T-Shirt Rug Tutorial

Here’s another project that fits firmly into the “tired of staring at it because it’s been sitting on my desk for over a year so I might as well finish it” category!


There’s no real reason that it took me so long to finish, other than I got continuously distracted by other projects and lost my momentum on it. It was the fourth crocheted t-shirt rug from this series that I posted a while ago, in which I allude to the method but don’t provide much of an explanation. Today I am remedying that!

But FIRST! Here’s how to make T-shirt yarn via Endlessly Inspired.

I got the idea of using yarn to crochet around the t-shirt strips from Pinterest (of course) but felt that I could make things a little more interesting by experimenting with stitch designs..

MerryPrankster2…. which was fun, but sometimes one desires a more mindless exercise. So I experimented with ducking the t-shirt yarn strip in front of and behind the stitch, and came up with a design that makes the strip form  eye-pleasing rings of bobbles or nubs, or in the case of my most recent rug, stones on sand.


Crocheting around the T-shirt yarn in this way is soooooo much easier, neater-looking, and more economical  than trying the crochet the t-shirt yarn itself. I always make my own t-shirt yarn, so it’s also better because it’s easy to switch from one ball to another with this method. So enough talk… how is it done?

Crocheted T-shirt Rug How-To


UPDATE 3/2020: I now have a video on my YouTube Channel that demonstrates this technique – view this video by following the link or keep scrolling to view right here on the blog πŸ™‚ 

You need:

A large amount of cotton or acrylic yarn (A skein of Caron One Pound usually gets the job done nicely, with some to spare)

T-shirt Yarn (I use home-made, but store bought works too!)

A 6.00 mm hook

Start by making a magic ring. 6 sc into the ring tightly. Sc into the first sc of the first round to begin a joinless, in-the-round crochet circle. *

*I will not be giving instructions for increases in the round because I’m making the assumption that the crocheter already knows how to handle this – just work them in the same proportion as you usually would or decide how many you need to keep it flat as you go. 

In the second round of stitching, hold the t-shirt yarn flat against the last row and start to stitch the single crochet over the tail of this yarn until you have worked 3-5 stitches or have anchored it securely. Once you have secured the t-shirt yarn, you will begin weaving it in and out of the sc stitches.

This isn’t a picture of the second round, but you can see where I have begun the new strip by anchoring it within the sc stitching before I start weaving it in and out.

Continuing to work in the round (and adding increases where necessary), hold the t-shirt yarn to the back of your work and work a sc in the next stitch. Keep in mind that the t-shirt yarn should be completely to the back of the work so that the yarn is not held within the stitch at all.

*Tightening the sc after working it by holding the loop steady and pulling on your working yarn makes the rug nice and firm and helps the t-shirt yarn bobbles look neat.

Before you work the next stitch, bring the t-shirt yarn completely to the front of the work, so that you are working your next sc behind the t-shirt strand.


Work the next sc, tighten it down if necessary, then return the t-shirt strand to the back of the work – this will wrap the t-shirt yarn around the stitch you just made, creating a little t-shirt bobble.

With the t-shirt yarn at the back, make another sc in the next stitch.


Continue alternating holding the t-shirt yarn in front or back, until you get near the end of the strand or decide to change colors. Return the t-shirt yarn to the top of your work and work a series of several sc stitches OVER the yarn, so that it is trapped in the stitch again. Do this until the end is reached, then begin the next strand the same way.

I like to vary the proportion of bobbles in the front (i.e – bring the t-shirt yarn to the front every two stitches, every three stitches, etc) to provide visual interest, or alternate rounds of bobbles with rounds of t-shirt yarn carried along inside openwork stitches.

T-Shirt Yarn Rug Video Demo:

UPDATE 3/2020 & 9/2020: I did eventually make a video guide/tutorial for how I make these rugs! It covers the basic strategies of how I start the rugs in Part 1 (following the basic increases formula to produce a flat circle and then adding in the yarn and crocheting around it) and then how to finish a unique rug in Part 2 (goes over the tricks I use to freeform the outer rings of the rug to create decorative stitching). Hope you enjoy!

T-shirt yarn carried inside openwork stitches (granny blocks in this case)

As I’ve mentioned before, carrying T-shirt yarn along while you crochet regular yarn is a lot easier on your hands than trying to crochet the t-shirt yarn itself!  And this way, there’s tons of variations you can try.

My rugs usually end up being somewhere between 32-45″, for use as small accent rugs or even table centerpieces (and if you use all cotton materials, really awesome hotpads are possible!)  Lately, I’ve been thinking more about making them specifically for use as djembe rugs for the drum-circle going type! This of course has nothing to do with the djembe I recently purchased after a drumming workshop.

Ain’t she pretty?

Typical. I finally finish a project that I’ve been dragging my feet on, and I immediately want to start another.



63 thoughts on “T-Shirt Rug Tutorial

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  1. OMG, this looks amazing!! Great job!! Thanks for linking to my t-shirt yarn tutorial! πŸ™‚

    1. I saw this pattern while looking for ways to make rugs on Pinterest and was absolutely in love!! I’ve never crocheted before and so I taught myself so I could try this. After watching your video I was so excited that this is actually fairly simple and I can actually make this for not a lot of money!!! I’ve figured everything out except the tassels you finished with. Is there a tutorial on how to do those? Thanks again!! I’m so excited to be able to create things I love and will use!! (New empty nester needing projects to distract from empty house…this does it!❀️)

      1. Hooray!! I’m so glad you found the tutorial and the video helpful, these have been some of my very favorite projects over the years <3 I don’t have a tutorial available for the fringe part, but that’s just a matter of cutting a lot of lengths of fabric or yarn, then doubling over the strand in order to hook it through… if you search the term “fringe tutorial” on any of my blog, you might find similar instructions with pictures as I do the fringe the same way every time I make it πŸ™‚

  2. Wow. I LOVE the texture of this. It looks like something that should cost 600 bucks at West Elm. I totally hear you on the year long projects though. Way to actually finish ‘er off! Doesn’t it just feel amazing to finally check it off your list?

    1. Definitely – And thank you, I’m glad you like it! The texture is super comfortable to stand on, a bit like a foot massage πŸ™‚ On to my next year-long project!

  3. It looks gorgeous. I have to try this method, T-shirt-yarn is not my favourite yarn to work with, too heavy, but this idea is just fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing!! Gloria

  4. I really like your projects. I use your tutorial about crocheting around a stone,to ‘cozy’ my gemstones and regular stones. Thanks πŸ™‚

  5. Where do you find all of the colorful tshirts to make your tshirt yarn. And enough tshirts to have make enough? I started a crochet a tshirt rug but stopped because I didn’t have enough to finish my round πŸ™ maybe I should tear it all out and start over using this method. Thanks

    1. A lot of my t-shirts come from Goodwill (especially from the half off rack, making them about a dollar a shirt) but I also find them at garage sales and from friends. When shopping for t-shirts I try to get the largest sizes I can find, to get the most for my money. For the rug featured in this post, I think I used somewhere around 4-5 t-shirts (mostly from size large or extra large) but I definitely know what you mean about not being able to finish a round – I’ve made rugs from the traditional t-shirt rug method where you actually crochet the t-shirt yarn and it’s A HUGE pain if you are trying to do it with homemade t-shirt yarn strips, because you only get a handful of yards out of one t-shirt. Using a carrier yarn like I did here makes your homemade yarn go A LOT further. Since I started using this method I have never once been tempted to go back to using the old method, lol!

      1. I can’t wait to make this. What do you mean by carrier yarn? Thanks so much!!

  6. I have never learned to read a pattern but I want to try this. How do you turn t-shirts into yarn?

    1. Thank you! Since I make my rugs out of washable acrylic yarns and cotton T-shirts, I usually just throw them in the washer on gentle cycle and then lay them flat to dry.

  7. Hi, first time visitor here and I am enthralled by this tute. You have come up with a huge winner here. As you said above, trying to crochet with the t-shirts themselves is problematic for several reasons but you have eliminated all that with this ingenious method of using two kinds of yarn and creating a lovely finished product.With the one baseball-sized ball of cotton yarn and a t-shirt of hubster’s I am going to try making a table mat for my sister who is coming to live with us next month forever. I can use her favorite Pastels inside the white cotton yarn.

    Many thanks for this fabulous way of doing tshirt crocheting. You have a new subscriber and fan.

    1. Thank you – I’m excited that you’re going to try it, feel free to ask if you have any questions about the method! I have always wanted to make a table mat set – let me know how it turns out!

    2. Beautiful! What color is the Caron yarn you are using? Can’t tell if it’s the Off White or Lace color or something else?

  8. I would like to know if you have a pattern for the aqua & multicolored rug in the first picture. I think it’s absolutely gorgeous and I’d love to make one.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing. Quite inspirational and very informative. Have given it a go and made my own creation that I would be happy to share.

  10. This is amazing. I was searching for patterns to crochet my first t-shirt yarn rug and I came across your pattern. So lovely and a great idea. Thanks!!!!!

  11. I love the rug! Is there a way to do a rectangle rug? I would like to make a 2 x 5. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cheryl! Yes, there probably is a way to do a rectangle using this method, though I’ve never tried yet πŸ™‚ I imagine you’d have to start with a small circle in the center, then add four evenly placed increases (of at least 3 stitches but maybe 5?) every round to form the corners. That’s just a guess though! πŸ˜‰

  12. Hii!!

    I LOOOOVEEE this rug! I’m a total beginner and every project seems super daunting. But this seems like it would be an awesome daunting project to start with! You mentioned you are in the process of developing a video for it. Can you tell me where I can follow you to anticipate the video? I have so many skein of cotton tape yarn left from mask making. Would love to put it to use and make it something beautiful!

    Thank you!

      1. Absolutely! Glad you found it – I may even do another video sometime soon, since I still have to finish that rug in the video πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ lol! Thanks!

  13. Hah!! Now we’re talking. I’m reasonably handy with a crochet hook but working with just tee shirt yarn defeated me. This looks so much more doable. I need to retrieve those tee shirts from the donation box in the back seat of my car right now. If this works for me, I’ll be donating pet beds to my favorite shelter instead. Thanks!

    1. Oh yay, I’m so happy you found the suggestion useful and are inspired (shelter pet beds sounds absolutey perfect!). I just couldn’t do the full t-shirt yarn crochet, lol! Such a pain in the wrists! πŸ™‚ <3 Thanks for visiting!

  14. I was wondering if you could ballpark a time frame for making a 32-45″ round tshurt yarn rug? I haven’t crocheted 35 tears but just LOVE it!- tks for all you do

    1. Hi Amber! Unfortunately I never time myself when I work, as I pick things up and put them down so often, so I don’t know even how long it would take me to make – but you might be able to get more of a sense of the process and how long it takes by watching the tutorial videos linked in this post, where I crochet in real time πŸ™‚ Good luck!

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