Sheepishly Simple


Our living room is gigantic- which realtors consider a great selling feature- but when you’ve come from a 600 square foot apartment that barely fit one couch end-to-end, a gigantic living room is very intimidating.  We’ve come a long way in filling the room, having purchased an equally gigantic entertainment center, end table and inherited a coffee table and two chairs but the room is still looking like a barren wasteland and, sadly, still only half full.  Look at all that empty space!

I eventually have big plans for another seating area by the fireplace but I knew our furniture budget wasn’t quite ready for the Pottery Barn chairs I’ve been eyeing.  Channeling my inner-HGTV, I knew creating another seating area would help be defined by the use of another rug.  The size of the rug was going to be a challenge as the area was long and rectangular meaning standard size area rugs weren’t going to work.  We pretty much needed a runner (a long, skinny rug made for hallways) but all the runners I found were too long for the space.

One night, in one of the rare occasions where Chris had won control of the remote, I lost interest in the TV and began analyzing our future second seating area.  When suddenly, visions of sheepskin rugs filled my mind (faux of course!).  That’s just what the room needed size-wise and texture-wise.  The shaggy surface would warm up the room and the white/creamy color would blend in with the rest of the decor.

I excitedly began scouring the Internet for options.  In minutes, I found a sheepskin rug at IKEA for $29.99.  What a deal!

I went to check it out at the store and saw it was much smaller than I had originally thought (no dimensions were listed on the website).  We needed something about three times as long and twice as wide.  Hmm.. what to do…

I revisited Google to find other sizes of sheepskin rugs available and saw this guy.

Apparently, sheepskin rugs come in single or double pelt size.  Double is just what I needed.  Amazon had this one listed for $124.99 but I didn’t want to settle without seeing what other price options were out there (i.e. could I find this for cheaper?).

It was my lucky day when I found this tutorial from Young House Love showing how they made their own single pelt sheepskin throws for $5 each using material they found at a fabric store.  It sounded simple enough.  I wondered if I could apply the concept to make a double sheepskin rug.  And the challenge was on!

I dragged Chris to Joann’s by tempting him with the burger place situated next door (it always works!).  I found the perfect furry fabric that was even softer and whiter than the IKEA version.  It was perfect!  And at $9.99 a yard plus my 20% off coupon, I knew that even if we didn’t end up liking it, at least it wouldn’t be a huge waste of money.  I ended up purchasing 1.5 yards which totaled to $12.  Not bad!

Look how soft and fuzzy the fabric is!  Even Chloe approves and quickly made it her go-to nap destination.

I sketched out the design on the computer and soon determined that I could make a template using only a fourth of the overall design and just mirror it on the other three sides, making the rug symmetrical and the template easier to use.

Here’s the overall rug design I created and a copy of the quarter template I used to cut the rug.  Feel free to borrow!

See?  It’s the same shape on each of the four sides!

I gathered up newspapers and taped them all together.  I free-handed the quarter-template I created on the computer on top of the newspapers and cut out my template.  I probably could have just printed the quarter-template from the computer but was feeling in the drawing-mood.

Once I cut out the newspaper template, I flipped the fabric over to trace the design on the backside.  That way, if I messed up tracing, no one would ever see it.

Let the tracing begin!


A quick snip, and our rug emerged!  The fabric was pretty flimsy on its own so we decided to buy a cheap runner from Wal-Mart for $15 to use as the backing.

We cut the same shape in the runner (it was a little skinner than the sheepskin, but we just needed it to cover the main part for support) and with a little hot glue, boom- instant rug.

To the tune of $27, we got our own luxurious, custom rug!  Not too shabby.

Now about those Pottery Barn chairs…


We can be pretty Texan at times- we believe “y’all” is the only acceptable second-person plural, we don’t eat beef bred elsewhere, and we still remember the Alamo. What throws off our non-Texan friends and family, though, is that we don’t fall into the Texas stereotypes- we don’t own a truck, we only wear reasonably-sized belt buckles, and have no animal hides anywhere in the house… or so I thought.

Julie and I have spent more than a third of our lives together, so I feel like I know her pretty well. Every once in a while, though, she catches me by surprise and busts out with something completely un-Julie. Like when she said she wanted a sheepskin rug. My laughter quickly turned to confusion as I slowly began to realize that yes, she was serious. A sheepskin rug? Like, a rug that still looks like the sheep it came from? In this house??

I’m not picky and she seemed to be excited about it, so I decided to let her run with it. We went to a few stores and found a few options, but nothing that really met our needs or budget. And then she said the four words I’m beginning to hate: “Could we make one?” We went home and took some measurements and decided that as if our lives weren’t weird enough, we were going to make a rug.

We went to that fabric store where all the old ladies are shocked that I’m willing to even walk through the door, and Julie picked out some fabric. I wouldn’t call it “rug material”, but for 1/10th the cost of a real rug, I wasn’t about to object. We went back home and began laboring over exactly what a sheep rug is supposed to look like. Julie quickly drew up a pattern and within a few minutes, she had something traced out. She cut it out and we had a rug- mostly.

We tried laying it out on the floor, but it was pretty flimsy… and it was quickly gone. While we were distracted by a discussion about the mantel, the five-pound cat ran off with our new rug. This was a problem we hadn’t anticipated, but the solution was pretty simple. We bought the cheapest runner we could find at Wal-Mart and traced the rug over it. A little hot glue and ca-ching! A rug that can’t be nabbed by the cat burglar.

As stated before, I was never into animal skins, but I have to admit I kind of like this rug. It’s soft, fills some empty space, was less than $30, and makes it easier to find the cat. So add “rug maker” to the resume!



Filed under Easy DIY Projects, Living Room

2 responses to “Sheepishly Simple

  1. very good idea!! I am a follower of yhl as well adn saw her tute, but it is awesome to see someone else put it to the test. Thanks for sharing, it turned out great!

  2. DO or DIY

    Thanks Teresa!! I always love putting a new spin on good DIY ideas! You have some great ideas on your blog as well! I had fun checking them out- love that placemat turned pillow. What a great idea!

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