Tutorial: Bed Sheet Rag Yarn

Tutorial: How to make rag yarn from old bed sheetsI love to repurpose old stuff into crafting materials whenever I can. I have a stash of materials ranging from fabrics to plastic bottles that many would probably consider trash. When I recently found myself in need of a new bathroom rug, I decided to raid my trash stash for rag rug materials. Lucky for me, I found an old bed sheet perfect for making rag yarn.

Rag yarn can easily be made from either flat or fitted sheets. I found an old set of cream colored sheets, so I was even able to dye them to match our guest bathroom. Of course the dyeing part is completely optional.

Materials

  • old bed sheets (flat or fitted)
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • rotary cutter and mat (optional)
  • cardboard scrap (optional)
  • masking tape (optional)
  • RIT fabric dye (optional)
  • large plastic container (optional)

Directions


Since it's always nice to work with clean materials, start by washing and drying your sheet(s). You may even want to iron out any wrinkles to make the cutting process easier.

For flat sheets, neatly cut off  all the hems and edgings.
For fitted sheets, cut the seams at each corner and neatly remove the elastic edging and hems.
Opening up the corner seams will leave you with something that looks like this. Trim your sheet into a rectangle.
From this point, the directions are the same for both flat and fitted sheets.

Fold your sheet in half, lengthwise.
Fold lengthwise again by bringing the folded edge near, but not even with the raw edges.
Fold lengthwise a third time by bringing the folded edge near, but not even with the raw edges.
I chose to cut the sheet into strips with a rotary cutter, but you can also cut with a scissors.
If you use a rotary cutter, place a piece of cardboard so it covers about an inch of the raw, lengthwide edge and secure with a couple pieces of masking tape.

You will need to reposition your cardboard as you move your fabric for cutting.
Cut 1-inch wide strips, stopping at the cardboard.
Your sheet should look something like this. Notice the strips are not cut all the way to the edges. This is so you can make one continuous strand.
Once all the strips are cut, find a corner of the sheet.
Cut between the first and second strips.
Follow the first strip to the opposite sheet corner.
This time, cut between the second and third strips.

Follow the strip to the other side of the sheet and cut between the third and fourth strips.

Continue in this manner until all of the strips have been separated, leaving you with one very long strand of rag yarn.
If your sheet is the color you would like your yarn to be, roll it up into a ball.
As I said before, I chose to dye my sheets two different colors, so this next part is completely optional.

Begin by laying out the rag yarn. It takes a bit of patience.

When laying out the yarn I turned the ends whenever I got to  the side edge of the sheet.

This part doesn't have to be exact.
Prepare your dye according to the package directions and pour it into a large plastic bucket or tub.

Place about 2/3 of the length of yarn into the dye and let it soak.
Remove the yarn from the dye and rinse.
Mix up your second dye bath and pour it into your plastic container. Place about 2/3 of the length of yarn into the dye and let it soak. Some of the yarn from the first dyed section should be in the dye bath so the colors will blend.

Remove the yarn from the dye and rinse. Squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible.
Finally, hang the yarn out to dry.

Roll it up and your rag yarn is ready to use.
Once your rug is complete, you will want to wash it by itself at least once, so the colors don't bleed onto other fabrics or stain your carpet

Tutorial: How to make rag yarn from old bed sheets