Sep 17, 2011 - Recycle & Reuse    24 Comments

Chevron Rug Tutorial

I have been wanting a kilim or dhurrie rug for quite some time now.  I have eyed the ones at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Sundance Catalog, even neighbors.  Unfortunately my budget doesn’t have room for any of those right now.  So after some thought, I decided to convert a rug that I already have into a “dhurrie style” rug.   I have seen other bloggers paint a rug, but with my dirty little munchkins I have to be able to throw it in a washer and know it will be clean!  So searched for another solution.  This is my Chevron Rug Tutorial:


Difficulty of this project: Medium (only because of all of the measuring)

 Supply List:  regular bleach (any brand), blue painter’s tape, measuring tape, spray bottle, rags or paper towels and a square (not necessary, but helpful) and…a rug!

[note: pour bleach into empty spray bottle.  I used an old Windex bottle I had.  Be sure it has a mist spray.  Also, do not leave the bleach in spray bottle for a long period of time because it will expand and break down the plastic of the spray bottle.]

Here’s how I did it.

Find an old rug, I happen to have an Ikea runner rolled up in my basement.  It needs to be at at least partially natural materials.  100% cotton works great, but so does a 50/50.

Measure the width of the rug and divide it in half, then draw a line down the center of the rug.  Mine happen to be about 30″ wide so my center line was 15″ from each side.   (I know, it’s a lot of math, but I tried this many other ways, and none of them worked.  If you follow these measurements then your rug will be consistent)

 Then make a mark half way between the edges and the center line.  So for my rug I made lines at 7 1/2″ and 22 1/2″.  I also wanted to give a little space at the end of the rug before I started the chevron pattern so I marked 3 inches up from the bottom of the rug and drew a line perpendicular to the center line.

Next is the tedious work of marking up the rug.  I used a pencil (which came off in the wash) and started in the center line.  Start with a tape measure at the 3″ line.  Measure up the width of the desired stripe.  Mine is a thick and meaty 7 inches.  Then I made marks all the way the center line at 7″ increments.   Repeat the same marks on every other vertical line on your rug.  For me the next vertical line was the edges, so I marked them up.   Next divide the thickness of your line by 2.  For me it was 3 1/2 inches.  Use that measurement to start the next markings on the even vertical lines (mine were the 7 1/2 and 22 1/2 inch marks).  Now your rug should be all marked up and ready to tape.  The following layout may help.


[note: the above drawing can be altered to have the chevron be at 90 degree angles or a wider angle like I have selected.  I felt the wider angle was more pleasing to the eye and less jarring.]

Begin taping dot to dot.  I used 2″ blue painters tape and filled in the stripe till it was 7″ thick.  Then I sealed the edges by pressing down carefully on all the edges.  Continue to work your way up the rug.

Lay the rug out in a dry well ventalated place, like the garage, put on a mask and get ready to spray.  My helper is ready to do the Bleach dance.

Spray the rug evenly with on hand from one side, then rotate to the other side and repeat for an EVEN layer of bleach.  Do not drip large droplets, but lay down and even light coat.  Magically, before your eyes, it will begin to lighten!  Since my rug started out green it lightened to yellow.

After you finish spraying and admiring your changing rug, grab a rag and dry off any droplets that have pooled on the tape.

Now the worst part, WAITING!  I was ready to rip off the tape and wash it immediately, but based on all that I had read about this process told me to wait.  Wait till it is dry to the touch, completely.  For me that was about 3 or 4 hours.  Then…remove the tape and shake the rug.  Beat it actually.  You need to get rid of any dried or crystallized bleach.  This will reactivate when wet (like in the washer) and bleach areast you don’t want bleached.  OK, now that you have beaten your amazing looking rug, DRY it in a dryer.  Yep, more waiting, drying it will help get off even more crystals and powdered bleach.  Then, BEAT it again in the garage.  Finally, you can throw it in the wash.  I did a rinse and then a wash and it turned out perfect.


In this close up shot you can see where a little bleach seeped under the blue tape, but I think it adds a natural feel, I don’t mind it one bit.

Here is a shot of the colors in daylight.

I’m not sure it this will be it’s final landing spot, but it looks darn fine in my mud room!

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Or, as long as it is clean, I’m loving it as a table runner!  Who knew, this old Ikea rug from 15 years ago would deserve a spot at our dining table!

Have fun and let me know how YOUR project goes!

Linked Up: Tatertots & Jello


  • Absolutely amazing Amanda! I, like you have been looking around for an amazing dhurrie rug at the right price! You inspired me to try and make my own!!!!!

    • Kara! You know the “neighbor” whose rug I’ve been wanting was your entry kilim! Can’t wait to see what you do.

  • So glad I found your blog!! i just bought a painted rug from urban outfitters and love the design but not the colors. I am so going to try your bleach method to lighten it up then paint in a little detail to make it work with my decor. Thanks for the inspiration:)

  • I love what you did with this rug. What a fabulous technique!

  • Wow, this is so beautiful and such a great tutorial. I would love to try this some day, it is the most natural looking rug I have seen for a DIY look. Great job!

  • I love this idea and your finished piece looks great! Totally pinning it!

  • I love this idea and your finished piece looks great! Totally pinning it! Fab!

  • Great idea! I would be a little concerned about the crystallized bleach getting shaken off in the dryer….if it isn’t all sucked up into the dryer vent, would there be issues with throwing in wet laundry and having bleach spots from the powdered bleach?

    I guess you could dry a few loads of whites to get rid of anything….but with my luck, it would hang around and bleach all my dark clothes :)

    • Summer, I worried about that too, but I did just what you said, a load of white towels right after and haven’t had ANY problems! I hope you try it, I love mine and now I wash it all the time and it turns out beautifully (unlike the painted ones).

  • I am so impressed!! This is gorgeous! Never thought bleach could make something look this good. I featured this on my blog here:

    • Thanks Victoria! I really LOVE them. If it is possible, they look better in person, if I do say so.

  • I love the color of the paint in this dining room. Do you know what it is called?

  • oohhh I found this on pinterest and LOVE your rug! I’ve never thought of using bleach but wow, what a great result. Thanks for sharing this project, I wanna go bleach my rug now :)

    • Lisa, It has been a few months since I bleached my rug and I thought I’d give you and everyone else an update on it…fantastic! It has held up beautifully and I throw it in the wash all the time. Go for it, you’ll love it, I promise. Oh, and send me a pic, I’d love to see what you do!

  • LOVE your rug. I’ve been hoping to do something like this for a while but didn’t want to paint it like many of the tutorials out there – who wants a stiff rug!
    Just wondering if you think bleaching might work on a more intricate pattern? I sort of want to do something like this –
    I know it woudl take forever to tape off, but wondering if you can weigh in?


  • […] Bleach Out Chevron Rug […]

  • This is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  • This is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  • This is so gorgeous. Love it turned out. Thanks for sharing this chevron rug tutorial.

  • looking good

  • nice post

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