Sometimes my ideas don’t come so much out of frugality, but out of a need that no product fulfills. This is one such cases.
We have an area of our apartment, between the end of the steps and the door to the upstair terrace, that desperately needed a runner. The width wasn’t so much of a problem, the problem was that this length in particular was not available anywhere. I spent entirely too much time searching online and eventually gave up, I decided that I would have to take matters into my own hands, as it were.
It occurred to me, that if I couldn’t find a runner the right size, then I would just have to, somehow, join enough rugs to get the right length. Since I had no idea how this would turn out, I decided it was best to experiment with a very cheap rug.
Enter Signe, Ikea’s cheapest rug. Three of these were only slightly longer than the area I needed to cover.
There were two problems. One, they didn’t have any color I liked, and two the ends were finished with knots, they couldn’t be cut without the whole thing unraveling (The photo below is a similar ikea rug I have, this one has blue stripes).
I couldn’t do anything about the colors, I took the only one they had (black stripes on white). To solve the second problem I resorted to three of my go-to tools: my sewing machines and Mod Podge. Specifically, Fabric Mod Podge.
For this job Fray Check would have been better, but it would take entirely too many bottles for this job. Fabric Mod Podge was a better bang for my money.
I soaked the ends, right before the knots with Fabric Mod Podge, on both sides of the rug. When the edges dried, I ran them twice through the overcast machine; the first to serge the edge and to cut just enough to get all three rugs to fit in the space. The second time, without the cutter, was to catch any stray threads. If the rug you use have straight edges, then you can skip these steps.
Following the above, I cut two pieces of black ribbon twice the width of the rugs, and using Fabric Mod Podge I glued the ribbon to the edge of two rugs joining them and covering the edges. When it dried I sewed the ribbons to the rugs using a zigzag stitch (3 times, click on the photo above to see the detail). I repeated the same with the other rug, this left two “raw”edges. I took care of this in another step. It is very important to use a heavy duty needle for this. I used a denim needle.
Since the straight lines looked boring, I cut leaf-shaped pieces of green and brown felt and glued them to the runner. Other shapes would work equally well, but I liked the leaves against the stark black and white stripe pattern. To make sure they don’t go anywhere, I hand-stitched them using matching thread. I like how the leaves break the monotony of the lines very nicely.
To finish the remaining edges I used some long pieces of leather I had (I bought them as leftovers from a shoemaker on ebay and use it for assorted crafts). The leather is folded over and glued with contact cement.
Since this is at the end of the stairs, and to prevent anyone from tripping over it, I used another Ikea product, a sticky mat that is placed between the floor and rug. It doesn’t damage the floor and keeps the rug firmly on the floor.
This was meant as a temporary solution, until I got hold of the holy grail, I mean, the odd-sized runner, but now I really like it.
If you want to do something similar, you can use inexpensive flat-woven placemats, and different decorations in place of my felt leaves. My runner has been pulling heavy duty for almost two months and it shows no sign of stress. Nobody would say the same about me.
So, how do you like my new runner? Would you like to try it?
ETA: I’ve added a few more leaves and have since changed the photos (05/21/2010).