I totally fudged up a DIY rug project that I was working on a few weeks ago (not to be confused with yesterday’s pretty, contemporary rug for DIY Network). I don’t know how you take it when something goes completely off track, but more than anything, I get really annoyed that I wasted money on materials that are trashed ($11). I’m not that type of person/blogger/DIYer/maker who puts forth energies to make things that aren’t going to serve a purpose (i.e. it’s not often that I feel compelled to make something just for the sake of having a project to show). What I make is really for (and displayed in) our house.
The piece of $11 painter’s drop cloth that was supposed to become a substantial rug could have been used much more productively, and I can think of at least 20 other things I’d rather have purchased had I known it was going to end up being such a butt, some of them being:
- Two venti mochas (date-slash-work morning at Starbucks!)
- A Groupon for our local sushi restaurant
- A new RIBBA frame for Julia’s room
- New socks for fall (hello, cold mornings)
- Stamps for my wedding shower invites
In any case, I eluded to this screwed up project on facebook and instagram and for whatever reason, people still seemed to want to hear about it, so I decided it might be worth sharing to some extent because believe it or not, there were a few tips learned that might be helpful for you if you’re planning your own DIY area rug.
1. Canvas drop cloths dye well.
I knew this from previous crafties, but the plain canvas absorbs color both evenly, and very well. My fabric dying experience does not extend far beyond the super simple-to-use iDye packets in a top-loading washing machine, but my only tip to dying fabric is that when the packet fully dissolved, be sure to fully submerge the fabric in the full tub of dyed water before the wash cycle starts. Work hard to eliminate any bubbles in the fabric and really get it soaked. Think of it like kneeding your canvas dough pre-baking. It comes out really pretty, mine was like the pot of gold at the end of a cheery rainbow.
2. Canvas shreds like crazy when cut, and that is frustrating.
In attempting to make this carpet, I folded the 6’x9′ fabric into thirds lengthwise, leaving myself with a 2’x9′ length. While folded, I began cutting it into 2-3″ strips of fabric with the intent of braiding them together to create what hopefully would be a 2′ wide carpet, with a length between 5-7′ assuming some length would be lost while weaving the strands.
Canvas dropcloths are traditionally nice and hemmed around the edges, and it looks ok freshly cut in the above picture, but as soon as I started manhandling the fabric, it started fraying a lot, and those frayed strands quickly became canvas-textured dreadlocks. That snarled. Endlessly.
3. Braiding 9-feet of fraying fabric with interlocking dreadlocks is hard.
And it lead to more fraying. And ugly braids. Period. So I went with a different knotted approach, thinking I could have a handsomely knotted long runner. Like this:
4. Having a secure base for weaving is key.
Flashback to camp, age 10. Weaving friendship bracelets on the side of the picnic table without the ends of your string secured tightly made you want to pop your BFF in the face. What you really needed back then was one clean strip of duct or Gorilla Tape, but what camp had was lame ass scotch tape, and even layering 4 strips of it wasn’t going to hold your rainbow strands more in place as you tugged on them. If you want a killer bracelet, you have to tug on those cross knots.
When I began, I considered this rug a giant friendship bracelet, and what worked best for the weight of the material happened to be a set of pants hangers from our own closet. Hooked over one of the chairs in our living room, they offered the perfect amount of support so that I could apply some tension to the knots while I was making them happen. Wham, bam, carpet’s secure, man.
5. Knots take up a lot of fabric.
Not only did knotting eat up the length of the fabric fast, but it made my rug very thick and cushy, but not in a good way. More so a stub-your-foot-and-then-slip-on-your-butt kind of way.
This poor concept would never even be a 2’x3′ rug. And that’s depressing, when I envisioned it as a 2’x6′-ish woven rug that could sit beneath our kitchen sink.
I’m not sure you can get a full scale here, but each knot is about a 3″ square, rendering it thick and bunchy. And only 16″x 24″ if I stretch at it a bit. Not everyday-friendly.
Sorry for the let down. If anyone else tries a canvas-weave project and succeeds, I must see the photos.