How to Make a Denim Rug
Put the softness of a well-worn pair of jeans underfoot by transforming old denim into a soft and fringy rug.
Inject the classic look and softness of denim into your decor. This simple upcycling project puts old denim to use in a beautiful new way. With the help of a stiff wire brush, the edges of the denim are instantly frayed, giving the rug color, pattern, and gorgeous, soft texture.
When looking for denim at a thrift store, start with the largest-sized pants you can find. You will be looking for a fabric that you like, but consider the style of the jeans also. Skinny style jeans will limit the amount of fabric you can cut from them. Also, think beyond guys jeans. Head over to the women’s section and look through the dresses and skirts for denim, too. And if you don’t find enough, you can always supplement your used denim with yardage from the fabric store.
These instructions are for a rug that is 2’ x 3’. Of course, it could be adjusted to fit other dimensions. However, it should be noted that the longest pieces of denim you will get from a pair of jeans before running into a pocket or zipper is about 28 inches after the bottom hem is removed. Therefore, if you wanted your rug to be wider than 28 inches, you would either have to sew two strips in one row or use fabric from a fabric store.
- jeans (15-20) or other denim
- 1-1/2 yard canvas or heavy twill fabric
- rotary cutter and sewing ruler
- iron and ironing board
- sewing machine
- denim needle and thread
- stiff wire brush
Step 1: Cut Demin
Cut the legs from the jeans as close to the back pocket as possible. Remove all of the seams and the hem from each leg. Cut the remaining fabric into strips that are 4" wide x 24" long. Set aside.
Step 2: Cut and Hem Canvas Backing
Cut the canvas or heavy twill fabric to 26" wide x 40" long. Fold over each edge by 1" and press in place with a hot iron. Fold each fold again by 1" and press in place. Sew each fold very close to the open edge, backstitching at the start and finish.
Step 3: Pin Denim to Canvas Backing
One at a time, pin the denim strips to the canvas backing. Fold a denim strip in half lengthwise to determine the center. Pin the center to the canvas with the end of the denim strip extending 1" beyond the edge of the canvas. Start the first strip about 1/2" from the end of the rug. The following strips should be pinned very close to the previous strip, about 1/8" to 1/4" apart. Depending on your spacing, this rug will require approximately 120 strips.
Step 4: Sew Denim Strips to Canvas Backing
Change the foot on your sewing machine to a zipper foot. Sew the strips in place by stitching down the center of the strips and backstitching at the start and finish of each. Continue until you have added enough strips to fill the canvas backing.
Step 5: Add Texture
After all of the strips have been added, use a stiff wire brush to scruff up the edges of each denim strip. Pull away the strings and discard. Use scissors to remove any remaining thread from fraying or sewing.