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How to Make a DIY Felt Rug Out of Recycled Sweaters

I do love a quick DIY and craft but equally, sometimes I like to take it slow. That’s what I did with this DIY felt rug.

It can be really satisfying to take your time in making something and seeing it gradually blossom into a gorgeous finished product. That way you also get to enjoy the actual therapeutic art of crafting as well as the results.

What I’m trying to say that this rug took me ages to make but it was fun and I really enjoyed making it!

It all started when my Mum turned up at Christmas not only laden with presents but a bag full of old wool sweaters in gorgeous colours for my upcycling stash. To me, this pile of jumpers in pinks, reds, and purples was actually the best present.

As I had quite a few sweaters (5) I decided to recycle them into a DIY felt rug. Especially as all the colours blended well together.

I didn’t actually measure how long the rug took to make as I did it in dribs and drabs over a couple of weeks. But I would say I probably spent approx 10 hours on it.

It was easy to make the rug in small chunks at a time. Also, the method I used was pretty straightforward. So I was able to multi-task by catching up on some box set tv shows at the same time.

Mind you it had to be gentle TV, something like “Call The Midwife” nothing that required too much concentration or anything with subtitles.

Pink Red rug made from old sweaters


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Upcycle Sweaters Into A Gorgeous DIY Felt Rug

What you need to make a felt rug

  • Wool Sweaters – I used the equivalent of 4-5 sweaters for this felt rug. They should be at least 70-80% wool. Mine were mainly cashmere and some lambswool. You can also use scrap pieces of felt or sweater felt for this DIY too!
     

How to make a sweater felt rug

1. The first thing I did was felt the sweaters by putting them in a hot wash in the washing machine. Like I did with my sweater mountain cushion.

2. Next, I cut the felt up into strips about 7mm wide. I used a cutting mat a metal ruler and a rotary cutter to ensure that all the strips of felt were even.

This was probably the most time-consuming part of the craft. As well as the sweaters I had felted I added strips of felt from my bag of scraps to this pile.

Rotary cutter mat felt strips

3. Note you can make the strips thinner or wider for the felt rug, but whatever size you choose that will be the thickness of your rug.

If you are a bit short on felt then if you go for 5mm strips. You will, of course, get more strips from the sweater. So you will be able to make a bigger rug.

To make things easier, the felt strips were sorted into different coloured piles.

Whatever thickness you choose, be consistent so all the felt strips will be the same size.

7mm strips of sweater felt in red and purple

4. Next, this part to me is the fun bit of this DIY rug. First, take one strip of felted sweater wool and paste one side with fabric glue. Then, roll it up into a tight spiral.

Then, take another sweater felt strip in a different colour again cover one side with fabric glue. Then wrap this strip of felt around the first felt spiral. I used pins to keep the ends of the strips in place as the glue dried.

quilling felt strips for diy felt rug
Quilling sweater felt for a diy rug

5. Next, carry on adding strips of felt to the spiral and it will slowly get bigger and bigger.

There is no set pattern or order of colour in which to add the felt strips. I think it looks good to create different sized rings of different coloured felt in a random way.

That is a personal preference I’m not into symmetry. But if you like symmetry then perhaps you may want to be more specific in the colours and lengths of felt strips you add.

DIY sweater felt rug quills

6. Next, these felt spiral mats form the bases of the DIY felt rug. The more of them you make the larger the final rug will be.

(If you want you can just make one giant felt spiral and have a large round rug.)

I wanted to make a rug that was made up of several of these mini felt spirals. So I made several of these felt mats in different sizes and some were perfect circles others were more oblong.

For the next part, you will want to join these rug mats together to make one large rug. I found that it was better to use a hot glue gun for this stage. Or Gorilla Glue contact adhesive clear works well too.

felt rug mats

7. Next, design how the final felt rug would look. Do this by laying out the felt mats in the arrangement that appeals to you.

You will find that there are some big gaps in between where the circular mats join. Just make some smaller felt spiral shapes to plug these gaps. Some might even end up being a slightly odd shape.

Once you are sure of the layout. Stick the mats together with hot glue or a good waterproof contact adhesive such as Gorilla glue.

The one advantage with a hot glue gun is that glue dries very quickly. Therefore, it is easy to hold the shapes together in the design you want as the glue dries.

Using glue gun to glue felt mats together

8. Then, when all the small felt mats have been stuck together, glue large strips of felt around the outside. These strips will bring the whole DIY felt rug together.

Carry on adding these connecting strips until you either run out of them or the felt rug reaches the size you want.

9. Finally, to finish off this DIY rug, pick off any glue threads from the top of the rug. I recommend also spraying the rug with a fabric protector.

DIY felt rug from recycled sweaters

Top Tips and FAQ’s about the DIY Rug

Won’t the glue make the rug hard?

The glue can make the rug a bit stiff, for a softer feel leave the top 2-3mm of each felt strip glue free as you stick them this will give the rug a softer feel underfoot.

Another option is to stitch the felt strips together instead of gluing them.

Can I wash the rug?

I don’t recommend sticking the rug in the washing machine. However, you will be able to sponge away any dirt. But to protect the rug in the first place I strongly suggest spraying the rug with Scotchguard.

Scotchguard will protect the rug from general spills they will just run off and not soak up.

We don’t wear shoes in our home which also helps protect our rugs.

What if I don’t have enough wool sweaters?

One of the good things about this rug is that the way it is designed it is possible to add to it at a later date if you want to make it bigger or if you get some more felt sweaters.

I used the equivalent of about 5 sweaters for this rug. However, that didn’t include the arms. I saved these to make a DIY knot pillow to match the DIY felt rug.

What else can I make using this method?

If you don’t have enough sweater wool to make a whole floor felt rug you can make small items for your home. Such as drink coasters, placemats and doormats.

I combined the colourful sweater felt strips with the seams of old jeans to make some gorgeous upcycled fabric placemats for my dining room table using this spiral method.

Some of the felt strips are too small is there anything I can do with them?

If you have any tiny pieces of felt leftover, don’t chuck them out use them to make gorgeous felt garlands.

Felt Decoration garland Pillarboxblue.com


 

Sweater felt rug in pinks and red

I’m so pleased with my new rug, the colours just look gorgeous together and really go well with my decor. I’m sure I will be adding to it at a later date when my mum hands me her next pile of old sweaters.

I definitely think that this is one upcycle that was worth the extra effort as the rug is such a unique piece that looks fabulous on my wooden floors.

Sweater felt rug in lounge

Both the combination of the colours of the sweaters and the spiral shapes makes the rug look a bit like a giant geode. Personally I think it looks a bit like a stick of seaside rock.

I do like this geode spiral look which inspired me to make a painted wood slice rustic heart to match the felt rug.

I do like to make my own rugs from upcycling fabrics and old clothes. I have also made a no-sew DIY denim waistband rug and another denim handmade chevron rug.

DIY sweater felt rug

You will find a lot more clever upcycling ideas in this comprehensive list.

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Lana

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Wool Sweaters – I used the equivalent of 4-5 sweaters for this felt rug. They should be at least 70-80% wool. Mine were mainly cashmere and some lambswool. You can also use scrap pieces of felt or sweater felt for this DIY too!

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Thank you

9 Recycle DIY Upcycle-DIY Super Elegant Tutorials - Next Viral Stuff

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

[…] Have fun recycling your old wool sweaters into a gorgeous DIY felt rug. No sewing required to make this colourful and unique handmade rug for your home. Click Here […]

Tracy

Tuesday 22nd of January 2019

What a lovely and creative recycling project! Thanks for sharing it! Can I ask? How well does it hold up to use? Or is it better in a low-traffic area?

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 22nd of January 2019

Thank you. My son currently has it in his roomy at university and he says it’s held up well. However, I wouldn’t have it in a high traffic area.

SHEILA

Thursday 6th of December 2018

I love the pattern. But wouldn't a felted rug start to pill when subjected to wear and tear? I would hang it on the wall instead.

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 6th of December 2018

Thank you, Sheila. My son currently has it in his room and college and it's holding up well so far. But I don't think it's the sort of rug you walk across with shoes on.

Jodie

Monday 28th of May 2018

"Hello Claire. Great tutorial :) I especially like your idea of using recycled sweaters. Have included it in our Crafty Like Granny weekly Craft roundup. I'm sure our readers will love it! https://craftylikegranny.com/crafting-happiness/ Cheers Jodie :)  "

Claire Armstrong

Monday 28th of May 2018

Thank you, Jodie. I look forward to seeing it.

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