Rug tufting became extremely popular at the height of lockdown. It was a creative outlet, but also a way to start a creative small business for some extra money. Its quite easy to learn and a great way to keep you off your screen and occupied for a few hours.
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Tools You’ll Need to get Started!
Rug tufting isn’t the cheapest hobby to start and requires some sort of initial investment. There are two ways to get started: manually, by using a punch needle or by purchasing a tufting gun.
This decision is generally based on your personal tolerance and financial state . Using a punch needle is much cheaper than using a tufting gun but takes twice as long, if not thrice, to complete a single piece. On the other hand, a tufting gun lets you complete the work within a couple of hours. With that said, you’ll need the following tools to get started:
This machines create loops of yarn through the fabric. Depending on the gun used, they can either be left as they are to create a “loop pile” rug or automatically cut to create a “cut pile” rug. Some more advanced guns have allows you to alternate the settings according to whatever style of rug you prefer.
These are the most common types of Tufting Guns out there but there are many more out there.
- AK-I/ Cut-Pile Gun
- AK-II/ Loop Pile
- AK-III/ Has both settings
From what i’ve seen going around, the main fabric used for tufting is either: Burlap, Tufting Cloth and Monks cloth. Most people I have seen have either used tufting cloth or monks cloth. Granted, monks cloth is way more pricier than the other two but it is definitely worth the value.
I can’t simply recommend which is better because i think this is one of those things that’s personal to the artist. What most people consider before buying the fabric is; how easy it is to attach to your frame, does the fabric have lines to guide you while tufting, the price and how easily accessible the fabric is in your country.
You can choose to either, Do-It-Yourself or buy a Tufting frame. The dimensions are not that critical. It whole depends on the size of rug you want to make. It is simply a square with carpet grippers to hold up your fabric. A common alternative to attach your fabric is to use a staple gun.
There are many different types of yarns you can use. All types have their advantages and disadvantages. There are also blends and many more types but you have to try them out and see what suits you the best.
Acrylic: Acrylic is more affordable than wool and is available in a range of colors (apparently even glow-in-the-dark). It is also resistant to dirt but unfortunately, it has a tendency shed and is very soft. Therefore it doesn’t hold its structure well. Rugs made from acrylic are best in areas that aren’t subjected to too much wear such as wall drappings.
Cotton: Cotton carpets are very soft and comfortable to walk on. However, they’re susceptible to stains and matting. Pure cotton is difficult to come across depending on your country.
Wool: Wool is considered one of the best yarns for tufting as it is resistant to crushing and extremely durable. However, it is also way more expensive than the other choices. If properly cared for wool carpets can last for a long time.
Yarn winder (optional)
This is very much optional and not essential when starting out. Most people choose to wind their yarn manually but this takes some time. It is extremely helpful when dealing with larger projects and helps reduce the time wasted on small tasks.
Carpet Backing or Secondary Backing Fabric
When finishing off your rug, there are different techniques you can adopt to give your rug a clean finish. You can either sew the ends or glue them down. Again, there are many choices of backing fabric, this all amounts to how clean you want your carpet to look. Lastly, one has the option of using binding tape to give you a clean and protected finish.
Carpet glue is used to hold the yarn in place and plays a huge role in securing the different elements in place. It is applied or sprayed to the back of your carpet once you are done tufting to also attach your secondary backing fabric. If you’re based in the USA, Robert’s carpet glue is really popular but once again, look out for other alternatives.
Other Tools Needed.
- Marker: If you have a design, you’ll need a marker to draw your design onto the Fabric
- Tweezers or Pliers: to pick out the yarn, if you made a mistake
- Scissors: to cut the yarn and the fabric
- Sheep or Hair Clippers: to get a nice finish (you can also use the scissors, but clippers will save you time)
- Palette knife: to apply the glue
- Hot glue: to hold the folded over backing fabric in place
- Spray adhesive: to attach the secondary backing fabric
- Projector: to transfer your image (remember to invert your image)
Where to Source these Items.
For starters, my first instinct would be to order directly from www.tuftinggun.com . They have a starter kit that has almost all you’ll need to make your first rug. If you’re on a budget, you could opt to buy each item at a time from Amazon or even Alibaba. But BE CAREFUL! and do your research. A lot of people have complained about their gun breaking down. So be sure that wherever you purchase your item is credible and comes with a warranty.
Tufting Gun.Com – https://tuftinggun.com/collections/all
Tufting Gun From Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Electric-Tufting-Weaving-Flocking-100-240V/dp/B08748QQ54