Christmas Mug Rugs - a clothes upcycle tutorial!

This week for my Christmas Shouldn't Cost the Earth series, I wanted to look at some Christmas crafts to use about the home. I've seen some gorgeous Christmas Mug Rugs about, so thought I'd try some of my own. Christmas is full of all kinds of drinks and snacks so I'm sure these will get a lot of use!

I used old clothes and scraps to make both of these mug rugs so they cost me nothing to make, and they are nice and light and will wash very easily. 
The tree mug rug was inspired by a table runner I saw on Pinterest but unfortunately the link is broken!

The Rudolf mug rug was made using the Rudolf appliqué template from my Christmas Handibag post.

So here's how to make a Christmas Mug Rug from upcycled clothes and scraps.

First choose your fabrics. You will need a plain(ish) fabric for the main front piece, some t-shirting or other soft fabric for the middle layer, and a pretty Christmassy coloured scrap piece for the back and some green and brown fabric scraps for the trees and their trunks.

I used one of my husband's old shirts for the main white piece, an old sports shirt for the middle layer and a green scrap for the backing. I also keep all my appliqué scraps so have plenty of pieces with fusible webbing already on the back, ready to use for smaller appliqué projects. I chose some greens and browns for the trees and trunks.  

You can make a mug rug whatever size you choose. For mine I cut a piece 28 x 24 cm (11 x 9.5") for the backing and the middle and front pieces were both 24 x 20 cm (9.5 x 8").  The backing should be 2 cm (just under 1") wide all the way around your other two pieces.

Next you need your trees and their trunks. Cut triangles of varying sizes from your green scraps and small rectangles of brown fabric with fusible webbing ironed onto the back. 

Peel the backing off your fusible webbing and arrange your trees how you would like them on the front rectangle of your mug rug.
Then, following the instructions for your fusible webbing, iron your pieces into place. (Mine gets covered with a damp cloth and ironed).

Once your trees are held in place, appliqué (or tight zig zag) stitch around the edges.

Next place all three layers of your fabric together. The backing on the bottom, then the middle layer and finally the front piece you just stitched the trees to. Place pins in the trees to hold the three fabrics together.

Now you need to stitch around the trees to hold the three layers together.  I chose to loosely outline the outside of the trees - but you could do any kind of random or patterned stitching around and between the trees!

This is what the back now looks like.

Finally you're going to bind your mug rug, using the backing fabric. I hadn't tried this before - but found a lovely little tutorial for it here from Cluck Cluck Sew.
You simply double turn the outside edges in over the front of the mug rug and pin into place.

For the corners you simply fold a triangle over before double turning the next edge.

Once you have the binding all pinned into place, top-stitch all the way around, close to the inner edge of your binding.

And that's it! You're done!

 Grab a cuppa and a biscuit, then relax and admire your new Christmas Mug Rug!

You could make any design and size you like - just piece together scrap fabrics, using fusible webbing to hold in place and create your own unique Christmas Mug Rug design.  

I'm very pleased with my two new Christmas Mug Rugs and will definitely be making more of these with some different colours and designs... Any suggestions?

For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

For heaps more Christmas Crafting inspiration, why not take a look at the group Pinterest Board

Feel free to ask for an invitation to be a pinner for the board - the more the merrier!

And to see what else I've looked at so far in terms of eco and budget friendly Christmas crafts - go here!


  1. I love these and oddly enough a mug rug has been on my list for ages.
    The one currently on my desk is looking more than a little sad....

    For Christmas I might do some star appliques. I have lots of scrap star fabric and some bigger pieces for the baking/binding.
    A present would also be good, because I am a beginner sewer and squares are easy to sew around :-)
    Thanks again for the inspiration.

    1. Thanks Fiona! Star fabric would be perfect for some Christmas Mug Rugs! Would love to see them when you make them!

  2. Aww...this is so cute! :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  3. Such a wonderful effect. You really are a wonder with a sewing machine. I love the little trees, I might take something from this for our Christmas crafts here, though mine might be stick on as sewing machines are beyond me! I'll let you know if I borrow this one. Thank you for sharing with me on #Trash2Treasure.

    1. Thanks so much Fiona - and do let me know if you make your own little Christmas trees - would love to see them!

  4. These are lovely Jill, I especially like the reindeer one :):)

    Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays

  5. Hi Jill,
    Your mug rugs are really cute. I'm just letting you know that I will be featuring this tomorrow at Monday's Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Thanks and we hope to see you again.
    Julie @ Julie's Lifestyle

  6. I'm always so amazed by you! This looks so good! Pinned and tweeted. I appreciate you taking the time to party with us. I hope to see you on Monday at 7. Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

  7. Thanks Suzie! And do try them - they were lots of fun to make!


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