Rug Hooking: How to Make a Pillow with Rug Hook

How to Make a Pillow by Rug Hooking — This DIY pillow idea is particularly easy to make and very durable. It has a similar feel to a rag rug, and you can customize it to your home decor using simple rug hooking supplies…

DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth

Every so often, a DIY technique will come along that completely rocks my little crafting world and this rug hooking pillow is my new obsession!

Can you relate? I’ve recently started rug hooking a lot and can’t help but eat, sleep and breathe it! If there was a local club for rug hookers, I’d be leading it.

What I (Erin) love about rug hooking is how fast and forgiving it is. If you’ve ever attempted knitting or crocheting, then you’ll appreciate what I’m referring to here.

Rug hooking is a relatively simple and fast craft form to do. I made this DIY pillow in a day, and with a baby in the house, that is a serious feat!

And if you mess up, you literally just give your yarn a tug, and easily pull out your stitches, so it’s great for beginners and non-perfectionists like me…

photo of rug hooking with supplies and text header
DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

What is Rug Hooking

While rug hooking is an art form that goes way back, you can essentially think of it as a primitive hooking method for making items such as wool rugs, jute rugs, and even wall hangings. 

It’s a series of pulling loops through a sturdy fabric such as burlap or linen using a punch needle or latch hooking tool.

Rug hooking is different from the latch hook method simply because you aren’t knotting the wool yarn or strands as you go like you would with latch hooking. 

In this case, I’ putting a twist on it to share how to make a pillow using the same method for an easy weekend craft.

DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth

HOW TO RUG HOOK 

There are plenty of options out there for rug hooking kits if you want to buy all of the supplies together for a pre-packaged craft project. 

Since we’re steering away from the usual wool rug DIY here, I’ve listed all of the rug hooking supplies separately below for how to make this pillow. 

Keep in mind, you’re welcome to buy a premade burlap pillowcase to use on the stretcher frame for this rug hooking tutorial if you don’t want to sew your own from yards of burlap!

DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth

RUG HOOKING SUPPLIES

#10R Oxford Punch Needle

24” Wood Stretcher Frame (I used an art store canvas frame with the canvas removed)

3 ply yarn or medium weight wool roving about an inch wide

Burlap – I like using burlap for my ground cloth because it doesn’t stretch as much as others, making it great for beginners.

Scissors

Staple Gun

Marker

Flat Head Screw Driver or Pliers

Sewing Machine

Sewing Pins

Zipper Foot (optional)

½ Yard of Pillow Back Fabric – I used linen

Iron

Feather Pillow Form

Step 1 - DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

1. Cut a 30” square piece of burlap. Stretch it around your wood frame and secure it to the back of the frame with a staple gun. You want to pull the burlap as tight as you can to make sure you have a taught fabric surface to needle punch.

2. Draw your design onto the burlap with a marker. You won’t see the marker in the end so if you mess up or change your mind while marking it out, that’s okay.

Step 2 - DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

Step 3 - DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

3. Thread your punch needle by inserting your yarn or strips of wool through the hole at the tip of the needle. Then place the yarn string along the channel on the wood handle.

Work the yarn back and forth until it settles into the channel. Now you’re ready to punch!

Step 4 - DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

Step 5 - DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

4. Hold your punch needle so the wood channel on the handle faces the direction you’re stitching. Insert the metal part of the needle into the burlap. I like to hold onto the yarn at the end of the needle (on the underside of the burlap) just to make sure it catches.

Then pull your needle up out of the burlap just enough so it skims the surface of the fabric. Then insert it back into the fabric a 1/8” – ¼” or so away to create a stitch.

You’re striving for about 4-5 stitches per inch. Continue punching the outline of your first shape. Once you make it all the way around, start on the 2nd outline of stitches.

Keep going until the entire shape is filled in.

Step 6 - DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

Step 7 - DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

5. When ready to switch yarn colors, pull your needle out of the fabric just barely until the needle grazes the face of the fabric.

Use scissors to trim the yarn as close to the fabric as possible.

Step 8 - DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

Step 9- DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

6. Once the entire face of your pillow is rug hooked, remove the burlap from the frame by pulling out the staples with a flathead screw driver or pliers.

The burlap will condense a little bit as it comes off the frame securing the stitches into place. Technically the front of the rug hooking design is the side with the loops, but I like the “stitched” side better, so I’ll be using this side for the pillow face.Step 10- DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

7. Turn your design into a pillow by adding an envelope pillow back closure. My rug hook pillow face is roughly a 21” square, so I cut two pieces of linen backing fabric 14” x 22”.

The back pieces need to be large enough to overlap one another as well as accommodate ½” seam allowances.

Step 11 - DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

8. Fold the long edge of one of the back pieces over ½” and press with an iron. Then fold the edge over again.

Press with an iron and pin into place with sewing pins. Repeat with the second back piece.

Step 12 -DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

9. Place your rug hook design face up, and lay your two back pieces face down on top of your rug hook design.

The back pieces should overlap a few inches at the center. Pin layers together at edges.

Step 13 -DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

10. Switch your sewing machine’s standard sewing foot for a zipper foot and move your sewing machine needle all the way to the left. (This is optional, but it’ll help you sew nice and close to the edge of your rug hook design.).

Sew the pillow layers together using the thick rug hooked layer as a guide. You won’t be able to see it, but you’ll be able to feel it.

Step 14- DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

Step 15 -DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor  

11. Turn your pillow right side out, and stuff with a cushion insert.

DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

photo of a diy pillow using rug hooking

So what do you think, guys? Are you hooked? Get it?!..

You can find more of our tutorials on how to make a pillow cover right here! A few of my favorites are how to make a knot pillow, how to make a tassel pillow, and how to make a tufted pillow

Tutorial for Rug Hooking a Pillow Cover

DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

RUG HOOKING: HOW TO MAKE A PILLOW WITH RUG HOOKING

We're showing you a simple rug hooking technique to recreate this easy pillow cover DIY...
Total Time6 hrs 30 mins
Keyword: ashley rose, caramels, recipe, sugar and cloth, ashley rose, diy, easy, how to, how to make a pillow, latch hook, needle punch, pillow cover, quick, rug hook, rug hooking, simple, tutorial
Servings: 1 pillow
Cost: $45

Equipment

  • Sewing machine (optional if making you're own burlap cover)

Ingredients

For Rug Hooking

For How to Make a Pillow

  • Burlap – I like using burlap for my ground cloth because it doesn't stretch as much as others, making it great for beginners.
  • Staple Gun (for attaching burlap to the wood stretcher)
  • Zipper Foot (optional)
  • ½ Yard of Pillow Back Fabric – I used linen
  • Feather Pillow Form
  • Iron
  • Flat Head Screw Driver or Pliers (for removing staples in burlap)
  • Sewing Machine

Instructions

  • Cut a 30” square piece of burlap. Stretch it around your wood frame and secure it to the back of the frame with a staple gun. You want to pull the burlap as tight as you can to make sure you have a taught fabric surface to needle punch.
  • Draw your design onto the burlap with a marker. You won’t see the marker in the end so if you mess up or change your mind while marking it out, that’s okay.
  • Thread your punch needle by inserting your yarn or strips of wool through the hole at the tip of the needle. Then place the yarn string along the channel on the wood handle. Work the yarn back and forth until it settles into the channel. Now you’re ready to punch!
  • Hold your punch needle so the wood channel on the handle faces the direction you’re stitching. Insert the metal part of the needle into the burlap. I like to hold onto the yarn at the end of the needle (on the underside of the burlap) just to make sure it catches.
  • Then pull your needle up out of the burlap just enough so it skims the surface of the fabric. Then insert it back into the fabric a 1/8” - ¼” or so away to create a stitch.
  • You’re striving for about 4-5 stitches per inch. Continue punching the outline of your first shape. Once you make it all the way around, start on the 2nd outline of stitches. Keep going until the entire shape is filled in.
  • When ready to switch yarn colors, pull your needle out of the fabric just barely until the needle grazes the face of the fabric. Use scissors to trim the yarn as close to the fabric as possible.
  • Once the entire face of your pillow is rug hooked, remove the burlap from the frame by pulling out the staples with a flathead screwdriver or pliers.
  • The burlap will condense a little bit as it comes off the frame securing the stitches into place. Technically the front of the rug hooking design is the side with the loops, but I like the “stitched” side better, so I’ll be using this side for the pillow face.
  • Turn your design into a pillow by adding an envelope pillow back closure. My rug hook pillow face is roughly a 21” square, so I cut two pieces of linen backing fabric 14” x 22”.
    The back pieces need to be large enough to overlap one another as well as accommodate ½” seam allowances.
  • Fold the long edge of one of the back pieces over ½” and press with an iron. Then fold the edge over again. Press with an iron and pin into place with sewing pins. Repeat with the second back piece.
  • Place your rug hook design face up, and lay your two back pieces face down on top of your rug hook design. The back pieces should overlap a few inches at the center. Pin layers together at edges.
  • Switch your sewing machine’s standard sewing foot for a zipper foot and move your sewing machine needle all the way to the left. (This is optional, but it’ll help you sew nice and close to the edge of your rug hook design.). Sew the pillow layers together using the thick rug hooked layer as a guide. You won’t be able to see it, but you’ll be able to feel it.
  • Turn your pillow right side out, and stuff with a cushion insert.
DIY Rug Hook Pillow by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth #rughook #diy #poillow #craft #diypillow #doityourself #pillowcase #homedecor #diydecor

22 thoughts on “Rug Hooking: How to Make a Pillow with Rug Hook”

  1. Yes this is NOT rug hooking! Traditional rug hooking requires a rug hook, NOT a punch needle or latch. Wool and other fibres are mediums that many artists now use with rug hooking as it requires different techniques and more complex than punching or colour by number latch hooking!

    Reply
  2. This is really intriguing. Is this a super delicate pillow or does the loops/yarn stay in place? I want to make a punch needle pillow but I worry it will be too delicate with young kids in the house, ha!

    Reply
    • To be honest, yes, we would be scared to have this throw pillow around young kids. Our living room has always been connected with the dinning room and kitchen so kids can easily go from grubby snack fingers to our throw pillows! We’ve also learned the hard way that they love anything textured and picking out textures! Hope this helps!

      Reply
  3. Everything is very open with a very clear description of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  4. Such a gorgeous design!! i have yet to take up needle punching but it looks amazing and like it might be a lot faster than the embroidery I I do…

    Reply
    • Hi Natalya! I know what you mean, embroidery feels like the never-an-ending-in-sight kind of project, so this might be a fun change! Let us know if you give it a try. :)

      Reply
  5. I’m trying punch for the first time and I’m very curious about one thing you’ve done here. What is keeping this pillow from being snagged on something and ripping all the stitches out as this is the worked side and nothing secures the loops on the other side

    Reply
    • Hi Lauren! That’s a great question! I had the same thought when I started needle punching too. After you “hook” your piece, and un-stretch the burlap from the frame, the burlap will contract around the yarn stitches making for a tight surface, and it should keep everything in place under normal use. (Keep it out of reach of your cat!) Stretching the burlap tightly around the wood frame and shooting for 5-6 stitches per inch with 3-4 ply yarn, will help you achieve that beautifully dense, nubby surface.

      Reply
  6. Oh wauw, this looks amazing! I love the combination of colours with the not-even circle <3 Really would like to make one of those myself sometime!

    Reply
  7. Hey! Love the pillow, as we all do, but I have a question. I think you used wool, but when I clicked “3 ply” on your page it led me to Amazon for Cotten yarn. I was wondering if you think Cotten would work just as well? It’s cheaper and the pillow won’t be keeping anyone warm…
    Let me know what you think!

    Reply
  8. I am so smitten with this project! For years I have tried and failed, time and time again, at crocheting and knitting, because I have congenital defects in my hands. This DIY tutorial not only gives me sweet nostalgia of when I made those yarn-hook projects in elementary school, but also gives me hope I could make a personalized pillow! Thank you for creating this!

    Reply
  9. Hi Erin. This is such a gorgeous design. Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial. We know our readers will just love it!! We’ve included it in our latest craft inspiration roundup. https://craftylikegranny.com/craft-like-no-ones-watching/ Cheers Jodie :)

    Reply
  10. So fun and awesome!! I love love the colours that you used. It’s beautiful! I recently discovered rug hooking too but it’s slightly different from how you made yours. I pull the yarn from the bottom to the top instead of pushing it down like you showed. I too have become obsessed!! Lol. I love discovering new crafts! I’m always inspired by others creations. Thanks so much for sharing yours! Now I want to go make another pillow!! ❤️❤️ Have an aw some day!

    Reply
    • The colors give a little vintage vibe, don’t you think? :) I love how many ways you can use this technique! So fun! So glad you were inspired! :)

      Reply
  11. I love this! Your design is pretty with the yellow against the greys. It looks like so much fun to use the needle punch. I like crocheting because it’s forgiving, so this looks like it would be right up my alley.

    Reply

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