Rug Making Designs

How to Find Great Designs and Make Your Own



Going into 2021, the internet gives us access to more rug making designs and ideas than we can possibly use. Artists and what some in the industry call ‘creatives’ are publishing new work and entire portfolios to stock image sites daily; from all over the world. The collective online library is massive. When I got started, I was thrilled to work from the available Dover books featuring patterns, themes, and basic design elements. Those books can still be used, but why bother? It’s all online now, and costs are very affordable. 

Rug Making Designs - Resources

There are times when I have to scour the internet for vector images. Some can be found for free. Vector files are editable files, of a design, logo, etc and can be scaled up to any size easily. There are sites that are subscription sites like istock where you pay per image or per month. The rug design illustrations you see above are vector files that were saved as common jpg images. Most of the professional stock sites carry photos and illustrations and video clips for users to buy. 

When I go into a customers home, I’m looking for design elements that may tie into a rug theme. This is how the rug making process usually plays out: I take photos of design elements (fabrics, furniture, art, wallpaper) and start brainstorming layout possibilities. I work with existing color palettes and generate a few rug designs. 

There are times when they want a design from my design book. This is always preferred because the design is ready to go. It’s wise to expand on your design catalog, just as I have done over the years. Some clients are fine with choosing from existing designs, while others may need a more custom route.  

Make a Custom Rug Design - Start to Finish

Let’s say you’ve found a design theme to play with and client approves your fees to design a custom rug for their living room. Where to begin? Well, start with the steps above, get photos etc. I cover this step in the training course in greater detail.

Step 1: You can use graph paper to create rug size to scale, say 8′ x 10′ rug can be scaled down to 8″ x 10″ inches. Outline this size on the graph paper. Use tracing paper and overlay this on top of the graph and trace your outline. Using tracing paper is ideal for design because it erases easily and can be reworked until the design is right.

Step 2: Identify design elements that can be placed in each corner, you start with one corner. Then fold the tracing paper and trace onto the opposite corner. No need to redraw each corner, just trace all your corners from your original corner. Add a border element to help connect the design elements into a whole design.

Step 3: Take your traced design and put it into a copier machine and make a few prints. Color these prints with brush pens. That’s it.

See these designs below. They were hand drawn like I described above, then scanned into the computer to be colored in an Illustrator program.  

Use a Computer for Professional Illustrations

Making design mock-ups on the computer is necessary if you are going to be a professional rug maker. I use the Adobe CC suite for most of my work, and specifically their illustrator app / program. Sometimes I am sourcing existing designs from sites like istock or adobe’s stock site or maybe a free vector I find online somewhere.

Once I have a design made in illustrator, it’s super easy to change colorways and print out a few versions for my client to consider. Adobe has countless tutorials available for quick learning steps, such as, how to use their tools, setting up your layout, and every aspect is covered for beginners to advanced students.

Finally, I include a fantastic rug making design catalog featuring 5 unique themes with 10 designs in each theme. That’s 50 designs. They are illustrator ready, so they can be studied and replicated for any aspiring rug making apprentice. 

All the Best,

Russell Webb
Sundari Design LLC

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