You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I attended a workshop on power rug-tufting and I wrote a detailed post on the event. But…I didn’t get to the finish line on this project in that post. Now I have done so and I’ll describe the last steps in completing the rug and show you the “masterpiece” as it now begins its life as a rug fully participating in rug life.
After that build-up I am sure you expect drama. Thankfully for me, there was none. Finishing the rug was easy and pretty quick.
When I came back from the workshop the rug looked like this, on its right (tufted) side. I had trimmed the yarn ends from the wrong side at the workshop before I took it off the frame. Here you see the rug on the backing fabric so you can have an idea of how it looked as it came off the frame.
I trimmed the right side of the rug at home. Then I was ready to glue the back.
If you don’t glue the back, the tufts can just pull out. The tension of being crammed together is not enough, long-term, to keep a rug together.
I viewed a video made by Tim Eads, the instructor, on how to do this glue step. In the ideal world, you would be doing this while the rug was still on the frame and held taut. But, I found it to be no problem doing the process with it spread out flat on a table.
First I steam ironed the rug from the right side (protected by a cloth and using only light pressure). This helped the rug stay flat.
Then I flipped it so that the back side faced me.
Then…I pulled out a specially purchased bottle of Elmer’s Glue. After some guesstimating I chose a 16-oz size. According to the video, yes, this product is perfectly fine for rugs that will be wall hangings or otherwise lightly used. Different glues are recommended for tufted clothing (??!!) or for rugs that will receive heavy wear.
Well, then I poured some glue into a bowl, swished a brush through it, and started lathering it on. In the video it was applied pretty thickly, so that is what I did, even though I felt queasy about applying glue all over the fibers.
Here is a comparison of the back fibers before and after glue:
Ick, is what I said, so it’s ok if you say the same! The next morning the glue had dried and was clear. I prodded the rug and decided more glue was needed in quite a few places, so I put on another coat. Yes, I used up that whole big 16 oz bottle and it was needed, believe me.
The next day, I was happy with the adhesion. I tried pulling out a tuft here and there and could not do it, so I felt things were secure.
I did not like the crunchy hard feeling of the back, now, though. Well, no matter. The glue was just doing its job. The next steps were:
- trim the orignal backing cloth and fold it under
- cut and sew by hand a cloth to cover the raw back of the rug.
I chose a light cotton fabric for the covering cloth. In retrospect I would have used a heavier fabric, maybe a light canvas. But it didn’t really matter since the rug is not going to receive hard use. I did not take a photo of the backing, but the result is similar to what I did for my punch needle tiny rugs:
Now the rug is finished. Here it is in its natural habitat on the floor:
I’m pleasantly surprised by the results. My only dislike was the crunchy sound the rug made as I walked on it, due to the glue…but, a few minutes of treading on it and that broke down the glue enough so that the rug was quiet. In no way did it feel lumpy or stiff even before I did this, so now…I think the rug is just right. It’s soft and cushiony on the feet and quiet too.
The cat likes it – he’s already tried it out for a short rest.
I don’t know what I will do with this rug, but…I’m enjoying it just to look at and to wiggle my toes in, for right now. I would like to try another project like this one sometime, that is for sure.