The Different Types of Rug Making Techniques

Available in all kinds of textures, colors, patterns, and sizes, rugs are a great way to express your personal style and complete the look of a room. In a home without carpeting, they also serve the practical function of preventing furniture and floors from scraping together. When selecting a rug, you may mull over what kind of design and hues you want, but you might also pass over the construction of the rugs. More than any other aspect, the technique that goes into producing a rug determines its overall qualities and aesthetic. Armed with an understanding of what these methods are, and what each one entails for a rug, you can make wise decisions on what to purchase. Here are the different types of rug making techniques used today.

Hand Tufting

This technique utilizes a tufting gun that quickens the process of constructing the rug. This makes creating hand-tufted rugs easier than other techniques done solely by hand or which use slower tools. Manufacturers can even produce the highest quality hand-tufted rugs fast when compared to the other hand making practices.

The process of hand tufting involves a few simple steps. First, the rugmakers hang and stretch taught a foundation cloth on a frame. Through the little squares in the cloth’s weave, they then shoot yarn loops from the back to the front using the tufting gun. Once they finish the whole front surface in this way, they shave down the loops to create an even surface.

Skilled artisans may also cut the yarns with specialized angled scissors to achieve varying heights of the pile on the rug’s surface. This further complements the designs that they pattern across them.

Hand Hooking

Hand hooking involves pulling yarns from the back to the front of the rug with a rug hook tool. The rug’s base is a foundation cloth, and the loops resulting from the hooking remain untouched on the front surface. Since the pile is high, the rugs are lumpier than other varieties, endowing designs with a quirky, rounded style.

The hooking itself consists of pushing the tool through the foundation cloth’s front side, then pulling the yarn strands from the back to the front.

Flat Weaving/Hand Weaving

Flat weaving produces a rug without the need for a cloth from which to build off. These rugs are the pattern and foundation in one, and because they have no backing, you can use either side when you place them down. Their classification as flat is a result of their lack of pile and smoother texture, which also contributes to their durability.

For this technique, you need a loom machine. Building on a structure of two layers of vertical warp yarn, the rugmaker puts the horizontal weft between the top and bottom warp sheets. The loom has a moveable front section called a beater that the rug maker pulls toward the growing rug to press in each additional line of the weft. This way, there are no large empty spaces in the weave that could harm the rug’s integrity once completed.

Flat weaves may have a more piled surface if the professional somewhat alters the process. By placing a pipe or rod in between the two warp sheets in the loom, the yarns rise to form pile. The rug makers then alternate rods and weft in the rug, and once they complete it, they can either leave the yarn loops alone or cut them.


Originating in the ancient East, hand-knotting is a method applied in traditional Persian, Tibetan, and Indian rugs and is the most labor-intensive.

Rugmakers first need to create the base by attaching warp yarns to a loom and weaving weft onto the warp. As they put on the wefts, the rug maker will tie small knots around the warp strands one by one. These knots form by threading the horizontal yarn on the left side of warp yarn and curving it back out on the right side of the warp. From there, the weaver directs the weft back left behind an adjacent warp, then brings the fiber to the front on the left side of that second warp. After, the professional may cut the yarn, and one knot is complete.

Understandably, this complex process is slow and represents one of the most high-quality rugmaking techniques. It can take anywhere from several months to over a year for the artisans to finish one rug. If a rug is large, multiple people must work on it to maintain this time table. Even then, there can be variations in hand knotting that craftspeople use to fabricate different patterns and textures. Moreover, some hand-knotted rugs possess more knots per square inch than others, which boosts their quality even further.

Machine Making

In modern times, machine making permeates the industry and is perhaps the most accessible of the rugmaking techniques. Able to loom, weave, hook, and tuft, machines can generate completed rugs in a fraction of the time of handmade counterparts. Automated loom machines can create a variety of intricate patterns with pinpoint accuracy through the application of computer-aided design technology. Machines minimize imperfections and possible defects in rugs as a result.

Oftentimes, the durability of machine-made rugs can rival even hand-knotted variants if they are of higher quality. As such, this ensures their longevity over a couple of decades if properly cared for. Speaking of which, their versatility in material composition (including natural and/or synthetic fibers) can make them easier to maintain and clean compared to more delicate hand-made rugs. A lot of times, you can simply place them in a washing machine when they become dirty.

Now that you have more information on the different rug-making techniques, you’re all set to go search for some of your own. If you’re in the market for the perfect rugs to adorn your home with, Boutique Rugs has an extensive selection to choose from. Whether that be area rugs under $100 or more luxurious and traditional design, we have something to suit every individual’s style. Contact us today, and we’ll be happy to help you find the ideal fit for your style.

Rug Making Techniques