{How to} Rag Rug Wreath

wreath featured image TEXT

We need to thank the early 1900s for this nifty, thrifty craft! The best fabrics to use are woollen or jersey weight fabrics but you can use whatever you like, just keep in mind that the thicker your fabric the tuftier your rug.

A quick note about fancy pants crafting gadgets that you dont really need. You dont need a rugging tool, also (and brilliantly) known as a bodger, to make a rag rug. You can use a crochet hook, and if you don’t have one of those you could use a chopstick to push the strip through the hessian. What? Not even a chopstick? Try the end of a thinnish pencil. You dont need a rotary cutter and metal ruler to cut your strips of cloth, scissors work just fine, but gadgets make these jobs much quicker. If you like the look of rugging and think you might like to do more then you can invest in a bodger if you wish. Ok, enough with the gadgets, moving on…

red wreath strips

You will need:

  • Two identical cardboard rings (the size you want your wreath to be)
  • Pen
  • Fabric scraps, plus an extra piece to cover the back of your wreath
  • Hessian
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Crochect hook/ rugging tool
  • glue
  • string or ribbon for hanging

Step one. Cut strips of fabric 1 inch wide and 4 inches long from your fabric.

Step two. Draw around your cardboard rings onto you hessian but don’t cut them out yet!

draw around template

Step three. You can start anywhere you like inside the rings you have drawn on your hessian. Crochet hook users – Push your crochet hook into a space in the weave, fold a strip of fabric in half, grab the middle of the loop with your hook and draw it back through the fabric, then pull HALF of the strip through so it looks like the red tufts in the photo below. Bodger botherers – The same technique really but you dont need to fold your strip you can just grab the end with your bodger and pull the strip through instead.Tuft one done! Skip 3 of 4 threads, push your hook through and repeat. Keep going until your wreath has reached your ideal festively fluffy fullness.

Step four. Leaving a wide margin of at least an inch, more if the size of your cardboard backing will allow, cut around the outer circle of the ring you drew on your hessian. Cut tabs around the outside edge. For the hole in the middle of the wreath, cut tabs (like the segments of a chocolate orange) from the middle of the hole back to the inner edge of the wreath.

tabs red wreath

Step five. Apply fabric glue to the back of the hessian and one of the cardboard rings and allow it to become tacky before carfeully sticking your newly tufted wreath to the cardboard backing making sure that you’ve lined up the edges as best you can. Fold the tabs to the back of the cardboard ring.

hanging loop

Step six. Cut a piece of fabric at least an inch wider than your remaining cardboard ring. Cut tabs into this piece of fabric in the same way you did to your hessain. Glue the fabric to the second ring, folding the tabs over to the back to create a clean edge.

Once both halves have dried, glue a loop of ribbon to one of the rings so that you can hang your finished wreath. I also added a string of red sequins to my green wreath at this stage to add a splash of colour and sparkle.

Finally stick the two rings together, hang you wreath up, stand back and admire your handy work!

These wreaths are so easy to make and have a neat, professional looking finish, and because they are so easy to personalise they make fantastic gifts too.

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{How to} make a fabric bowl

Because all of your beautiful things need pretty places to live. No more tangled necklaces or frantic searches for house keys as you are rushing out the door, these bowls are a great way to use up all scraps of fabric and add some style to your storage solutions at the same time.

You will need:

  • {How to} Make a fabric bowl: you will needfabric
  • rotary cutter and cutting board and scissors
  • craft glue, water and water-based varnish mixture (recipe below!)
  • bias binding
  • glue brush / foam applicator
  • bowl to use as a mould
  • plastic wrap
  1. Cut your fabric into stripsCut the fabric into strips that are roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and long enough to overhang the edges of your mould. The fabric you use is up to you. Cotton-y fabric works best as it soaks up the gluey slop nicely and is thick enough to hold its shape and whatever you want to put in your dish once it is dry. I’ve tried this with just about every scrap of fabric I could find, you can layer up nets and chiffon and other spangly fabrics to make things a bit more textured or glitzy as long as you keep in mind that you need a reasonable glue-to-absorbent fabric ratio for you creation to hold its shape once it is dry.
  2. The slop. To make your magical wonder glue you will need equal parts of craft glue, water-based varnish and water. I mix the glue and the varnish together first, then thin it with the water to help get the right consistency, you are aiming for that international standard of ‘a pudding-like consistency’. You want your mixture to be thin enough to soak into the fabric but thick enough to stay in the fabric and set the shape of your creation rock solid. Lay your strips onto the mould
  3. Cover your mould in the plastic wrap as smoothly as possible to stop your fabric strips sticking to your mould. Soak your strips in the slop and then lay them onto your bowl crossing them over the centre and filling in the gaps as you go. (I put mine on the inside of the bowl but you can use the outside instead, it just depends what you want the final shape to look like.) The first bowl I made got quite bulky on the base where all of the strips overlapped in the center of the bowl and it wouldn’t sit still. To stop this from happening lay the first four strips in a star shape and then cut your remaining strips in half and use these to fill in the gaps. Build up two layers.
  4.  The easy step. Let it dry. Completely.
  5. Lift your bowl out of the mould, peel off the plastic wrap and trim off the excess fabric at the top.Trim off any excess
  6. Cut your bias binding to length. Apply some glue mixture to the inside of the bias binding and glue it over the edge of the bowl. A fiddly business at the best of times, but made slightly easier by gluing the tape and the edge of the bowl at the same time and allowing them to go tacky before pressing them together. Once the binding was finally all glued in place I covered just the bias binding in a layer of the glue mix so that it would have the same finish as the rest of the bowl.
  7. You can always add a layer of varnish to your finished bowl if you want it to be super sealed and sturdy. (I decoupaged a trunk when I was a teenager which I sealed with a couple of layers of varnish and my son uses it as a toy chest now. The colours have faded a little but the magazine pages are all still perfectly intact!) I don’t think I’ll bother with varnishing mine, I’m happy with how solid and sealed they seem, once yours are dry it’s up to you!

and you are finished! There is something really pleasing about making these bowls, it’s one of those cutting-sticking-paper-mache-being-a-kid-was-the-best happy places that finishes up with a grown up bowl that you can personalise to your heart’s content and show off to all your friends.

For more bowl based inspiration see my {Gallery} here.