How Braided Rugs Are Made
It's All In The BraidIf you are looking to buy a braided rug for your home it is a good idea to have a basic understanding on how they are made before you make any purchasing decisions.
Originally all braided rugs were made by hand, a time consuming and labor intensive task. That all changed in 1910 thanks to the work of Romeo Paulus.
Romeo was employed by a shoelace manufacturing company, and realized that the same braiding process used in the production of shoelaces could be applied to braided rug production. Romeo modified the shoelace machinery producing the first machine-made braided rugs in the United States.
Today, commercially made braided rugs use one of two main manufacturing methods - round (tubular) braid and flat braid. Understanding this difference is key to a trouble free rug purchase.
The round braid consists of a single central core material enclosed in a braided outer shell. Round braids are similar in appearance to ropes and are usually made using the same machinery.
The appeal of the round braid is cost. Since it is easier to manufacture it can be sold at a lower price. Braided rugs using this production method are most often found in bargain and discount stores.
The drawback with round braiding is the durability of the finished rug. This will depend in large part on the core material. While unseen by the consumer the type of core used is essential to the longevity of the rug. In low quality rugs this core can be made of foam rubber, waste material or even paper. Obviously, these materials do not make for a solid and durable rug.
Flat braids are the traditional method of making braided rugs. They are superior in looks to the round braids and also in maintaining their shape and form. The braids can be manufactured from yarn or cloth, but the final braiding process is the same in each case.
For cloth braids, large rolls of fabric are first cut into narrow strips usually 1"-3" wide. Each strip is then folded along the outer edges and then again in the center to form a enclosed four ply strand. This creates a clean edge and gives the braid added strength.
Yarn braids are created from rolls of yarn that are first woven into flat strips and then wound onto spools.
Three or more of these cloth or yarn strands are then combined using various weaving techniques to form the final braid.
The braid is then wound into the desired shape and stitched together to form the finished rug.