When you hear the term ‘rag wreath,’ your mental image may be very rustic, but rag wreaths do not need to look like something form the country crafts festival. Rag wreaths can be quant, sophisticated, or cute – the choice is entirely yours. They’re easy and fun to make, and they don’t even require specialized tools. This tutorial not only shows you how to make a rag wreath, but also how to make it more durable so it can be used season after season.
What do I Need to Make a rag Wreath?
If you’re a sewer, you may already have just about everything you need at home for a rag wreath! Here are the supplies and materials you need:
- A wreath frame. You can use a wire frame, straw, foam, wood, or just about anything else.
- Fabric. My 12″ wreath made for the tutorial used just under 2 yards of fabric.
- Optional – cutting mat and rotary cutter.
- Optional – Scotchgard or a high-quality clear acrylic spray sealant from a brand like Krylon or Mod Podge.
I’ve seen lots of people advising ripping the cloth into strips. I guess the theory is that it’s quicker but, since you have to make lots of little guide cuts and then shred your hands ripping yards of fabric, I think cutting is quicker, easier, and ultimately looks better.
The size strips you need depends a little on your wreath frame, but I find strips about 1″ wide and between 8″ and 10″ long work well. You can cut them with a mat and rotary cutter, or just with a pair of scissors.
I’ve found that simply eyeballing it and cutting strips about an inch wide works absolutely fine for this project. To make life easier on yourself, fold you fabric in half, selvage edges together, and then in half again. Cut through all four thicknesses at once for quick and easy cutting! It also makes shortening the strips to usable length much easier, as outlined below.
There is no need to cut all of your fabric at once. In fact, I recommend cutting only about a yard of it into strips to see how far it goes on your particular wreath base and then cut more, if you need to. If you want a multi-colored wreath, make sure to cut some of each of your fabrics or your wreath may end up sort of silly looking!
After you have a good stack of strips, cut them into smaller pieces. If you have a wide wreath base, you can simply cut the strips along the folds, as shown below.
After you have a stack of ‘rags’ ready to use, get tying. You can tie them pretty much however you like, but I prefer middling each strip and tying it in a square knot with the knot facing ‘out,’ as shown below. For a very full wreath, alternate strip directions so you have rags on both the inside and outside!
Keep on tying rag strips, and cutting more as necessary, until your wreath is full and fluffy.
Hang your Wreath
After you’ve finished tying on the strips, all that’s left is hanging your wreath. You can use a traditional wreath hanger, or you can use some coordinating ribbon like I did.
If you use Krylon or Mod Podge, make sure you get the matte finish!
How to Make your Rag Wreath Last
Rag wreaths are, of course, made from cloth. Hung outside, even in a sheltered spot, it may eventually mildew. Hung inside, it may collect dust and become shabby with age. There are a couple of things you can do to combat this:
- Before cutting your fabric, treat it thoroughly with Scotchgard. This amazing stuff will help keep your cloth wreath dust-resistant and easy to shake off for a quick cleaning. You can treat it afterwards, too, but it will be more difficult to get down inside the wreath.
- If you don’t have Scotchgard, use a high-quality clear acrylic spray from Krylon or Mod Podge. Both will help protect the fabric and are non-yellowing in sunlight, making them a great choice for outdoor wreaths.
- If you coated your fabric before cutting it, give it a final spray before hanging to coat the exposed edges and forestall fraying.
Cleaning dust and pollen off your wreath is fairly easy, once it’s been coated. Simply grab on to it and shake it clean! I do not recommend using a vacuum cleaner because the vacuum will probably just eat your lovely fabric strips.
Imagine the wreath you could make with this!
Rag Wreath Ideas
The shown rag wreath is springy, but you can make one for any time of year. It also makes a great stash busting project to use some of those fabric scraps you just can’t bear to part with even though you logically know you probably won’t use them for much of anything (or am I the only one with that problem?). Here are more rag wreath ideas:
- Hang or wire ornaments and other decorations from/to the wreath.
- Cut the rags with pinking shears or decorative scissors for a bit of variety and fray-checking ability.
- Use a three or four rail wire wreath frame for a super fluffy wreath.
- Use a charm pack of fabrics to create a diverse wreath, even if you don’t have fabric scraps at home already.
I hope you enjoy this project and, as always, please let me know if you have any questions!