Feeling Sheepish: Making A Faux Sheepskin Rug (Part 2)

So we’re back with our second faux sheepskin DIY undertaking (after sharing the first one this morning). For this project we actually visited the biggest most insane fabric store that we’d ever seen while on a recent trip to Charlotte to visit some friends. It’s called Mary Jo’s Cloth Store and it’s basically a gigantic 32,000 square foot warehouse full of about a million bolts of fabric (we’re talking about a football-stadium-sized holy grail of textiles). And it’s located right outside of Charlotte (just off of 1-85 at exit 21).

All I can say is that if they don’t have it there, nobody does. Plus their prices are fantastic. We saw designer prints marked down to $10 a yard that go for $19 a yard here at fabric stores in Richmond. Yes please. Here I am among the rows and rows (and rows) of stacked fabric bolts with my cute friend Kristin who showed us around the town (remember we crashed her house for you a while back?).

And here’s John doing what he does best. Finding the weirdest thing he can and taking an ironic picture with it (yes that’s dental themed fabric with teeth, floss, toothbrushes, and sayings like “smile!” on it). Like I said, if you’re looking for something specific they have it at Mary Jo’s.

Anyway, we ended up bypassing all the quirky patterns (cats with yarn? check. dogs in baskets? check) and picked up a yard and a half of gorgeous nursery fabric to make a modified crib skirt (to obscure the space between our crib mattress and the top of our slide out drawer- stay tuned for those details) along with one yard of fluffy ivory faux fur. We looked through dozens of faux fur options to find the densest, most creamy colored version that looked and felt the most like sheepskin. And the cost? $14.99 for the yard that we grabbed.

The best thing is that it was on one of those super long bolts so even though it was only 3 feet wide, our big rectangle of fluffiness was nearly six feet long which meant we could get three faux sheepskin throws out of it, making them just $5 a pop (which is a heckova deal when you consider that Ikea’s cheap-o real ones are around $25 each). Of course we just whipped out our homemade paper sheepskin template (see how we made that in this morning’s post) and used a thin sharpie to trace the pattern from our template onto the back of our fabric three times.

Then I did a test cut on the edge of the fabric to be sure fluff wouldn’t fly everywhere and the faux fur wouldn’t completely unwind or come loose when it was trimmed down to size. Happily just a few fluffs were freed with each snip (it was sort of like giving the large shaggy fabric a haircut) but nothing too major was released, and even when I tugged on the fur around the edge of my test cut it held steady and didn’t unravel. Whew. This meant that I could then go ahead and cut along me three sharpie outlines to create three fast and easy faux sheepskin throws in a matter of minutes without worrying about binding the edges. Easy.

Things were a bit floofy when I was done (picture my black shirt covered in matted sheepdog-like hair) so I tossed all three of our new throws into the dryer on “extra low heat” and let them spin a bit to shake out any and all remaining fuzz. It worked like a charm and when I pulled out our three surprisingly realistic looking $5 faux sheepskins they looked pretty darn good. Definitely good enough to be used around the base of my Christmas tree, draped over chairs and the back of my couch, tossed over an ottoman or two, etc. And this dryer de-floofing process seemed to really be effective since I was no longer covered with white hair every time I brushed up against them. Which is nice because that would seriously get annoying.

Now just as we mentioned that this morning’s DIY sheepskin project yielded more structured “rug-like” versions, this approach makes for much floppier and flexible “throw-like” accents. So they’re great for tossing over pieces of furniture to add some nice lightness and softness but probably couldn’t hold up on the floor (without creating death-trap slipping scenarios) like our rug counterparts could from this morning. So here’s one of our three new furry guys living it up on the storage bench in our dining area (pardon the bluish-white cast, the sky was reflecting through the window- for a more true indication of the real color check out the picture of them in the dryer above).

Here’s a close up so you can see how the edges look nice and fluffy just like the real deal. We honestly don’t know if anyone would be able to tell that we switched out our real sheepskin for this faux one since they look so eerily similar. Which was totally the goal. Score.

We tossed the second one over the back of a nearby living room chair (we love the layered tone on tone texture that it adds).

And draped the third one over the back of another slipper chair in our den. Doesn’t it look soft and inviting? Who knew three $5 upgrades could add so much to three different seating areas in our house?

So that’s our second faux sheepskin DIY tutorial for ya. It really was as simple as hunting down some wooly white fabric (or even a white furry blanket if you see one of those at TJ Maxx, Home Goods or Target), whipping up a free homemade paper sheepskin template, tracing it onto the back of the fabric (or blanket if you go that route) and cutting it out. And don’t forget that a quick low-heat spin through the dryer should de-lint it for you. Easy peasy.

Or should we say easy fleecey? Sorry that was terrible. I’m cringing over here. Maybe we’re just a little too excited about our cheap-o $5 furry friends (I can’t wait to move them around our house like I used to do with our Ikea ones- they’re so flexible and fun). Plus these are WASHABLE (our Ikea versions never were) since they’re made of fabric, so that’s the icing on the cake. But now it’s time to ask you guys what you’ve been making lately. Have you picked up any discount fabric and used it to recover a chair or whip up a quick pillow? Have you made your own faux-fur throws, pillows, or blankets? Do tell.

Psst- Wanna check out our first DIY sheepskin tutorial from this morning? Here’s a shortcut.


  1. Rebekah says

    Oh my gosh, this is so funny! Everytime I head home to Charlotte (from NYC), my mom and I go to Mary Jo’s so that I can peruse their fabrics! That place is insane!

  2. Christa M says

    What a fun project! I once found myself making a “faux skin” for a Halloween costume. I was going to a party as a native American Indian girl, but the temps were too cold to go without a sweater or jacket. I didn’t want to take away from the costume by wearing something unrelated, so I purchased some brown lightweight fleece and traced a Deer Skin and used that as a wrap….it totally added to the costume and was whipped up in no time!

    Enjoy your new skins! I adore them!

  3. says

    Great ideas! Ironically, I’m not too into “sheepskin” rugs on the floor but I love them in some of the unexpected places you’ve used them (but only in winter).

    I am all about discount fabric! Since I’m not lucky enough to be near a place like Mary Jo’s (oh my gosh that place looks cool) I rely on Internet fabric stores such as fabric.com and fabricguru.com.

    One of my recent best finds was a microsuede in the perfect green (it’s called wasabi) that I used for the cushions for my new kitchen banquette (you can catch a glimpse of them here: http://theimpatientgardener.blogspot.com/2010/02/re-doing-kitchen-part-1.html )

    I didn’t have the skills to make the cushions myself so I had to go to a local upholsterer for that, but the price of the fabric made it worth it: I got it for $9/yard after finding it on fabric.com on sale AND with a coupon code. This is upholstery fabric that is usually in the $40 to $50 per yard range! I was thrilled, and I even tested the swatch I ordered first by pouring red wine on it, letting it sit for an hour and seeing what happened. NOTHING. Perfect for a kitchen eating area!

  4. Renée says

    Since discovering your blog (two weeks ago), you two have brought such DIY excitement to my life! Being on a budget and not having any sewing skills myself, it’s so encouraging to see how you make such beautiful things with creativity and patience. Thanks YHL!

  5. says

    I just picked up some heavy duty cotton home decor fabric in a beautiful stripe pattern that I’m going to use to make slip covers for our dog beds. The stripes work perfectly with the new wall color and really help to brighten the room. So now even my girls will have stylish bedding!

  6. LauraC says

    Great effort, but they don’t look like sheepskin to me – just a piece of fabric. I don’t share your aversion to real sheepskin, but since any kind of fake leopard/zebra/animal print completely grosses me out (mostly because I think it’s so tacky, I just don’t understand it’s popularity, and no, I wouldn’t like the real thing either) I can understand when someone else doesn’t like something that I do like. As you said before, to each his own!

  7. jaya says

    From which angle is this tacky?!?! I for one love it and I love that no animals were hurt- and that you are holding fast to humane instincts and not hurting animals. It is super cute and easy and makes everything look super cosy delicious!

  8. diana says

    Your faux sheepskins look just like the real ones. I have nothing against using real fur (my grandmother raises sheep for food and wool) but I think that spending $5 is much better than $25 for a throw. Great idea.

  9. Jen Z. says

    love both faux projects. I would have never have thought of that. awesome.

    I might be making some curtains for our laundry room. We were thinking about putting in louvered doors, but we thought, it would take us a lot longer to do this part of the project, so we are thinking about buying material and making curtains to hide our boiler & hot water heater. Or if we find the right curtains at Ikea, then we will just hang the Ikea curtains to hide the ugliness. ;-)

    I might also use some material to hide some pipes, but we will have to wait until we get to that part of the project to see what will work for us.

  10. Michelle says

    So glad my city got a shout-out! Mary Jo’s is legendary. Sadly, I haven’t been yet, mostly because my sewing machine got banished after an ultra-stressful Halloween costume project. Looks like I need to get it back out and start plotting some DIY pillows and throws.

  11. Jennifer S. says

    I like this project better than number 1. It’s funny it came up today because this morning I was at the fabric store looking for white faux fur to make a mini fur rug for my kids’ doll house. Good timing!

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