Walking into a rug market or online shop for area rugs, you might often wonder, how exactly are they created? A valid question that arises in everyone's mind once or twice while rug-shopping or when a precious rug is before us. 'How a rug is made?' and 'What are the processes involved in rug making?'. While the answer to the latter question differs in some aspects, depending on the type and style of rug, in its entirety the response often transcends as similar to the former question's answers. 

How A Rug Is Made; Many Rugs

Still, the difference in methods is integral to the making of a particular kind of rug. The 'How a rug is made?' Lets us know what exactly goes on in the process of making a rug, what elements are involved in the rug-making process, and how our precious rugs take their shape from vision to reality.

To answer your curiosity, we have brought for you a detailed and brief guide that provides a definite response to all your questions about rug-making. Rug making is a traditional art that has been passed down from generation to generation. Although machines and new techniques of rug making have arisen to meet the demand and make the process faster, the fundamentals of rug making to still the same to this day. Let us learn more about the methods and processes involved in the answer to the mystery, 'How a rug is made?'

How A Rug Is Made: Hand-Knotted Rug

Even if you are new to rug shopping and do not know much about it, you may still have heard how much a premium hand-knotted rug could sell for in the market. It is no wonder because hand-knotted rugs are one of the most luxurious and long-lasting area rugs to exist.

Hand-Knotted Area Rug; How rugs are made

But what makes hand-knotted rugs so durable and grand that it fetches thousands of bucks in the market? Well, the response to this question may be obvious by now. It is the build/making of hand-knotted rug that makes its value so high and grants it the ability to last decades, even be passed down from generation to generation as a family heirloom. 

Hand-knotted rugs were featured in the houses of royalties from the first century A.D. What we can derive from that statement is the conclusion that hand-knotted rug-making techniques are about two hundred years old. Specially designed looms are required in the process of making a hand-knotted rug and later they move on to be knotted by hand by skilled craftsmen.

Knots and density of a hand-knotted rug are determined and come into effect within the process of making it, which later determines its price. Now, the knots and density in a hand-knotted rug are also determinants of how much labor force and time is required that will go into making a particular area rug.

Suggested Reading: Why are hand-knotted rugs so expensive

The foundation of a hand-knotted rug is created in the special loom where vertical threads (warp) are tied to it and horizontal threads (weft) entangles with the warp. Skilled craftsmen with years of experience can create 6 knots per minute and a standard hand-knotted rug has 1000 knots per square inch (KSPI). The KSPI (Knots Per Square Inch) is the key determinant when considering its labor intensity and price of a hand-knotted area rug. Thus, the rug's base is created by tedious and intricate labor and care by craftsmen.

Antique rugs

Later, individual knots are tied to the warp threads that make up the rug's length by skilled craftsmen. The surface of the pile of a hand-knotted rug finally comes into formation with this step. No hand-knotted rug is similar to another in its entirety because they are all crafted by hand by artisans. All of these factors put together makes hand-knotted rugs a worthy investment to make.

How A Rug Is Made: Hand-Tufted Rug

Want to know which rug is made by hand but it is still faster in the end results than hand-knotted rugs? Well, the answer is the hand-tufted rug. Hand-tufted rugs are area rugs without knots. They are adorned with contemporary, modern, transitional and traditional designs, patterns, and style. Hand-tufted rugs are mainly made of wool but you should not be surprised to see them made out of acrylic, jute, and other natural fibers. 

Hand-tufted rug

The doubt that may arise in your mind at the present moment is that if hand-tufted rugs do not have knots, what do they have on the surface? Here a minor machine work is made where a loop of yarn gets pulled through a hand-tufted rug's backing with the help of a machine called the ‘tufting gun’. The looping is integral to the making of a hand-tufted rug as this is what sets it apart from other hand-made rugs. Also, looping reduces the production cost of a hand-tufted rug, and thus, they sell at a lower cost in comparison to hand-knotted.

Flowers made using tufting gun

Moreover, hand-tufted rugs are less labor-intensive but the look and feel of a hand-tufted rug are very similar to its cousin hand-knotted rug. Because of the lesser labor and skill required in the process of making a hand-tufted rug, they are in turn less durable than their hand-knotted cousins but you can surely expect to remain in prime condition for a decade or longer in your household.

These loops on the surface of a hand-tufted rug create a smooth cut-pile touch. The premium and high-quality end hand-tufted rug that are one-of-a-kind are produced relatively faster and cheaper. Best for homes and offices, hand-tufted rugs do tend to shed a lot and require maintenance and care such as vacuuming and dusting.

How A Rug Is Made: Hand-Hooked Rug

Hand-hooked rugs are another cousin that falls in the dimension of hand-made rugs. The rudiments of hand-hooked rugs are based on the process of weaving that is created by a gun-type machine or instrument. Similar to the hand-tufted creation process, the difference lies in the structure of loops. The yarn loops in a hand-hooked rug remain whole and a one-of-a-kind characteristic pattern is created on the surface that sets it apart from hand-tufted rugs.

Hand-Hooked Rug; How A Rug Is Made

Labor power and need are again lesser than hand-knotted rug as the integral process of creation are done by an apparatus. The difference between hand-tufted and hand-hooked rugs is often blurred. In the case of a hand-tufted rug, the yarn loops are sheared but in the structure of a hand-hooked rug, yarn loops are left alone. The knobby, patterned appearance and unique feel of a hand-hooked rug thus come into formation. 

Hand hooked rug and hook

There is another significant difference that sets hand-hooked rugs apart. Hooking with a petite point needle takes a lot of time, and this time-intensive factor increases the cost of hand-hooked rugs. Hand-hooked rugs normally last for a decade. They are not that durable and can not withstand high foot traffic. Thus, hand-hooked rugs are best for less crowded areas and homes, particularly in bedrooms and private offices.

How A Rug Is Made: Flat-Woven Rug

Aptly named flat-woven area rugs do not have a pile. These types of rugs a woven on a loom and lie flat on the surface. The process of making a flat-woven rug differs. They can either be created by hand or made with the help of a machine. What the machine does is create weaves through warps (vertical yarns) and wefts (horizontal yarns). 

Flat-woven rugs are reversible as the weaving is not attached to the rug's backing. There are no knots used in the weave as the technique of weaving a flat-woven area rug does not require them. The warps and wefts create the foundation and patterns on the surface of the rug. 

Dhurrie rug; how rugs are made?

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These kinds of rugs are fairly easy to produce, thin and delicate, and the touch of a flat-woven is lush when you run your hands on the surface. Flat-woven rugs are usually created using natural fibers generally, although synthetic flat-woven rugs are available in the market. Wool and acrylic are some of the popular materials used in the creation of flat-woven area rugs. 

The Dhurrie and Kilim rugs that you see in a rug market or online are more often than not flatweave area rug. The weft strands of a flatweave rug determine its texture and design through its shifting color, size, and composition. Spills show up easily on a flat-woven area rug so the best idea would be to either lay them on spill-prone areas or alternatively, recluse areas of a home. Although flatweave rugs are reasonably priced, they are not quite much durable in nature compared to other kinds of rugs due to their delicate character. 

How A Rug Is Made: Machine Made Rug

An invention created in the descend of industrialization in the West, machine-made rugs have since taken over the world. There are a lot of factors in existence that set a machine-made rug, most particularly its process of creation. High-powered looms that run on electricity comes into the picture and fibers such as wool, nylon, acrylic, and more are used in the making of machine-made rugs. 

While the previously mentioned kinds of rugs required a substantial amount of labor power in their production, machine-made rugs require the least. As confirmed by name, machines are used exclusively in the manufacturing of machine-made rugs. By interlacing face and backing yarns into the machine, the completely woven area rug comes into existence. The chosen pattern creates the weaves as desired in the face foundation of the rug. 

Machine making rugs; How a rug is made

At most, 10 colors are used in the making of a machine-made rug and the use of different colors in the manufacturing of a single rug may set back time. So the only instance when a machine-made rug's production runs behind is when it requires different hues of dyed fiber in its production. Machine-made rugs are affordable and the quality of machine-made are made to suit the nature of homes and offices. While they may not be long-lasting, they are reasonably priced which makes the luxury of owning a decent rug a reality. 

How A Rug Is Made: Conclusion

There are other kinds of rugs that such as braided rugs and flokati rugs that are unique in some prospects but their build often transcends with the production of the above-mentioned rugs. The weaving of a rug is a complicated concept to grasp. There are elaborate techniques and intricate details that are involved in the process of making a rug. The answer to the question 'How a rug is made' is extensive but the brief features give you an idea about the production process.

Handweaving rugs

How a rug is made even differs geographically, from country to country. Case in point, the leading manufactures of hand-made rugs that are sold for thousands of dollars around the world, are countries such as India and Egypt, to name a few. If you follow closely the process of making any kind of hand-made rug in these two countries, you will notice some incisive differences.

Woman weaving on chakra

You may witness a major fiber or hue being used often in production and the process of making contrasting in some way or the other in India and Egypt, per example. The differences in culture and history of the two countries leading to different embroidery, designs, and patterns being used on the surface of a rug. And most definitely, the end product in form of a hand-made area rug looking different in major ways. The art and tradition of rug-making have gotten accumulated and transformed to suit the culture and mood of these countries. 

For instance, the process of making a traditional hand-knotted rug often involves steps such as wool being turned into yarn first, the yarn being washed and dyed afterwards, and later the area rug being woven by hand. At last, the hand-knotted area rug gets washed and dried before being added to the inventory of a seller. 

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In reality, the manufacturing of other rugs differs greatly from a traditional hand-knotted rug. Hand-knotted rugs are expensive and the demand for hand-knotted rugs often rises in high societies. But there are premium yet affordable hand-knotted rugs in existence that are created with intricate care in rural India, following the traditional art of rug making. And these rugs are now on sale for purchase online at The Rugs Cafe.

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