How Are Rugs Made?

Flatweave Tribal Kendell from Orinoco by NuLoom

Rugs are a curious piece of decor, typically overlooked despite their enormous power to change the feel and aesthetic of a space. Often bought on a whim and with little consideration besides color and size, the thought of how a rug is made doesn’t occur to many people. However, knowing and understanding the process of rug manufacturing should influence the rug you decide to purchase.

Here is a short guide on how a number of rugs are crafted and the different manufacturing processes utilized to make each rug unique.

Hand-Knotted Rugs

XV-04 from Xavier by Loloi

Hand-knotted rugs are, by far, the highest quality of rugs, achieving both durability and longevity. Crafted typically from natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, or jute, hand-knotted rugs are made on a specially designed loom. The size of the loom is dependent on the size of the rug being created. The weaver ties every knot in the rug from bottom to the top.

Hand-knotted rugs often take weeks or months to manufacture. The two most common hand-knotting techniques are the Persian knot and the Turkish knot. Knots are placed in the foundation (or warp) of the rug in order to create the pile (or height). Considered an ancient art due to the patience and skill it requires, hand-knotted rugs are the gems that most rug collectors eagerly search for. These are one of a kind pieces that can last for decades.

Hand-Tufted Rugs

NAT401A from Natura by Safavieh

Creating a hand-tufted rug is one of the faster methods of creating a rug by hand. Utilized for several styles, wool is often the most typical material used. The weaver follows a design that is already printed onto a canvas. They then use a modified handheld drill gun called a tufting gun to insert the material into the cloth foundation. This process creates a loop pile which eventually create the rug. The loop is then cut to allow each strand to stand individually. After this process is completed, a latex coating is pressed on the back, followed by a canvas type fabric.

The price point for a hand-tufted rug is much lower than hand-knotted rugs, but a similar look is achieved. Hand-tufted rugs come in a wide variety of styles and colors, but they typically aren’t as durable as hand-knotted rugs.

Hand Hooked Rugs

Handmade Border Zamora Rug from Varanas by NuLoom

Hand hooked rugs are similar to tufted rugs, but the loops remain intact. A handheld instrument is used in this process as well. Hand hooked rugs have intricate designs because the type of weaving is incredibly precise. There is the option of petite point hooking, which utilizes a fine needle to weave, but this is a much more time-consuming and expensive process.

Flat-Woven Rugs

Flatweave Tribal Kendell from Orinoco by NuLoom

Flat-woven rugs also use natural or synthetic materials and are typically reversible. They are, as the name implies, flat and have practically no height or pile. The rug is made in such a way that yarn is entirely intertwined instead of protruding to create a pile.

Flatweave rugs can be hand woven but they are also machine made. Due to the fact that flatweave rugs aren’t thick or durable, rug pads are typically necessary to help it stay in place and provide cushioning.

Machine Made Rugs

Sontag from Peridot by Jaipur

Machine made rugs are power-loomed and mass produced. This is the most popular weaving method in Europe and America, and the rugs are typically made with natural, synthetic or combination fibers.

This has the least amount of labor, and thus, machine made rugs are often very cheap. Rugs created by machine are similar to hand-tufted rugs in process, but they often lack the precise craftsmanship that adds to tufted rugs’ quality. Machine made rugs are durable, for sure, but they do not have the same longevity or artistry as hand-knotted rugs.

Now that you know how rugs are made, which rug type will you choose?

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