How to Turn a Carpet Remnant into a Rug

6 Feb

Thank you all for the nice comments on the finished hallway! We sure are loving the space!

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Now onto how I turned a carpet remnant into the runner rug. I mentioned previously that I was having a hard time finding an affordable 20 foot runner. It would almost definitely need to be custom, but I thought for sure have a piece of carpet cut and bound would be an affordable option. I was mistaken. Lowes (at least my Lowes) has a large minimum required for binding which would make it impractical and unaffordable, and Home Depot only offers it on Martha Stewart carpets. The catch is carpet comes in 12 foot wide rolls, and I was told they don’t seam rugs. So I would have to buy a 12 x 20 piece of carpet which would be enough for 4 runners for my hallway. And it would be seriously expensive. However, this is a great option if you’re looking for a 9×12 – no waste.

So I tried a local carpeting store, and they did not seem to appreciate that I wasn’t dropping $1,600 on a rug. They also really tried to dissaude from some of the more affordable carpets, so I left. I mentioned all of my roadblocks to my dad on the phone one day, and he suggested I try to make a rug myself from a remnant or a piece of carpeting purchased from Lowes or Home Depot. We both did a little bit of research, and I talked myself into this being a really good idea.

I hit up a local discount carpeting store that sold remnants and quickly zero’d in on this roughly 11 by 6 foot remnant for $100.

rug remnant

Luckily, it coordinated with my entry rug nicely.

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Due to the shape and size of the rug I purchased, I knew I would need to cut the remnant in half and seam the two parts together. I watched a few youtube videos on how the pros do this. Seaming requires a special iron that runs under $100 (or can be rented for around $15 per day) and heat activated tape for about $5. Another option is pressure sensitive seaming tape. It also runs $5 for a 15 foot roll but doesn’t require heat. The tape is sticky enough to hold the carpeting together. I did a fair amount of research on the pros and cons of using the pressure sensitive tape. It’s obviously a bit cheaper and a lot easier to use, but it’s generally only recommended for seaming carpet in small or tight spaces or for a temporary solution. I took my chances with it anyway. If I find it doesn’t hold up, there’s no reason why I can’t replace it with the heat activated stuff. Our hallway is obviously a high traffic area, and though it’s only been a few weeks, we’ve found it to hold up wonderfully. The binding also helps I think.

This is probably a good place to suggest picking out a carpet without much of a pattern if you’ll be seaming it. I knew this going in, but obviously went with a patterned carpet anyway. The seam isn’t perfect, but it’s close enough for me and not noticeable. More on this later.

Speaking of the binding, I used Instabind from Bond Products. They offer affordable DIY binding options plus how-to videos that make the process a breeze and provide a professional looking edge. Before I ordered anything from them, I purchased a color card and picked out the binding color I liked best for the rug (I ended up going with light tan – second one down on the left).

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Now onto the tutorial. Here are the supplies I used to cut, seam, and bind my rug (I’ve linked to products I used where I can):

Carpet Remnant

Carpet Knife

Straight Edge

Sharpie

Seam Tape

Seam Roller (in retospect this probably wasn’t necessary, but I’m a rule follower)

Instabind Cotton Binding Style in light tan

Hot Glue Gun with this tip

I started by rolling the rug out so it was facing down in the basement.

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First things first, I wanted to clean up all of the edges so they were square. When it came to making the cuts, I used my carpet knife, measuring tape, a straight edge, and a sharpie.

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Using the grid laid out on the carpet backing, I used my sharpie to draw a line down the carpet for my knife to easily follow.

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I used my straight edge to keep my knife from slipping.

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Next up, I needed to cut the carpet in half and join the 2 pieces to get the length I needed. This is where it gets a bit tricky with a patterned rug. It’s not enough to just cut the 2 pieces to the same width. You need to make sure you cut the 2 pieces so the pattern is in the same place on both pieces so when they’re matched up it’s consistent. Once I had this figured out, I cut the first piece to a width of 30 inches. Once again, I used my sharpie to mark the measurement up the length of the carpet.

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Once I made this cut, I lined my 30 inch piece up to the other piece to ensure they were going to be the same width and made my sharpie line.

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At this point I had 2 pieces of carpet that were the same width and had a consistent pattern (for example, I cut both pieces so the pattern on the edges were half diamonds instead of full ones). Now I needed to make sure the diamond pattern would match at the seam. This was not easy, but I managed to get it figured out.

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Seaming the two pieces together was probably the easiest part. I cut the seam tape to the length I needed and peeled back the tape to reveal the sticky part.

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I put one of the carpets on half of the tape

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And carefully lined the other piece up before placing it on the tape too.

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Not bad right?? This is where I used my seam roller to push the adhesive into the carpet backing.

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Now it was time for the moment of truth. I rolled the rug up and hauled it upstairs to see it in place.

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The verdict? Too long (which I knew would be the case). I didn’t want the rug to extend past the wall on the right.

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I eyeballed where I needed to cut the length and marked it with my sharpie. Feline supervision recommended.

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I cut the piece to my desired length in place, and then the hard part was done!

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Next up was the binding. If you end up using instabind, I strongly encourage you to check out the how-to videos on their site. Here’s what the binding looks like:

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The back of the binding is a sticky tape. You just peel the tape back

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And adhere it to the underside of the rug.

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To maneuver around corners, make a cut at the turn and fold the binding.

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Then just make your way down the sides.

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When you get back to where you started, cut the pieces so they line up.

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Next up, I cleaned up the edge of the carpet with scissors from where it was fraying (I probably should have done this before I attached the binding).

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To permanently adhere the binding to the carpet, use hot glue. I purchased this nozzle from Bond Products for $12 to make the job a little easier. photo

Put a bead of glue in the crevice of the binding

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Then squeeze the carpet and the binding together until the glue has hardened.

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Where the ends meet, put a dab of glue on the edges then press them together.

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And that’s it! You’re done! A custom rug for a fraction of the price!

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In the end, I spent roughly $200 0n the rug – $100 f0r the carpet and $100 for the supplies. Of the supplies I purchased, all but the binding (which cost $54 and I mostly used up) can be used when I do this again (and I do hope to do it again!). To have the remnant cut and bound at the carpet store I purchased it from, it would have been $260 total. Only $60 in savings, but as I said, it will be much less expensive in the future now that I have all the tools. The project also took about 4 hours total – hot gluing being the most time intensive part of the process.

I should also note that this is just what worked for me with this particular kind of carpet. I would except other’s experiences to be different based on the carpet and materials used.

I hope this tutorial is helpful for someone else out there!

43 Responses to “How to Turn a Carpet Remnant into a Rug”

  1. Gabbi February 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    This turned out so great…I really wish I had the guts to do a runner for our hallway like you did!!

  2. Karen February 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Wow Kate…that is fantastic. It looks great! I can’t believe how easy you made that look…I’m very impressed! Awesome job!! (and your hallway really looks amazing!)

  3. CSR February 8, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    What a carefully planned and well executed project. The carpet pattern looks great.

  4. Whitney @ drab to fab February 8, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    You did so well with this! The carpet color, the binding, it all looks clean and classy!

  5. Kelly@Bungalow Blue February 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    Wow, this is an incredible tutorial! Everything looks so clean, as if you paid someone else to do it! Fantastic job :)

  6. Carolyn @ Sweet Chaos March 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Great job! If I ever attempt this project, I will definitely be referring to your tutorial. It looks terrific :)

  7. Kelly P. March 8, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    This looks great! But did you put anything under the remnant to protect your wood floors? I’ve heard the carpet is rough and will scratch.

    • house185 March 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

      Hi Kelly! Yes, you’re right, the backing is rough and will most definitely scratch wood floors. I haven’t gotten a backing for it yet, but it’s on my list!

      • Rose July 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

        Very informative. I was looking for such instructions as I’m ordering carpet from which to make three rugs to place over high traffic areas of our newly installed carpet. I think perhaps I’d need a backing so the rough underside of the rugs don’t damage the carpet.

  8. Lanie July 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    I am curious, has the carpet held up? Did you have replace the seam tape? Also, has their been any fraying at the edges? It doesn’t look like the binding would prevent that or maybe the hot glue does?

    This is a great tutorial. Thanks!!

    • house185 July 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      Hi Lanie! Thanks for stopping by!

      The carpet has held up wonderfully. I have not replaced the seam tape, and it’s still holding the two pieces together as well as the day I seamed them. You’re right, the binding doesn’t prevent fraying, but the hot glue does. I had one string come up on the edge shortly after I completed the rug, but I snipped it off with scissors and haven’t had any issues since.

      I’ve also since added a rubber backing to protect the floors which also keeps the carpet in place.I think this also helps protect the seam.

      Thanks for reading!

  9. Yongli Cq August 26, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    This is awesome! I was planning to spend some $$ to let a company to do it. Now I decide to do it myself and save money.

  10. Scott “Carpet Binding By Scott” Rogers September 19, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Looks like you did a nice job. I really don’t know much about the rates for professional binding in your area but from the looks of the size of runner you have, it appears the finished size is close to 3ft x 20ft. I could have cut, seamed and sewn the binding on the edges for you for about 80 dollars total and had it done in about 45 minutes for you with over 140 color choices for the binding tape.

    • house185 September 19, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

      Hi Scott! Yes, it’s about 3 x 20, good eye! I didn’t get a quote less than $160 for the seaming and binding. Often they were much higher due to minimums. If I could find someone local that would do it for $80, I would have definitely gone the professional route and saved myself the time! You don’t happen to be in Atlanta, do you? :) Thanks for stopping by!

    • hummerbirdlady October 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Thank you so much for the suggestions here. Scott, I would like to know what you would charge for 52 linear feet of binding? A quote I got was 104 dollars plus tax.

  11. Samir September 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Home Depot no longer sells the self-adhesive seam tape, but Lowes has something similar.

    I never knew how inexpensive and available the remnants are! I found 8×12 ‘rugs’ of them at Lowes for under $75. :o Now, I need to get the wife there and we can figure out how to get that puppy home…

  12. Kim November 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    I love the binding tutorial…but I also noticed the paint color in your hallway! I love it! What color is that?

    • house185 November 10, 2013 at 7:30 am #

      Thanks, Kim! It’s sherwin Williams pavestone.

  13. Dorothy November 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Just moved to an apartment with VERY light-colored carpet. Been looking for a rug to go over the carpet, but the area is 17′ X 13′ and I cannot afford a custom rug. Today found a piece of carpet remnant, 17′X 12″!! I got it and then figured I would need to bind it, at least the part that will face ‘on-coming’ traffic. Had no idea where to look for such a thing, so I did what all you young folks do (I’m 77), I looked it up on-line! Found your story and I will be ordering the binding after I order the color chart. Thank you!

    • house185 November 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Dorothy, you are so welcome! I’m so glad you found me and a way to solve your problem. Best of luck with your project!! :)

      • Dorothy November 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

        Thank you. I will probably get estimates on having it done by a professional. I really do not have the proper place to do the binding by myself, what with the hot glue, etc. But I will check out that angle anyway. This thing is huge!!

  14. Jodie November 19, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    I am so glad I found your tutorial. I have been wanting new rugs for our entryway for YEARS. But, the entry rug and the runner to the garage need to match and the runner would be an odd size. I was considering buying a longer runner, cutting it and figuring out how to bind it myself when I read this. Now I have a whole new avenue to explore. I am thinking maybe I could get the entry rug and runner cut out of the same remnant. Wouldn’t that be something? Thanks so much!

    • house185 November 19, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

      Yay! You’re welcome, Jodie! I hope this works out for you!

  15. Franchesca S. November 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Ijust redid an entire house with dark hardwood floors. I love the look but want something to protect my investment. I’m going to try this and thanks so much for sharing it.

    • house185 November 21, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Franchesca! I’m so glad you liked the tutorial – best of luck with your project!

  16. tiffany November 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Great tutorial! Thank you for posting! We just carpeted the staircase and have a big piece left over to make an area or entry rug. I’m sending this link to my husband now.

  17. joe December 4, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    looks great, thank you so much, I am going to attempt to bind and seam a very large area with this technique. The hallway looks fantastic, my hallway is similar and I have been undecided on how to treat the walls. (I’ve decided on continuing bead board.) I don’t want to criticize you at all, but if I may make one suggestion when you are ready to paint again? I am a color specialist. The photo shows (and maybe it’s just the photo) the wall white paint to be a very “cool” white. May I suggest a warmer white to tie into the wood floor and your new beautiful runner, easier still would to possibly just paint the recessed panel (like) areas with a contrasting warm white. Even if you don’t it’s gorgeous. I’ve been learning on how to tie together rooms for years with color tricks. and heck paint is the cheapest. lol

    • house185 December 4, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Hi Joe! Best of luck with your rug and bead board projects!

      You are confirming thoughts I’ve had on the trim color for a while. In the hall I went with off the shelf white which is why it’s so bright and cool. It’s the same paint we used on all of the trim and the doors and I wanted to be consistent. I really should have been more deliberate about picking a trim color when we started painting over all the trim over 4 years ago by taking into consideration the floor color and the wall colors I’m drawn to. In the next house I’ll know! Thanks for taking the time to share – it’s nice to hear from an expert! :)

  18. Marjorie Lynne January 4, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Just happened on this page. Thanks for sharing. It’s nice when people actually take the time to help others. You are very generous!

  19. supermessymom January 11, 2014 at 2:21 am #

    Thank you soooo much for this detailed, yet seemingly (ha) simple instruction! I bought a carpet at Lowes that had been a returned special order. It is 8×12 and I was able to buy it for $110.00. I wanted to put it in my second floor landing… It ties all of my bedroom color schemes together. Alas, it is too big. I was going to take it to a friend with a carpet business to do the binding, but every time my kids come home from college… Well, I would just like my renovation finished!!! Thanks to you… I am one step further.

  20. Rick January 26, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    Didn’t know this could be a DIY project. Thanks for the instructions . Looking to do a room size rug

  21. Lisa February 23, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    I stumbled upon your blog and love your home and this runner DIY project. I live in metro Atlanta (Roswell area). Where did you purchase the carpet remnant? I need a runner and just may attempt this project. Thanks for sharing your source.

    • house185 February 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

      Hi Lisa! Thanks so much! The store is located in Chamblee off Peachtree Industrial. Here’s their website: http://770carpet.com/rem.html They do bind remnants there, it’s just a bit pricier then the method I used. Good luck with your project!!!

  22. Siobhan, Portlaoise, Ireland February 24, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Excellent detail. You made it seem so easy. Well done.

  23. Mary March 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Great job on your runner and this post! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Tim March 19, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    I just made three runners for my wife custom out of a left over piece of carpet and it might have taken me 45 minutes. I KNOW THAT BIG BOX STORES GET paid FOR EXTRAS and local retail stores don’t really do much unless they have an interest . This is where I come in I have been thinking of providing this service to more than just the customers I service.

  25. Lois Snyder Davis June 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    I don’t feel like spending $3000 on an area rug so I decided to check online about having carpet bound to use and Googled it. Glad I found your page! I am going to do this myself and save $$$thousands. Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial.

    • house185 June 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

      Wonderful, Lois!! Good luck on your project!

  26. Faye June 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    Great job! This is just what I was looking for. I purchased the perfect color rug for my bathroom only to find out it was too thick to go under my door so I needed to have it cut. I too could find no one to cut and bind a rug that was not purchased from them. So this is a great solution. Thanks again for the post!!

  27. Joe Hussein Mama June 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Fantastic! Your tutorial makes it look so easy that my wife and I are going to have a crack at it ourselves! Thanks so much!

    Oh, BTW, we’re definitely going to check out John Flack’s in Chamblee before we bother with the drive up to Dalton — we’re in Smyrna.

    • house185 June 23, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      Thanks so much and best of luck! You will not be disappointed with the selection at John Flacks!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Custom, Affordable Rugs | twoinspiredesign - July 12, 2013

    […] you’re feeling really energetic and want to bind a carpet yourself, check out what this blogger did to create her own […]

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