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How To Make A Custom Rug Out of Fabric

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I have a very easy and inexpensive trash to treasure transformation for you today.  I found a scrap of vinyl flooring from one of the bathrooms in my house that was discolored.  I was about to toss it in the trash when I thought of a way to salvage it. *To see other projects with this vinyl floor, check out: Updating Vinyl Floor for $10; and How to Paint a Pattern on Vinyl Flooring.

I don’t know about you but when ever I am looking for small area mats or rugs for my kitchen, foyer, or bath I can never find one in the color or style that I envision and end up with nothing or something that I really don’t like. 

Vinyl Floor Scrap Before


I buy it because I need the function of the rug to wipe feet or protect the floor.  This project is going to end that – I am going to use fabric to make a custom rug so my color and pattern options are endless and I will get exactly what I want in color, style and size.

How to Make a Custom Rug Out of Fabric


supplies needed:

  • Scrap of vinyl flooring cut to the desired size
  • (flooring stores sell small remnants inexpensively)
  • T-square
  • Mat knife
  • Fabric
  • Stiff paint brush
  • Spray glue
  • Zinseer Bulls Eye Ultimate Polyurethane – Gloss finish. It is water based  or any water based poly.  Water based won’t yellow your fabric.
  • Duct Tape

This is the fabric I used.  It is printed duck cloth. I bought it at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics on sale for $5.99 a yard. I needed less than a yard for the size of my rug.  It is called HS Gia by Home Seasons.


1. Cut vinyl to size with knife and T-square to ensure you are making straight cuts.


Optional step.  I lightly sprayed the vinyl with white spray paint I had on hand and let it dry.  I didn’t want to be surprised once I put poly on the fabric and have the dark green blocks show through the fabric. If your vinyl is white or all one color you can skip this step. Since the vinyl is to give the fabric some heft it doesn’t matter what it looks like, I could have just flipped the vinyl so I would not have to worry about the hue of the green squares coming through the fabric, but I wanted my rug to look good on the back side too  :)


2.  Turn the vinyl upside down on the wrong side of your fabric and cut the fabric around the vinyl leaving about 3-inches extra on all sides.

3.  Flip both over and use spray glue to adhere the fabric to the vinyl. The best way to do this is to go outside.  Spray the back of the fabric and the top of the vinyl.  (Don’t worry about getting the fabric edges with glue in this step, just the part that will be on top of the vinyl) Let the glue get tacky and then center the fabric on the vinyl.  Smooth with your hands making sure there are no creases or air bubbles.

4.  Using a stiff bristle brush, apply one coat of water-based poly and then let it dry overnight.  It takes a while to dry on fabric.  Once it is dry add another coat, let dry.


Don’t proceed to the next step until you have a t least two coats of poly on your fabric.  My fabric shrunk a tiny bit, so allow for this to happen and then proceed.

Make sure you are covering every section and the edges.   Watch out for air bubbles, and creases – keep pressing them out with the brush.  Push them out to the sides of the rug until they are removed.


You want to build up the layers of the poly so that the fabric is eventually totally covered. You want to get into and cover the grain of the fabric.  Fabric with a tighter weave will not require as many coats as the duck cloth I am using does.   The layers of poly are what make the fabric wipe-able so your rug will stay clean.  If you skimp on layers of poly – dirt would be harder to clean off.


5.  After you have two coats of dry poly on your rug you can now turn the edges and secure them to the back of the vinyl.  The fabric will be stiff, but just pull it tightly around to the back.


6.  Start in one corner.  Use spray glue to attach fabric.  Just a shot on the vinyl, let it get tacky and then press the fabric in as shown below.


7.  Once you have the first corner done work around the vinyl until all the fabric is secure on the back.


8. Then using duct tape – yes – duct tape all around the edges. It is a cheap and strong tape that will make sure your fabric is not going to come off.

Before you use your pretty new rug –  apply a few more coats of poly to make sure you have a wipe-able surface. I did 5 coats. Each coat takes time to dry(the first coat the longest), but it will be worth the wait as the fabric will be able to be cleaned off when it gets dirty.


Here is the fabric rug in my foyer:


Or maybe I will use it in my bathroom-

That’s what makes small area rugs like this so much fun – you can move them all around the house wherever you need a pop of color.

Do it yourself fabric rug

To see how I created a “rug” in my mudroom check out my post: Painting a Rug.


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    1. Hi Dianne-

      The process is very similar to the vintage craft of painting floorcloths from canvas. Using the vinyl as backing makes it so much more sturdy then a canvas one. The way to make sure it stays clean is to intially bulid up the coats of polyurethane on the fabric. Once that is done – the rug can easily be wiped clean.