Rounding Up the Herd: Circle Cowhide Rug


You may recall the settee that we recovered back in July last summer. I promised then that I would have another project to post using the remaining scrap pieces from the cowhide.  Today the promise is fulfilled.  We have now used nearly every inch of the cowhide for which I paid $200. This was well worth the money and time.

Today’s project is a simple concept and the instructions are fairly straightforward.  I feel like I must give the disclaimer that if you are working with cowhide, the cutting it tedious and sometimes a bit tough.  I wish, in hindsight, that I had worn gloves.  But even with the blister, I am glad I did it.  It looks great.

savour… waste not, want not

Get the rest after the jump…

Circle Cowhide Rug

Before you start:

This is a great project for scraps, but I don’t know if I would chop up a cowhide that’s intact just for the purpose of this rug.

This could also be done with other materials.  Imagine two felted wool circles sewn together and then glued down.  It could be monochromatic or brightly colored.  Let your imagination run wild.

Some of the edges may have to be tacked down with glue a bit after settling.  As you can see in the photo below you will need to get glue all the way to the edges to avoid the circles lifting.

Choose a color for your base that complements the scheme.  Then decide how much of it you wish to let show.  Fill in with more circles as desired.

The majority of your circles should be the biggest, but be sure to make plenty of smaller ones to fill in the gaps.

Be sure that your adhesive works on leather/suede.

The materials:

  • Cowhide scraps or other material (felted wool)
  • One long piece of felted wool for base
  • Circle template with varying sizes
  • A permanent marker
  • Sharp scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Heavy-duty fabric adhesive

The steps:

  1. Measure out the rug size you want and cut it out of the felted wool sheet.
  2. On the backside of the cowhide start drawing as many circles as you can fit into each scrap piece.
  3. Cut out all of the circles and then trim the sides to make sure the fur doesn’t stick out over the edges of the circles.
  4. Lay the felt base on a flat surface.
  5. Start gluing the circles down on the felt base following the glue manufacturer’s instructions.  Complete the border first.  Alternate sizes as you make the border to give it an organic feel.
  6. Once the border is done, fill in the rest, but do not glue them down yet.  Stand back and look at the layout.  Move pieces around like a puzzle to get the coverage you want and make sure the color is evenly distributed.
  7. Attach the circles with adhesive.
  8. Lay books or boards or something else flat and somewhat heavy on the freshly glued circles and allow to dry overnight.
  9. Trim off the excess felt as close to the border as possible.
  10. Touch up any circles that did not get glue all the way to the edges.