Ok, so you might think we’re crazy, but we always thought the sheepskin rugs that Ikea sold (especially the super cheap small sized ones that we always grab) were faux. Well, we recently had one of those duh moments when we noticed that the materials weren’t listed as acrylic or some other fabric and instead read: 100% sheepskin. Oops. We should have known- after all, they’re a Swedish company- but for some reason we always saw $99 sheepskin rugs and assumed those were the real ones and that the cheap $25 Ikea ones just had to be man made.
Now we know the faux or real sheepskin decision is an extremely personal choice (just like wearing fur, eating meat, wearing leather, etc) so this post isn’t about judging or debating that issue (to each his own!) it’s just about a faux sheepskin DIY project that we took on so we could happily pass our Ikea sheepskins on to a relative who promised to give them a happy home. It suddenly just felt weird to see Burger laying on the one that we had draped over the sofa but we didn’t want them to end up in a landfill (so handing them off to someone who would appreciate them seemed like the best thing to do). We actually took on two different faux sheepskin projects, so this post will detail one of them while the one this afternoon will detail our second adventure in faux sheepskin making (hence the “part 1” mention in this post’s title). Let the fun begin…
First, we hit up a few stores in search of a super wooly shag rug on the cheap. We hit the jackpot at Marshall’s where we found a large 4 x 6-ish version for $39. We knew we could get at least two faux sheepskins out of it (which made them under $20 each- which was actually cheaper than the affordable Ikea ones) so we snatched it right up. The tawny eggshell color was perfect and the fact that it was convincingly textured and wooly looking made it more of a “perfect fit” along with the fact that the backing wasn’t that baby-doll-head-smelling grippy rubber, it was one of those woven fabric-backed rugs that we prefer.
Then we got to work making a life-sized template to dictate our new sheepskin’s shape, so we taped a bunch of pieces of paper together to get a nicely sized “background” and pulled up the link to the real Ikea ones which we used as a guide. It was as simple as sketching out a sheepskin-ish blob on our taped-together printer paper and cutting it out with a scissors.
Oh and here’s a tip: you can fold the paper in half vertically before cutting it out and just follow the pencil line on the exposed half of your sketch while it’s folded for a perfectly symmetrical result if perfection is you middle name. I actually didn’t go that route because I figured a little asymmetry never hurt and most sheepskins aren’t perfectly even on all sides anyway.
Next we just placed our new “sheepskin” template on the back of the rug and used a thin sharpie to trace around the paper cutout which left two sheepskin sized outlines on the back of the rug:
Then we did a test cut to see what would happen to the rug when we sliced through it. Our big fear was that everything would come loose and fall out (which we thought we might be able to remedy by using white duct tape to tape around the cut-out lines on the back of the rug before snipping to hold things together at the edges). But we were pleasantly surprised that no tape or other precautions were necessary and every slice was clean and no threads came loose even when you tugged on them after cutting. So then it was as simple as cutting out both of our sheepskin outlines…
… which left us with two pretty darn amazing little faux sheepskin rugs. We love all the soft creamy texture that the shag pattern adds, and of course we love that we made them ourselves. There’s always a bit of pride when you get to mention that you DIYed something, right?
Oh and do you see that little pile of fluff under the scissors? We gave the outline of each rug a little haircut to refine the shape and make them look more polished and clean (initially the shag had flopped a few directions while we were cutting so the outline wasn’t very crisp- but a few snips around the perimeter of each of our new wooly additions really cleaned things up and emphasized our intended shape.
Now this version of our DIY sheepskin is thicker and less flimsy than our second one (which we’ll be sharing this afternoon). So it’s not as easy to “drape” over the back of a chair for example (it’s a bit more structured, like a rug would be). In short: it’s much better served as an actual sheepskin rug (ie: use it on the floor as opposed to tossing it over the back of your sofa). Oh and you can make a much larger one for a bigger area with a larger rug (or just by not making two of them from one rug) so that’s another idea. When it came to our two little ones, we did notice that one of them looked great on our square ottoman in the nursery (which required it to be a lot less flexible than thinner surfaces like the top of a soft upholstered chair or sofa) so that’s where we decided it should live:
Isn’t the shaggy texture charming? We just love how chunky and tactile it is- you really can’t walk into the room without petting it.
And Burger LOVES IT! In fact sometimes we can’t find him and he’s in there sleeping on it in the sun. Maybe he can sense that no animals were harmed in the making of it? Either way, so cute.
Our second wooly rug will probably also live in the nursery (on the ground as an actual rug) so stay tuned for those details as we continue to cobble things together in there. Oh and remember how there was an extra strip of leftover rug on one end after we cut out both of our sheepskin templates? Well it was perfect for creating a bonus little textured lumbar pillow. So not only did we get two faux sheepskins for $20 a pop, we actually got two sheepskins plus an accent pillow for $39 total. Not bad right?
All we did was take that long piece of leftover shag and trim the interior edge so it was one long rectangle. Then we “folded” it in half to create a nice loop of shaggy texture. When it came to filling our fluffy DIY pillow, we actually looked no further than a few other rug scraps- so it really is made completely from leftover rug snippings. We love that we didn’t have to buy any batting or anything- and there was practically zero waste created by our entire project since we used it all.
Now we’re sure this next step will leave a few of you shaking your heads, but we’re work-with-what-you-have people, so we actually reached for safety pins to secure the left side of our makeshift pillow (which you see me holding together in the photo above). The great thing about the rug’s incredibly dense shaggy texture is that every single pin was completely obscured but it held things nice and securely- plus it’s super poke-free and safe since they’re buried so deeply in the shaggy texture that you’d literally have to go hunting around for them to find one and then would have to apply a ton of pressure to pop one open (which can’t be done by leaning on the pillow or even whapping someone in the face with it during a pillow fight). Anyway, so we used a few safety pins to connect our loop of fabric on the side and a few more along the top and bottom seams.
As you can see from this close up, they’re placed extremely close to the base of the rug so they don’t stick up and can’t be seen, felt or accidentally opened (they’re literally buried two or three inches “beneath” the dense shaggy fabric).
So unless you’re digging through the long fibers of the rug in search of one they’re completely undetectable. Gotta love a cheap on-hand solution like that.
We’ve been using the pillow for about two weeks now in our living room and we have yet to feel any “small metal nubs” when we lean back on it. And we especially love that it was a free little bonus so if at any point we want to revise how we connected it (and remove the pins) we can- but seriously, so far so good. And we love that we used every last scrap of our rug and got a little bonus decor item out of the deal.
So that’s one take on our faux sheepskin solution. Stay tuned for this afternoon’s post where we actually hunted down fabric and made a more flexible and drapey “throw-like” version. And those were even cheaper and easier so they’re definitely an anyone-can-do-it DIY project. Well maybe not anyone; Burger refuses to help but ironically can always be found enjoying all the fruits of our labor…
Sidenote: Is it wrong that we think he’s the best looking dog in the world? Seriously, he’s a knockout isn’t he? But enough about our heartstoppingly handsome chihuahua. Have you guys ever DIYed anything from a rug or altered one in some fun hands-on way (dyed it? spray painted it? used it to “upholster” something like a cube ottoman?). We’d love to hear all about your thrilling adventures in rug-customization.
Talk about resourceful! Nice job! I recently recovered our circular ottoman from Target. I used some leftover fabric from another project and it turned out decent enough. I figure it’ll last a little longer until I want to spend more money on another ottoman. We use it as our seat in front of our computer (which is in an armoire) so that we can set it off to the side and it is unobtrusive.
Nice! I actually very much prefer the texture of the new, faux rugs.
Sugar Cookie says
I love the lumbar pillow! You guys are so creative ;)
Great job! You guys are so innovative and resourceful! A couple quick questions: What kind of scissors did you use? and did you have to bind the rugs with anything or do the edges hold together well?
We just used a regular kitchen scissors (not my good fabric cutting ones because I didn’t want to “ruin” them) and didn’t have to bind the edges since we did a test cut first. We initially thought we might have to (we figured white duct tape would have worked) but our test cut revealed that nothing was pulling out or coming loose with each snip so we were good to just cut away. Hope it helps!
Pam Power says
I am actually debating about turning one of my tank tops, or a few from our honeymoon into little accent pillows. They are fun beach colors that would go perfectly in our bedroom and help add some color to our fabulous bed (but it just is tan, black and white) so some color would be awesome. The nostalgia of knowing the pillows are from our honeymoon would be a great story to share with people.
Jessica @ How Sweet says
I LOVE it! That is so stinkin’ creative! :)
I absolutely love this! I plan on making this myself!
i knew ikea’s rugs were real because our chihuahua, who is very much house trained kept peeing on them! he must’ve smelled something “real” in them!
great projects – as always!
The lumbar pillow was a nice side project that seemed to come out of nowhere! NICE! And speaking of Burger, upon reading this post, one of my co-workers spyed the pic of him trying out the new digs and said : “awww, who’s cutie is that???” he charms everyone!
Clever idea, guys….but will it stand up to being washed?
Sherry- Good question! The Ikea rugs weren’t able to be laundered at all or even spot cleaned (and we had them for a few years and they never looked very worse for wear- we just shook them out or trimmed some fur if we got something on it). Luckily, our new DIY versions can be spot cleaned since they’re fabric and not fur so they’re actually better in that department!
Christiana- Yup, sorry to be unclear, we pinned the top, the bottom and the side. Hope it helps!
Well done! I had the same realization myself with the IKEA sheepskin rugs. I totally thought they had to be faux at that price. And, I don’t know, I guess I thought real sheepskin would be more woolly and less fluffy?? I threw mine in the Goodwill bag. :)
Did you pin the bottom of the pillow together as well as the side?
Lisa A says
Thank you for this post! I have been on the fence about the Ikea sheepskins for awhile. They are so plushy and nice, but I am a vegetarian and purchasing one of these is out of the question for me. Funny, I was at Ikea just last night and saw a big old bin full of sheepskins, and I passed them right up with a tear in my eye for the critters that gave up their skin by no choice of their own. There is almost always an animal friendly alternative! You guys nailed it here!
Fabulous idea!! Looks AWESOME.
Really great idea! I almost bought those IKEA sheepskin rugs and saw that they were ACTUAL skins and freaked! Love it!!
Jessie (Vegan-minded) says
I have always liked the look of sheepskin, but never purchased one due to my vegan lifestyle. Now I can have the look without sacrificing my beliefs! Thanks so much for this creative idea. I actually think the chunky texture is nicer than that of the sheepskin itself. :)
I was planning to do the same for weeks now!
But now you totally convinced me that this project will work!
Thanks and great work – as always!
[email protected] Belle Home says
I know this post is about rugs, but I am in love with the pillow you created from the rug leftovers! It is just gorgeous and so fluffy!
I assume you scoured the internet and found faux sheepskin rugs that look virtually identical to the real ones. I’m curious why you decided to go the DIY route instead of buying an exact look-alike. Cost? Creativity?
Yup, we love DIYing things on the cheap, so the fact that we could get two for the price of one on the internet (plus whip up a fun project to share on the ol’ blog) attracted us to the make-it-ourself method. Hope it helps!
I’ve actually been wondering for a while why you two had those in your house when you make an effort to be “green” in so many other areas. I’m not personally against fur at all and want one of those (just don’t know where I’d put it), but it seemed out of place with your practices. It makes so much more sense now!
My brother in law discovered the Ikea sheepskins were real when he decided to clean one in the washer. He ended up with a very tiny sheepskin.
this is a great idea! love that you got 3 out of 1.
I’m curious. If a person is opposed to the killing of animals for the sake of a rug, why would they want a rug that *looks* like a dead animal?
I’m not trying to start something, I’m just confused.
We’ve always loved texture and softness and of course anything white (or close to white) is golden in our book. We like what we like- what can we say? I guess it’s the same reason that some vegetarians like faux chicken or veggie burgers and some people who won’t buy leather will wear leather-like bags and shoes made from alternative (and very convincing) materials.
I don’t know which I like more, the rug or the pillow! I’ve never altered a rug or anything but I may start looking around at what I’ve got!
great DIY project! really love it! especially the bonus pillow!! it turned out way better then i would have thought. And the texture from the rug – awesome! Looks so good. I think this may be a DIY project I actually try!!
Lesley H says
I’m with Lisa A and have been dithering over the Ikea rugs for at least a year. I always intend to buy one but it never actually makes it into the cart. I LOVE this option and thank you so much for sharing! Same look but better karma!
Ashley M says
WOW! I was just at IKEA and had that same thought–these must be faux. Little did I know.
Anyways, thank you for sharing! That is such a good idea :)
Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker says
Ugh. That’s upsetting. I wanted to get one of those . . . but as a vegetarian . . . definitely glad to know they aren’t exactly friendly to my lifestyle. I think the new ones you made look GREAT! We have a rug very similar to your new one, but I never thought to cut it!
Thanks for the idea.
Emily V says
Sorry if I’m jumping ahead or if I missed the post, but where did you get that cute storage ottoman in the nursery? I love it!
Hey Emily V,
We’ve actually had that woven ottoman for a while but it’s from Michael’s (the craft store) of all places. We found it for 50% off in the basket area. Hope it helps!
Karen J says
P.S. You guys need to buy some bulk Velcro from Walmart. It comes in strips or coins, different “stickiness” types and is perfect for tons of no-sew projects around the house.
That’s so funny! We actually lamented that we didn’t have velcro on hand when we reached for the safety pins.
Interesting, I always just figured they were faux too. I’m glad you gave the old ones away to someone who would like them instead of just throwing them away- that would have been even more of a tragedy. And I can’t decide which I like more, the pillow or the rugs!
cristin @ simplified bee says
Brilliant!!! Love your puppy too.
Erica B says
SERIOUSLY??!!?? How do you guys think of these things?!? I am LOVING the textures and that throw pillow is to die for!
Jill Stigs says
How fantastic! Loving the texture and creativity.
I just paid $29.95 +tax for a Remy pillow alone (in green though) at Crate & Barrel a couple of weeks ago!!
Yikes! That sheepskin rug was on my IKEA shopping list for my next trip- now it has been removed!
I always did love that rug, but I am very anti-fur and am glad to know this before making the purchase.
Love it! I’m going to have to try this one!
ps. Nico also thinks that Burger best looking dog in the world!
[email protected] says
Wow! It turned out great! It’s good to know, too, that the Ikea rugs are real. I wouldn’t have guessed it, either. It’s best to be an informed customer!
I’ve made a couple of pillows out of shaggy rugs – they’re fun!
However, I must thank you for the earlier inspiration of your nursery chair. I was whopping jealous that you found that at such a wonderful price. My mom and I go to an antique show every month (held under the freeway!) and guess what I found? Yep, I got a chair like yours…the only difference is mine has a cutout in the lower back…and I paid $10!!
It looks fab in my living room, and it’s all because of you two! Thanks for the idea!
Hilarious! I actually really like this idea!! And the pillow thing looks like something I would do because I can’t thread a needle to save my life! Who’s inept? This gal <– :)
I'm just curious – are you having any issues with "shedding". Sometimes if I cut rugs (I've been known to do it in the past), then the finishing seems a little off and it kind of shreds/uncoils, etc?
We’re happy to say that we had no issues with things shedding or coming loose when we cut our rug, but since every rug is made differently (some versions are made of all one piece of wool that can unwind while others are individual tufts that are each knotted in the back like ours) it definitely pays to do a few test cuts first to see how it goes (and then bind the edges with something like white tape on the back or even a band of glued fabric). Hope it helps!
Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife says
OH my! I thought those sheep skin were so cute…and made the same assumption. (“Surely they are fake”). Glad I found this out before I bought them.
Great tutorial! I will have to give this a try instead.
I loved this project and it brought back memories of my firs
apartment many years ago! I had a friend who worked for a carpet business. They had many old sample pieces of carpet that were going to be thrown out so I asked if I could have them. They were colorful, all different types of patterns. I placed all of them right side up and placed them together to get the design I wanted, then turned them upside down and put them together with duct tape! After tuzning them right side up once again, I had an entire room side rug for my living room. Got several years out of that DIY and no cost other than the duct tape! It was a real conversation piece!
The Virginia House says
You guys are genius! I love the simple little pillow, and it looks great too. The less mess, the less work = greatness!
[email protected] Paradise says
Awww….I love your solution! What an adorable idea for the bean’s room!
I love the idea, maybe i might try it but i’m a bit confussed. You have leather things around the house, right? Do you eat meat??I thought you ete meat… Are you really vegetarians? But you eat sushi (red tuna is an endangered species)… I’m confussed…
I dont eat meat everyday, not even every two days, and I would never buy a fur coat or something made of an exotic animal like cocodrile but i’m ok with cow or sheepskin, after all we eat the meat, we drink the milk, we use the whool, we use the leather to make shoes… I don’t know, i’m a little worried right now. Have you heard or read something bad about how they raise or kill sheeps??
Nope, we’re not vegetarians (although we probably have five meat free dinners a week) and while many of our ottomans and furnishings are made of faux leather (a vinyl like alternative that’s cheaper and super easy to clean) we do have one leather chair in the bedroom and we wear leather shoes and purses from time to time (well I wear the purses, John definitely doesn’t!). We try to maintain a nice balance and although we’re not strict vegetarians and we do occasionally wear leather, there’s just something that felt sadder about the sheepskin rugs to us- especially when we saw Burger sitting on them. Again, it’s totally a personal decision and we don’t want this to turn into a vegetarian/leather/fur debate, but we just thought tackling a fun faux alternative was the way to go for us. Hope it helps!
Cute, but I’m feeling disagreeable today I think.
While a wool carpet is fine the rest of the sheep must then go to waste? (I don’t mean yours, i mean the whole production line)
Also I like them now, but I definitely feel like in a few months I would look at them and think wonder why my grandparents toilet rug is on the furniture.
Also burger is kind of fugly. No i’m just kidding there, though I do think my pup could give him a run for your money. :)
I was in TJ Maxx over the weekend and saw a rug that looked almost identical to the one you have. I thought about buying it and cutting it in a cute shape to use as a faux sheepskin, but I didn’t do it. Now I definitely have to!!! Thanks for the tips and for making sure it works! I had no idea what to do with the rug if cutting it made it come loose. Great job! I’ve been looking at the faux fur in the fabric stores, so my guess is that’s what Part 2 is. I guess I’ll find out.
Everytime I got to Ikea, I always pass by them and always wanted one. I bought one last week with birthday money. I always thought they were fake too, epsecially for the price. I saw it was real, and still bought it. I love how soft is. I dont wear fur, but I was naughty and had to by the sheepskin.
WOW! I have a new found respect for ya’ll.
I agree, when you see your fur child sitting on someone else’s fur who wasn’t quite so lucky it puts it into perspective.
I assumed the same thing…that since the rugs were so affordable, they must be fake. Go figure!
That’s too funny. I was thrilled to hear they are real! I’ve been wanting to purchase one for awhile now, but was partially hesitant because I wanted the real-deal. :) I do like your DIY project, though.
This project is so YHL. Fun, creative and inventive. I just love it…and you guys!