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Making My Tufted Art

Below you'll find the steps I take when tufting a rug, from design to completion.

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01

Design

Every project starts with an idea. Could be a small pencil drawing or a more complex design made on the computer.

02

Canvas

Similar to preparing for a painting, the canvas, also known as tufting cloth and monks cloth, needs to be stretched.  The fabric is pulled taut onto the nails situated along the edge of the frame. 

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03

Drawing

I use charcoal to sketch my design freehand on the fabric. For designs created on the computer a projector can also be used to trace the outlines of the design projected on the fabric.

04

Design completion

After completing my sketch I trace the lines I like with a permanent marker. I vacuum clean the fabric, removing the excess charcoal, while leaving the marker. 

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05

Yarn selection

Now it's time to go through my yarn store and select the colors I need. For floor rugs I use only pure wool, for durability. For wall hangings and low traffic floor rugs,  I combine pure wool with acrylic wools, which comes in stronger colors. 

06

Tufting

Now the fun starts. Using the tufting gun, I fill the sections with the required color, working mainly from bottom to top, but always in the direction of the foot of the gun, and properly pressed against the fabric. Once you get the hang of it, it feels very therapeutic. 

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07

Glue the back

After finishing the tufting process and final quality check on the reverse side, I cover the back of the rug with a carpet adhesive. I use "Mapei Ultrabond ECO VS90 Plus" acrylic adhesive, it's easy trowellable, solvent free and contains no toxic substances

08

Cut from frame

After at least 24 hours drying, I cut the work from the frame, leaving at a minimum an inch from the edge of the artwork. The work is liable to warp if cut before glueing or not properly dried.

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09

Folding the edge

I cut the inch of fabric perpendicular to the work every inch around the work. I use a hot glue gun to permanently fix the edge to the back, see next photo. Using hot glue will prevent the fabric from fraying.

10

Backing fabric

To finish of the work I apply a backing fabric. For floor rugs I use a non slip backing, for wall hangings a cotton backing, finished with a twill tape around the edge. The backing is cut a little bit larger, applied with spray on glue and carefully cut to size when dried. Any loose edges I reglue with the hot glue gun.

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11

Shearing and carving

To finish I use clippers and scissors to get an even surface. Where needed, using the clippers, I carve lines in the work to improve the 3D appearance.

12

Clean up and despatch

I thoroughly vacuum the work, removing fluff, loose threads and bits of glue. 

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