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).



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


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.




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!


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)!



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I make a lot of rugs in the

I make a lot of rugs in the winter but I am taking the summer off because I like to be outside when the weather is so nice. Anyone else doing the same?

Your video instuctions for

Your video instuctions for prep1 and prep2 are very dark and hard to see. I have tried to lighten on my computer but it is not making the picture clear to see.

My mother-in-law made

My mother-in-law made beautiful octagonal tooth brush rugs. They are very prized possessions to her family, especially now that she is gone. Why didn't I learn from her, but too late now and I can understand your instructions and videos very well My questions is, when did she start the octagon shaping,did she have to start with a certain number of base braids(knots).Any other info that would be helpful.Could you do a tutorial video on making an octagonal rug?

Use a bobby pin instead of

Use a bobby pin instead of crafting a tool. All you have to do is thread it through the slit at the end of the fabric. It is very easy to remove the bobby pin when you need to add a new strip of fabric.

My son and I are making circle rugs and my daughter is making an oval rug. They are so excited to be able to make new rugs for their bedrooms. We work on them together- great family bonding time. Have fun! :)

Hi, thanx a lot for tutorial.

Hi, thanx a lot for tutorial. its really good but i just want to ask that i started to make rug but instead of becoming a proper rug shape it is giving a cap shape look not a rug shape . secondly i m using some flexible stuff for making rug .may be because of this stuff i am unable to give my rug a proper shape.
can you please give me some suggestions.

My circle rug started out as

My circle rug started out as a lovely hat as well. I added a lot of extra knots-about two knots for every other hole. This has helped my rug to relax a bit. It is still lumpy in the middle, but the edges are looking great now.

These videos were great.

These videos were great. I've never seen such detailed and visual instructions before(except for Carla Cam of Auntie Beads - thanks so much Carla). I have a huge problem. I learned how to bead jewelry in the past few months and can't stop! It can be so expensive and so fun! So I decided I had to find a new craft to stop my obsession and somehow decided on rag rugs. (I need a new rug for my living room anyway.)

I've always wondered why you hardly ever see a large rag rug. Is it because of the intense time involved? And is that also why they are so expensive?

When I was little my beloved grandmother, Mum-Mum Bowers (as opposed to my other beloved Mum-Mum Moore), taught me to make little ropes with empty wooden thread spools and some nails nailed to the top. You would weave the yarn around the nails and slip the yarn off in between the nails and a "rope" would slowly start to come out the bottom. I ALWAYS wanted to make a rug out of those ropes. Does anyone out there know how to duplicate this craft on a larger scale? As easy as you made rag rugs look, I still would love to do it my Mum-Mum's way.

Highly descriptive post, I

Highly descriptive post, I enjoyed that a lot. Will there be
a part 2?

great rug!

great rug!

I cant agree enough with

I cant agree enough with everyone else. You have give such great instructions. I cannot wait to get started!

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Thanks for the video clips.

Thanks for the video clips. They were very enlightening!
Years ago (15-20) I was taught how to make these rugs and did so for a time. It was enjoyable to make them. Then, my wife and I moved and I packed all my supplies away. I haven't opened the boxes of "strips" in 4 or 5 years...and I guess I packed away my knowledge of how to make them, then, too! ha.
Watching your clips reminded me of things I had totally forgotten. THANK YOU for being so complete with your instructions.
I don't know that I will do it now, but just seeing these has given me the desire to open those boxes (they are still in storage!) and go for it! Besides...I have some gifts to make. :-)

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Thank you! Thank you! I love

Thank you! Thank you! I love your videos and wanted to come back and comment on how wonderful they are.
I'm a sewer, knitter, crafter and HOARDER. I've just finished a rug using material from maternity pants I wore when I was pregnant with my daughter...she is 22.
I used material from pants and the matching tops and added to that using t-shirts of coordinating colors. It is beautiful! The sentimental peices that should have been thrown out years ago, at least after my third pregnancy, 15 years ago, have made an amazing rug.
I'm so glad to hear from other 'ruggers' that I did not need to spend money on any video, that would just be added to my piles of stuff. Thank you RAG RUG CAFE!

I'd love to see a photo of

I'd love to see a photo of your rug, Lib. Closeups of the completed rugs, including any Rag Rug Cafe might have would be very helpful. I just spent $27 on 2 patterns and a needle from Aunt Philly. As long as she has been in business, surely she knows by now her instructions are too sketchy. I am a good visual learner and have learned several crafts from books, including knitting and crochet. It's as though she wants you to buy the video out of frustration, yet I've read here that the video was also faulty and I don't want to buy it to hear her preach about the Lord. Rugmakers are wishing to learn about making the rugs, not about personal beliefs that we may even share, yet it is taking unfair advantage of buyers to not devote ALL the video time to the product.

I'm new at this rag ruging

I'm new at this rag ruging and it took me 3 days to make one. But I do enjoy it I have started on my next project a crocheting a rug. Thanks for the infor. Wirhout you and others I would not know how to do this

I had this idea of combining

I had this idea of combining the toothbrush and braided rug together - to get a square /rectangular shape. You begin by taking braids (three strand flat) and coil them back on themselves to make the beginning square or rectangular shape. Then you begin using the toothbrush method around the sewn (or woven) braids like a border. You only need the increases on the actual corner (first 2, then 3, then use whatever you need to to keep it flat as you work it - just keep it the same for each corner per row). Viola! Note: Use whatever width of strip you need to match the thickness of the braided area - experiment with a few test strips.

I suppose you could do the same using the toothbrush method and keep going back and forth to get the same shape then go on around. Haven't tried this, but may experiment with it.

I just tried my first piece

I just tried my first piece and for some reason it looks just like the right stitch but it formed a cone? I don't know why it won't lay flat! Does anyone have any ideas what I may be doing wrong?

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i wish i could do that!

i wish i could do that!

My secret fantasy is to learn

My secret fantasy is to learn to do these things!I hope everyone reads this!I'm a *!

Your super truly,

Brittany spears!

Thanks for the great videos!

Thanks for the great videos! I started a round rug and increased every other stitch and still got a little "cupping" but it seemed to straighten out - now I've increased every 2-3 stitches but it still cups. I put it under heavy books which seems to flatten it out for awhile. I'm wondering if it will flatten as I go or wash it or if I should just start over!
Advice please!

Hello. And Bye.

Hello. And Bye.

After seeing your video, I

After seeing your video, I started making rugs in May 2010. I absolutely love it. I have made 23. Donated one to Relay for life (shades of purple). I have also done 3 that are camoflage. Turned our really cute. No two are alike. I am giving most of them as gifts this Christmas. I use a large darning needle with a big eye. It works best for me. Thank you for the video and simple instructions. I am left handed but this technique doesn't matter because you actually use both hands.

I love this! Thank you for

I love this! Thank you for posting it. I also am glad you showed and explained what you made your tool from. I am so ready to try this project out and get started on it. I have wanted to make one of these for sooooo long, but just couldn't find anyone to show me how and until now couldn't even find directions on the web. I am definitely bookmarking this page!

what a great set of

what a great set of instructions! i will be giving it a try

I have started a rug at least

I have started a rug at least 5 or 6 times, but each time I get any larger than placemat size, the edges start curling up (I'm making an oval). Help! I want to mage a larger size.

Hello, I found a website

I found a website called "Quilters tv", and they have a lot of videos for sewers and crafters. I found one of Aunt Philly showing you how to measure and tear your fabrics, how to make the holes at the ends so you can add to your rug fabric, and how to make your rug lay flat. Her tip was to "NOT" lay your rug across your lap, but to work on a "FLAT" surface when making these rugs. I did order her DVD, although I havent recieved it yet because it was ordered a couple of night ago. I did read here that her video was a rip off, so I will let you know if it is once I get it, but having her show you how to prepare your fabrics on "Quilters Tv" has helped a lot.

She also say's to tear your strips at 2 inches for the rugs, 1 1/2 inch for a table runner, and 1 inch for a placemat. The thickness and bunching up of your rug matters, so the larger the strip (2") for your rug is the best. Then iron them in half. I suggest you go view this short video so you can see how she does it. She also shows you how she does her stitches which are a little different than this site shows you. I hope this helps you all a bit, and she also has patterns, and the toothbrush tool for sale (Which I bought so I can make a rug). Hopefully she has updated her video and shows you how to start the rug, as the other poster said she didnt. I will let you know... Let me know if this helped, okay? Thanks for the lesson here... I can't wait to make one!

Okay, I'm updating on the

Okay, I'm updating on the Toothbrush Rug I purchased from Aunt Philly, and I have to say that my rug is coming out beautiful! I have no clue why two people here said negative things about the video or Philly, but I had called her last Thursday to find out when my dvd would come, and we talked for almost an hour, and she was sooooo extremely nice, and helpful, and told me to call anytime if I needed help. Yes her video is not that long, but she explains and shows you what you need to learn to make her rugs, and after a few attempts at watching her dvd I got it, and also how to increase around the curves. I am not at all disapointed with my purchase, and I'm truely in love with making my rug. So if you feel you need to be shown her rugging, and how to increase around the corners, I would definately recommend her dvd, and her toothbrush tool. It was absolutely worth the money!

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THANK YOU SO MUCH! I simply knew there was an easier method out there and I suspected it was similar to finger crochet--all the resources I saw before insisted you braid, work in new scraps, and then sew. That took about 1 million years. That you are sharing this -- you are doing a huge service to previously failed rugmakers like me, whose scrap-baskets are filled with lumpen projects. Thanks again! This was easy to get and understand.

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great tutorial - can't wait

great tutorial - can't wait to get started. Actually saw a lady in Buffalo, NY who had made several & if I had been able to spend a bit more time there, could have learned your technique then.

I was hoping to learn how to

I was hoping to learn how to make a rag rug but I have a very slow dial-up internet connection and I cannot watch anything on U-Tube. The rugs look very nice and I will search other sites for one with written directions. I will learn --- eventually.

WOW! Thank you! So much fun

WOW! Thank you! So much fun and it doesn't hurt my CTS hands! I am using the screw from our xmas tree base. it has a big loop at one end. Works great!

one question though... mine

one question though... mine is curving into a bowl! what am i doing wrong? will it flatten out in the end? and if not, is there a way to stop it from doing that, so i don't have to start all over?

I am gathering material for

I am gathering material for my first rag rug. Does it all have to be the same texture? Can I use old sheets and t-shirts for the same rug or do I need to pick one?

hey! i'm almost finished with

hey! i'm almost finished with my toothbrush rug, your instructions were very clear and helpful. i'm so thankful!
although i have one question, does the underside need to be lined with a round piece of fabric to keep it flat and more durable, and if so what material should i use?

Finally! Clear instructions

Finally! Clear instructions on how to make a real ragrug! Been wanted to make one for ages (collecting husband's old worn shirts) and could only find the braided how-to. Thank you so much! I'm not a full foot into my first rug, poured myself a cup of tea and will be detoxing from the world this weekend to videos while doing this.

thank u so much. i hav been

thank u so much. i hav been lookin everywhere for somethin like this and now i found it. !!!!! thnx u bitches

i made on of these 4 my

i made on of these 4 my boyfriend out of reely fuzzy fabric & he loved it. it wuz 4 his bday. he thanked me 4 it. then we had sex. it was awesuhm. thnx u bitches

I cannot get to see the video

I cannot get to see the video with the tutorial what please tell me what to do

Are you sure you have the

Are you sure you have the correct software for viewing the video?

Thank you for these simple &

Thank you for these simple & neat instructions. This is cool! I started doing a braided rag rug and now that I have several braids, I've learned that I have to go back with a needle & thread & sew between all the braids. Bummer, I know.
I prefer your instructions - much more simple.

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