I recently wove a rug from recycled t-shirts. When I shared the photos and videos on social media, a few people asked how to make such a rug. In this episode, I share how you can do it without expensive weaving equipment.
You can listen to my original podcast episode about this from December 2020 in this YouTube video:
Making Yarn from Recycled T-Shirts
This is my favorite video showing how to make t-shirt yarn – it’s by Mindful Makers – the first half is about tie-dying the shirts. The yarn making starts at around 35 minutes.
Setting Up a Loom
However, you don’t need to build a loom. You can weave a rug on any large wooden square or rectangular frame. Learn the basics from Annabel Wrigley in this wonderful beginner video:
Put the Warp on the Loom
If you don’t want to put nails or screws in your frame, you can tie the warp on your frame. That’s what my mom did when she wove in August 2016:
Here is a timelapse video of me weaving on my tapestry loom. You can’t tell very clearly from this video, but I am “bubbling” i.e. putting the weft threads in as tiny arcs or rainbows in order to have enough slack in the weaving. That is the trickiest part about weaving – leaving enough slack in the weft so the rug doesn’t start drawing in towards the middle and thus is no longer a rectangle or square.
If the idea of lifting each warp thread by hand doesn’t appeal to you, you can get a loom with a “shed system” i.e. some method for opening the shed automatically. This blog outlines various shed systems for looms. The least expensive is likely a rotating heddle bar.
My rug was all one color. If you want to add patterns, check out Annabel Wrigley’s video #4:
Also, Spruce and Linen has a great video about how to put a shape right in the middle of your piece:
Past Trashmagination Episodes about Weaving or T-shirts or Both
- Episode 3 – weaving plastic bags
- Episode 13 – trash fashion where I showed the dresses I made by weaving plastic bags on my tapestry loom
- Episode 41 – creative reuse of t-shirts