Rug makers have long held the secrets of their craft close to their chests and have safe-guarded them for countless generations. Little by little, these techniques have been uncovered and shared, shining light on this specialised craft, and now that the veil has been lifted, pretty much anyone can try their hand at making rugs.
With a few tools, some yarn and an easily constructed frame, you too can create your very own custom rug at home in less time than you’d think.
The real challenge is getting your supplies in order.
What you will need:
Additional supplies: (Not totally necessary)
Once a design has been planned out and you are ready to transfer it to a rug, you can either hand sketch your design (keep in mind the final design will be in reverse) or transfer it somehow. The most popular approach is to use a projector and many new projector models include a button to flip the image).
After you have traced your design to your stretched fabric, you have the option of creating it in either loop-pile or cut-pile. These are specific stylistic factors that will literally influence the overall look and feel of your creation; not only in terms of aesthetics but also in comfort.So which style should you go with?
First we need to understand how the rug or carpet is constructed.
Loop pile is a technique where the yarn is looped as a needle directs it through the primary fabric before returning it to the gun. Loop pile rugs are quite durable and are a good choice for areas of high foot traffic but aren't quite as soft as cut-pile floor pieces. If you plan on creating wall pieces then this isn't really an issue though.
Cut pile indicates that the ends of the loops have been trimmed.
They are typically softer and are easier to clean. Cut pile also is softer underfoot. A huge advantage is that cut pile can be further cut, trimmed, carved and/or sheared using other tools.
Which style is better?
It is really a matter of preference and you wont be disadvantaged by starting with either technique. Determining your own personal preference can be a good indicator but keep in mind that it could be influenced by the kind of work you plan on doing.
Take some time out to take in some tufted work online.
A quick glance at Instagram brought up a few interesting Loop-pile examples.
Here's a great Letterman piece by @rugsbynaya
The following loop-pile rug by @maxcurtisart is a great showcase of the range of the medium. Creating a piece with solid colours is made a lot easier with loop pile guns. While the loops create a nice effect, you can see how they would make a much rougher pillowcase or rug to crash out on.
Here is a classic logo piece created by @visionary.rugs. The Playboy bunny shape has been nicely defined using a combination of cut pile and further trimming. Hopefully you can start to see the possibilities with this style of rug-making and envision how you would apply them to your work.
Check out the detail in this custom cut pile piece created by @keurugs. Certain designs lend themselves to rug making better than others so keep this in mind when planning.
This floor-piece by @steffieelshoutt demonstrates the power of simplicity both with her line and colour choices.
This following cut-pile by Benjamin Reeve was created by sketching directly onto the backing fabric before hand tufting the piece. It was then further shaped and trimmed using scissors. You can see how cut-pile allows for a variety of blending techniques.
Some tufters choose to work utilising a combination of techniques within each piece. Cut pile and loop pile work wonders in combination. If you do decide down the road to see how your work translates to another technique, all is gained and nothing is lost by investing in another tufting gun.
Once you become accustomed to using your machine there are other factors that can be introduced to further experiment with your work. Here are a few suggestions worth consideration: