The Ties that Bind

Have you ever found the perfect area rug only to be disappointed that it doesn’t come in the size you need? You can always have the rug professionally cut down and bound.  The prices vary depending on your location but, here in the Chicago area, the price for cutting and binding one side starts at about $100.00. You may need to have more than one side cut and bound if you have a symmetrical pattern.  Check out how Greg and Ashley of Seventh House on the Left customized the rug in their foyer.

If you’re like me, you find the perfect rug in the correct size but the price blows your budget.   Because, let’s be honest, if money wasn’t an issue, you’d have no problem shopping for rugs (or anything else for that matter.)  But rugs are expensive.  And, I have dogs.  Many, many dogs.  It isn’t practical to pay mega bucks on something that will most likely be hit with doggy vomit (or worse) and covered in hair. I need something that pleases me aesthetically but doesn’t break the bank.  So, I needed to come up with some way to self-bind my rugs.

Please forgive the bad cellphone pics.  At the time that I did this, I had misplaced the battery chargers for my cameras.


First, you’ll need a rug.  I don’t recommend doing this to an expensive rug.  The above rug was on clearance at Target for $6.99.  I think the most I have spent for a rug that I was planning on cutting and binding was $40.00.

Next, you’ll need a hot glue gun, lots of glue sticks, a heavy-duty scissors and a coordinating ribbon or binding tape that is 2″ wide.  To determine the length of ribbon you’ll need, add about 1″ to the length of your cutting line.  The type of ribbon you pick will depend on the type of rug you are using.  I’m using a woven, strap-type ribbon because my rug is a loosely woven, natural material. Grosgrain ribbon also works very well for binding.  Most of the time, you will want your ribbon to be the same color as the other binding on your rug.  If there is no visible binding, then I would choose a color that matched the background color of the rug.  I’m picking a contrasting black ribbon because I trying to match black accents in our foyer.


Trim the edges of the ribbon so they are square.  If your ribbon is a big weave like mine, you can dab a small amount of hot glue on the edge so that it doesn’t unravel.


If your ribbon is thinner, you can turn the edges under 1/4″ and glue down.

Here is how mine looked when I finished applying the glue to the edges.   You just want a thin coat of glue.


Measure and cut your rug.


If your rug is a long shag, you need to trim down the pile as close to the backing as possible for a 1/4″ line along your edge.

If your rug is loosely woven, like mine, you may need to remove a row or two of the weave.


Flip the rug over to the wrong side.  Run a thick, 6″ long bead of glue along the end of the rug, about 1/4″ in from the edge.  If yours is loosely woven, you want your glue to be on the first complete row.


Press the edge of the ribbon down into the glue and hold until it no longer feels hot.  Keep working in 6″ increments until the entire ribbon is glued to the back of the rug.  Turn the rug over to the front side.  Apply glue to the front in the same fashion as you did to the back, folding the ribbon down to cover the rough edge of the rug.17

Once the ribbon is completely attached, apply a small amount of glue to the inside edges of the corners and press until cool.


Voilà:  you’re done!


I’ve bound a number of rugs in my home.  All are in high-traffic areas and they have held up for over a year.  I even hosed down and scrubbed one rug outside and the binding held.  You can always reglue any areas that you notice the binding coming loose.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s