Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Toothbrush Rag Rug Tutorial

I wanted an old fashioned rag rug for the kitchen.  So I started researching methods and types.  I found one I really loved called a Toothbrush Rag Rug.  So named as the women used to take old toothbrushes with the hole in the end of the handle and make a needle out of it.  They cut the head off the toothbrush off and filed the stem into a point.   The instructions seemed pretty easy so  I started collecting my material.   I wanted the rug to be green and yellow to match the kitchen colors.  Tried to find bed sheets in colors I wanted to use at the thrift shops but didn't have a lot of luck.  I was able to get some other scraps of material from my niece when we went to visit.  I ended up buying some fabric at the craft and sales are AWESOME!!

I decided to use some of the scrapes in darker colors to make a small "test" rug.  I was able to finish it in a few days, just working on it an hour or so after work.  It wasn't perfect but I loved it anyways.  I learned a few tricks along the way to use on the next one and make it better.

Not too bad for a first attempt.  This rug is now in the bedroom of the tiny house and fits perfectly in the space.

I have had requests for an instructional post so I'm going to attempt it. This will be for an oval rug.  I've not yet done round or rectangular ones. I tried to take pictures of the steps and hopefully you all can follow it easily.  Here goes!!

Decide how big you want your rug to be lengthwise.  My rug is going to be 5 foot.  You will need to make your beginning center half the length of the rug, in this case 30 inches. 

First, you need to make your "needle" out of something handy.  If you have a toothbrush with a hole in the end, perfect.  Most of the new ones don't have that hole, so I took some scrape copper wire I had and bent it into shape.  You could also use an old wire coat hanger to do this.

Here's my wonderfully crafted needle.  I just bent the wire in a somewhat oval shape with a wider end for the material.  I then wrapped the ends with duct tape.  Easy peasy!

I had completed a little more than half my rug when I decided to do this post so bear with me as I try to explain how to start.

You need to rip your material into strips about 1 to 2 inches wide.  If you are using cotton, you can make a small cut at the top of your material and then just rip it the rest of the way.  It should stay pretty consistent but you will get threads hanging off.  I just pull them off when they get in my way.

Take two pieces of your material and tie them together.  There is a nifty way to join them without big knots.  You need to make a small hole in the ends of all your strips for joining.  I used two different colors to show this to you.

Take the first strip(yellow) and feed it through the hole of the second(green).  Then take the tail of the first strip and feed it through the hole at the strips head.  Follow me so far?

Just give it a pull and it will tighten into a nice small join.  This will keep knots out of your rug.

One strand of material (green) will be your "filler" fabric.  This will be what you loop around.  I use a safety pin through my slip knot and attach it to a pillow or something to hold the material tight when I'm making my center.  Your working strip (yellow) is what you will be doing the knotting with.  You start with it on your left hand side, cross it over the green one, go under the green one and cross back over the yellow one.  Pull the yellow one tight to make the first knot.

My pictures of how it should look didn't come out clearly so here's an example of how the knots should look.  You don't have to pull them to tight as you will be going back through them later.

Once you get to the end of your length, you need to turn your piece so that the working strip (yellow) is now on your right side and the filler strip(green) is on the left.  You will then pull the filler tail down the left side of the row you just finished.  Pull your working strip around as well.  You are going to be weaving the working strip into that row you just finished.  Again no great beginning pics.

Imagine that the white strip I'm touching is the first knot row you made.  The green is your filler strip and the white & green is your working strip.

Feed your needle with your working strip on it through the hole and under the green filler strip, then back over the working strip and pull into the finished knot.

At this point, I didn't take a bunch of pictures so I'm going to link a blog post with lots of good YouTube step by step videos on it.

Rag Rug Cafe - Beginners Toothbrush Rag Rug

It took me a little over two weeks to complete my rug.  I was only able to get an hour or two a night in during the week. It's a little over 5 foot long and a little over 3 foot wide.  When it was finished, I sewed a few strips of rubber shelf liner to the bottom of the rug.  This keeps it from slipping around on the floor. 

As you can see, it fits perfectly in my kitchen space!  I was extremely happy with how it turned out and hope the next one is even better.  I had a lot of fun working on this. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Our Tufted Headboard!

We've been slow at getting things done on Tiny lately.  We've had lots going on here.  Vacations, helping out friends with home repairs and other various things to do.  We have gotten a few minor things that needed to be done on Tiny but nothing huge.  We are trying to get things moving along on schedule again.  We ordered our pump and other various parts needed for the shower system.  While waiting on them, we decided to make our headboard, since it was a rather quick project on the "To Do" list.

I really wanted a headboard to make the bed look like an actual bed, not just a mattress on the floor.  We looked at a few styles and we both liked the look of the tufted headboards.  After watching a few YouTube videos, we found one that had the best instructions for doing your own.  I'll be sure to link it at the end of the post.

  We used a piece of 1/2 inch plywood as the backer.  We figured out how the diamonds would lay and marked the rows.

 Drill the holes where the buttons would be.  It doesn't need to be a large hole.  Just big enough to pass the upholstery needle through.

Use spray adhesive to put the 2 inch thick foam down on the plywood.  We marked our holes on top by poking the needle up through foam from the bottom and marked it with a marker.

We used a 1 1/4 inch hole saw and drilled out each spot in the foam where the buttons will sit.  This hole does NOT go through the plywood.

On the holes along the edges, cut a straight line through the foam.  This is done all along the headboard.

Lay down a layer of quilt batting on top of the foam.  Cut a small slit in each of the holes and the lines along the edges.  Turn your fabric over and mark the center.  This is the first button you will add.

 Most people use the buttons that you can add fabric to but those were a bit expensive when we figured out how many buttons we would need (37).  I found these cute coconut carved buttons that came in a 10 count pack for $3.00.  Way cheaper...and they matched our material very nicely. 
Make sure you get a heavy duty string for pulling the buttons tight. We bought some string we thought would be strong enough but had a few snap under the pressure.  I ended up having to double up the string on each button.  

To attach your first button, find the first hole in the foam and use your needle to pull the button through to from top to bottom.  Pull the button as tight as you can and staple the string to the back of the plywood.  We used a zigzag pattern to staple the string securely.  You can see the beginnings of pleats here.  

Pull the first row buttons through and staple them in place.  You can see the pattern trying to form already.

Work one row at a time.  Pull all your buttons in that row through but do not staple them just yet.  Once you have them all in place.  Start in the center and work outward.  Staple one at a time so you can shape the pleats.  Make sure the pleated lines are facing downward so dust doesn't collect inside them.

Once all the buttons are attached, start working the fabric down into the edge cuts.

I went a step further and tied knots in all my strings at the last staple.  Just to bed sure it wouldn't pull through at a later date.  Trim all your string ends.

Pull your fabric tight around the edges.  Align your pleats along the edge so they are flat and neat.  Staple the material tight to the back as you go.  Work one edge completely before moving to the next. Trim any excess material or just staple it securely.  Most people put a fabric backing over this when they finish.  Since ours is going to be mounted to the wall, I didn't bother.

And here's the finished project!  I was extremely happy with how it turned out.  We made some simple metal brackets to mount it to the wall.  Just strips of flat metal with screw holes drilled into them.  I forgot to get pictures!  We wanted to hide the brackets behind the headboard so we figured out where we wanted it to sit.  Measured our brackets and screwed the top ones loosely to the head board.  We then figured out how far the headboard pivoted up when we swing it upwards on the brackets.  We measured that distance down and screwed the top brackets loosely to the wall.  Once it was in the proper place, we screwed the lower brackets tight to the wall.  These are hidden behind the bed so you can't see them.  Kinda confusing I know...sorry.

Tada!  Headboard in place. The tan material goes well with the red stain of the wood in the bedroom.  I really like that the buttons are not the same as the material as well.  It makes them stand out more.

All in all, we spent about $120.00 to make this headboard.  We have a lot of the plywood left over for another project as well.  Now, I need to make some curtains that will go well with the headboard!

Here is the YouTube video we used just in case my instructions are confusing.  :)

Tufted Headboard DIY Video

Thanks for reading and please let us know what you think.  :)