Protect Your Handmade Hooked Rugs: Bind the Edges to Prevent Damage
Have you spent many years and far too many hours making hooked rugs, but are always unhappy with the unfinished edges? Do you put the rugs aside before completing them and dread going back to them weeks, months, or even years later?
Leaving the edges of your handmade rugs unbound makes it too easy for the pieces of yarn to pull out accidentally, too tempting for the family dog to chew on, and the edges get dirty very easily. Binding the edges with twill fabric using elaborate miter cuts, pins or needle and thread, can be tedious if you don’t like to sew (especially by hand). And having the rug professionally bound is prohibitively expensive. So, what other solutions are available?
Binding the edges of your handmade hooked rugs with one of the new do-it-yourself carpet binding tapes is quick, easy and requires only a few tools that you are sure to find around the house. This product is inexpensive and comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. You peel paper off the backing which sticks to the underside of the rug. Then you adhere the attached piping to the edges of the rug with hot glue. In fact, if I’ve gathered all of my tools and materials ahead of time, there are only about six steps. I can usually complete the binding of an average-sized area rug in less than one hour.
Sometimes I add a nice felt backing or padding to my rug by tacking it down with a stitch here and there before I start the binding process This method gives my handmade rugs a refined, professional and finished look. They will look nice and neat and the edges will be fully protected from damage. They’re less likely to come apart, will be much more durable and last longer. The best part is that I no longer dread finishing my rugs!
What You Will Need:
DIY carpet binding tape
Hot glue gun
- Place your hooked rug (with backing/padding, if you’re using it) on a flat surface and trim the edges to make sure there are no loose pieces of yarn or thread to get in your way.
- Start with a clean, straight cut on the binding tape, peel off some of the paper backing, and start applying the self-adhesive tape to the back of your rug starting in the middle of one side.
- If you reach a corner, do NOT cut the binding tape. Simply make a small cut into the flat part of the backing, up to but not through the piping. This will help you go around the corner neatly. Continue around the corner, overlap the backing, and keep going, peeling and pressing, until you end up where you started. Until you start to apply the hot glue, you can adjust the backing as needed.
- With the two ends butted up against each other, attach them together with a little bit of hot glue.
- Now secure the piping to the raw edge of the rug by squeezing a bead of glue into the channel between the rug edge and the piping.
- Do about 6 inches at a time, stopping to press the piping to the edge of the rug until the glue sets.
When you use these carpet binding tapes, your corners will always be slightly rounded. The piping won’t allow you to make 90-degree angles.
A Little History of Hooked Rugs
Rug hooking as we know it is a relatively new craft; it’s only about 170 years old. Most Colonial Americans in the 1700s could not afford to import expensive carpets from England so, unless they were wealthy, they generally had bare wood floors. By 1850, America had begun to import products from foreign countries, and some of those products (coffee, tobacco, grains) came from the West Indies in burlap sacks. The salvaged burlap had a wide weave that made it easy to pull strips of fabric through it with a hook. It was strong and cheap, so poor colonists could create lovely hooked rugs from pieces of their old clothing and other scraps of fabric.
Unfortunately, burlap eventually disintegrates, so most early hooked rugs of the time did not survive. As time went on, fabrics and dyes became more plentiful and hooked rugs became quite popular, only losing favor at the turn of the 19th century when factory-made carpets became available and homemade rugs went out of style. Luckily for us, handmade rugs are once again popular and have even become an art form!