Wow! I've just attended a rug making course at my local community garden and this one is even easer than that one... thanks for taking the time to make the tutorial... Its great!

Can someone please tell me

Can someone please tell me how much fabric is needed, besides just a bed sheet? I already made one and love it, but I inherited a bag of precut scraps and used those, so I have no idea how much was there. Now I want to buy the material, but don't know how much. Thanks so much.

I pretty much understand the

I pretty much understand the concept, but and unclear on one thing. She is working with 2 pieces of fabric, and in the video I saw her add a strip to one. Do you continuously add strips of fabric to both strips? I was thinking that when the one you are actually wrapping the other strip around is done you than work of the stitches on the rug from the previous row. But now I believe after watching the follow-up videos she ends with 2 strips of fabric. So I believe you continue to add strips to both pieces of fabric until the end, and than weave them into the rug at the end.

Hi! I would love to start

Hi! I would love to start making this rug..I was just wondering if there was a number of yards of cotton fabric I need? I'm hoping to make a 5x7 rug eventually!

I was wondering if you ever

I was wondering if you ever figured out the yardage of (cotton) fabric you need for a 5x7 rug??

On AuntPhillytoothbrush

On AuntPhillytoothbrush youtube video, the instructor said it took 10 yards of cotton fabrics cut in 2 inch wide strips, to make a 20"X36". If my calculations are right, this means you will need 7 times that much for a 5feetX7 feet rug. However, she folded her fabric in half and pressed the strips to have only the right side showing. I think this would make the strips less "fluffy" and more "tailored" like , and this would in my opinion require more fabric.

this is awesome,me and my

this is awesome,me and my grand daughters are excited to make these rugs for Christmas gifts.cant wait to get started!!!

I made 2 rag rugs about 30

I made 2 rag rugs about 30 years ago. I used a different method and I remember using just one strand of material. I think it was a double hitch knot and i can't remember how to do it. Does any one know how to do this. I have watched a couple of video on u-tube but they are so bad i can't tell what they are doing. HELP

I♡ your videos. You are a

I♡ your videos. You are a natural teacher.

I am trying to work out how

I am trying to work out how to make a basket using the toothbrush rug technique. Does anyone know how to start to side walls ?

Any help much appreciated. *This technique seems quite rare in UK)


I love all your

I love all your instructions.. I have been getting more into the country look and these are perfect. What I did to practice was to take grocery bags and cut them into strips and use like the fabric.. It was great to practice with and to learn and perfect. We all have plenty of used grocery bags lying around. Can also use old panty hose. Happy Crafting.

thank you! thank you! thank

thank you! thank you! thank you! I have wanted to do make a rag rug for so long, but the only things I saw were crocheted or braided and then sewn together - neither did I want to do! This is awesome! I recognize this method as the "friendship bracelet figure 4" thing that my daughter does :)
This is something that definitely my 12 and 8.5 year old daughters can do -- what a great handicraft! Thank you so very much for these super dandy videos!

Thank you for this tutorial!

Thank you for this tutorial! I found it on Pinterest. I'd made a crocheted rag rug and got "the bowl," so from reading these posts I got some good tips. I am SUPER GREATFUL to see this method and you teach it so clearly. I like the look of this rug, as opposed to the crocheted one. It just looks neater and much easier to control (the bowl!). Thank you! From the not-so-crafty-crafter. :-)

That rattling was so darn

That rattling was so darn irritating.... the video was good!

I have to agree with everyone

I have to agree with everyone on how easy hou have made this project and agree there could be more information on when and where to increase and why.
I was also wondering what the purpose of the stripe that is knotted over? I understand why it would be needed in the begining but once you have established a base of knots to stitch through each knot creates a new hole to knot through. Does it serve a purpose at all after you've gotten started?

Thank you so much for

Thank you so much for teaching me how to make a rag rug. I have wanted to make one for a very long time now.

This is so great! I have made

This is so great! I have made rag rugs from a loom but it made my back and shoulders ache so bad I had to quit. I love rag rugs and now I believe I can begin making them again! And...much easier!
Thanks a ton!

Thanks very much for taking

Thanks very much for taking the time to record and post these videos. They are very helpful.

Keep Crafting!

I am using strips of fabric

I am using strips of fabric from old clothes. Some of the fabric frays on the cut edges. Do I need to do something to the strips to stop this? If so what?

I will echo everybody that the instructions were great. My husband reinforced a plastic knife with large holes in the handle for my "toothbrush."

The only thing I do different, is after I have crossed the left strip over the right; instead of going down thru the top of the rug, I come up from the bottom. Doing it bass akwards, seems to work better for me.

I think I can make this. My

I think I can make this. My dogs love rugs to lay on thanks for shouting me

Thank you so much for these

Thank you so much for these videos they are great!! I am left handed so I was a little turned around to start as it seems I have to do everything backwards from your right-handed people! so it took me few tries to figure it out! I also had the hat going on but will try the adding of stiches to see if that works, How many strips, or yards of material do you need to make a large 7' rug and how wide do you recommend making the strips? I assume the wider the strip the chunkier the rug? great videos thanks for sharing your talents!! I think it would be nice for others to share a pic of there rugs, as I am sure they will all look unique!

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Your tutorials are great!

Your tutorials are great! I've had the toothbrush rug tool for years and decided to get it out and start a rug thanks to you. I thank you for taking the time to post these videos.

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