We Tried Rug Tufting: The TikTok Design Trend of 2021

Tufting seems to be everywhere on TikTok at the moment, so we had to try it out for ourselves!

Last updated: 10 May 2022 - 5 min read

TLDR: Tufting is super fun & meditative, and also surprisingly forgiving so you can be super creative. Be prepared for sore hands!

Tufting seems to be this year's viral TikTok trend. Every day we find a new TikTok artisan who makes rug-making look super fun and trippy! So to celebrate one of our birthdays, we thought... why not try tufting?!

The lovely light-filled space of Studio An

The tufting studio was based in a warehouse pretty much in the middle of nowhere (in Eunos), so our first concern was where we were going to eat lunch since the class was from 11am to 3pm. We ended up bringing our own pastries, but we needn't have worried - we could have easily gotten Grab food delivery or bought food from the shops downstairs! 🙈

Our home for the day

Being complete newbies to tufting, we also didn't know what to expect. We came with a rough idea of the design we wanted (cats! 😻). But we didn't know how big the rug was going to be (we found out - 70cm x 70cm), whether it would be easy or difficult to execute our design, or even whether we could do a round rug or if it had to be square! Turns out it's super flexible.

The tufting frames - they can be cut into any shape!

We started off with a quick 20-minute introduction on how to use the tufting gun. It was pretty daunting. Our thread on the test cloth kept going zig-zag, when we were trying for curves 😅 We started re-thinking our design ideas. Maybe instead of cats, we could just do a design with lots of simple straight lines?!

Justin our instructor showing us his mad skills with the tufting gun!

Thankfully, our instructor Justin reassured us that it would get much easier after the first hour, and encouraged us to challenge ourselves with our design.

Then the fun part: we got to pick out our yarn! There are over-50 colours to pick from and we were really impressed by the quality of the yarn. The wool was super soft to the touch, and felt like we were touching Jellycat toys! The cotton wasn't as soft, but if you want contrasting textures on your rug you could mix wool & cotton to make it look more interesting!

Lots of gorgeous yarn to choose from!

After picking out the yarn, it was time for us to draw out our design on the cloth. We had two choices: we could either draw free-hand on the cloth, or - for a more precise rendition - we could project the design onto the cloth, and trace it out. If you opt for the latter, you just need to get the design on your phone and your instructor will help you project it onto the cloth. Pretty neat!

Our hand drawn design - can you guess what we drew?

After drawing out the design, it was time to tuft! Tufting is a little like pottery - it's a super meditative activity. There's no room to think about anything else when you're using the tufting gun, otherwise your lines will go awry! All you can do is focus on the lines, and breathe. Midway through our tufting it started pouring outside, but we hardly even noticed it.

Hard at work with our tufting gun

When we had completed our tufting, it was time for corrections. We had to check where there were gaps in our tufting, and fill in the gaps. Since any gaps end up becoming holes during the rug trimming/finishing process, we were extra careful during this step. The correction process ended up taking us another 40 minutes, even though we thought we were done!

Our patient instructor helping us correct our rugs

In total it took us 6 hours to complete our rugs - though it felt much shorter! It was meant to be a 4-hour workshop, but being newbies, we didn't pace ourselves very well. We took time out for lunch, worked at a really leisurely pace, and didn't anticipate the time needed for corrections at the end.

View from the back of our finished rug

All of us also had pretty sore hands from using the tufting gun for hours - which can't really be helped! But the soreness went away after a few hours. In the end it was more than worth it. It was a really fun and chilled afternoon, our instructor was patient right to the end, and we all ended up with rugs we were super pleased with 🎉

View from the front of our finished rug

After the session, Studio An helps to finish the rug (trimming, sealing and installation of backing fabric) - so we won't get to see the final product until after 2-3 weeks. We can't wait - and are already planning our second rug!

See here for more information and to book this rug tufting workshop.

Top Tips for Tufting:

  • You can be super creative with the rug design - it's entirely up to you! You can choose a round/square/custom shaped rug, or even a rug wall hanging with a mirror (no additional cost).
  • Feel free to go crazy with colours - there are over 50 colours to choose from! Whether you choose a colourful design or a simple design, the work is pretty much the same as you have to tuft the whole rug anyway.
  • Don't be intimidated as rug tufting is super forgiving. The initial intro to the tufting gun makes it feel daunting but if you make mistakes, you can still correct them along the way quite easily.
  • Bring food you can quickly snack on, as there isn't a huge amount of time for a long lunch.
  • 4 hours sounds long but it actually passes much faster than you think! Pace yourself well, and leave at least 30 mins at the end for final corrections.
  • If you take longer than 4 hours, each extra hour is charged at $10 per person per hour.
  • If you have repetitive stress injury, this isn't for you! Using the tufting gun does strain the hand somewhat - which is fine if you don't have any existing issues. Our hands were sore for hours afterward!
  • Book your rug tufting workshop here.

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