Finally, the classic hand-knotted Moroccan wool rug you’ve saved months for has arrived at your doorstep.
You can't wait to plop it on the floor, lay down, and stare at your ceiling — which needs cleaning from the spiders who moved in.
As you lie there crafting an ingenious plan to vacate your unwanted tenants, you notice your new rug slipping around beneath you.
It suddenly dawns on you — you need one crucial element to complete your carpet home improvement: a rug pad!
So, what is a rug pad, and how do you solve this pressing need for a rug pad?
Well, we have three fun do-it-yourself rug pad projects for you. But first, let’s explore the benefits of making your own rug pad.
Why make your own rug pad?
- Making your own rug pad is cost-effective.
- A rug pad protects your new area rugs from wear due to dust collection and other particles, maintaining their pristine quality for years to come.
- The DIY rug pad protects your floor from color transfer and scratching caused by rough rugs, mainly on high foot traffic areas in the house (for example, the kitchen).
- For slippery flooring and small rugs, a rug pad provides essential non slip grip. Without anything to add extra grip the area rug can bunch and move around while you walk on it and you might slip. A non slip area rug pad can help prevent this.
- A rug pad helps protect your floor from bulky or heavy furniture that might otherwise scratch or dent your floor.
- Your feet will enjoy the extra cushion that a rug pad provides. Even with thin carpeting, the rug pad makes your rug softer underfoot.
- Okay, one more: a rug pad can help insulate cold floors, especially tile to keep your house warmer.
Inexpensive ways to make a DIY rug pad
Regardless of your floor type and the rug you settle on to spruce up your house — rug pads are a non-negotiable addition, and your budget doesn't have to increase much. Why? Because you can make rug pads yourself.
Your rug’s thickness is a solid starting guide for what type of rug pad you should buy or, in this case, make for yourself. For example, if your scatter-rug is the higher pile type, go for dense or heavyweight rug pad materials. Consequently, for thinner runners, low-profile rug pads should do the trick.
Rug Size and Padding Measurements
Rug Size - Padding Size
In many cases, we recommend felt and natural rubber blended rug pads. First, the combination is eco-friendly because it uses recycled material and both materials are completely safe for all flooring types. Secondly, this type of padding offers a nice mix of cushion and provides non slip grip with the natural rubber backing (especially important for smaller rugs).
Use Padding By The Yard for Thinner Rugs
Thin padding from natural rubber is ideal for your low profile runners such as micro-hooked or woven wool. The padding is washable, durable, and prevents tapering.
This type of padding is an excellent option for your staircase runner installation because it protects you and your loved ones from stumbling and rolling down the stairs.
- It makes vacuuming easy due to the firm hold on both the floor and rug.
- The open grid allows air circulation, preventing moisture and dust retention under your scatter-mat.
- If you’ve gone with a super cheap rubber padding, it can contain harmful add-ins like plasticizers or clay fillers that can stain your floor.
Use Carpet Padding to Make a Waterproof Memory Foam Rug Pad
For animal lovers, this should be a fun project. First, memory foam pads are famed for their softness, while protecting your floor from damage so you can comfortably spend time on your rug with your pets. Second, waterproofing can be a huge benefit for pet owners especially if you’re still house training your dog, cat, bunny, squirrel...any type of pet!
Have you ever laid on a memory foam mattress? If so, you know how comfortable and soft it feels. Memory foam is frothed foam with added elements to improve its viscosity — giving it that luxurious feel.
You can buy your memory foam mat padding by the square foot up to your desired size.
- Extremely comfortable
- Waterproof, so it won’t get damaged by spills
- Not as great in high-traffic areas because it doesn’t bounce back quickly.
- Slightly expensive because of its softness.
Buy Felt Padding by the Yard
If you’re looking for comfort and soundproofing, felt fabric padding offers both. It’s an ideal solution for apartment dwellers because you can host a party and all the foot-stomping good times won’t bother your neighbors downstairs.
While this option grips onto your rug for ideal cushioning, you might need to combine your padding with a rubber bottom to ensure a firm hold on the ground for smaller rugs that don’t have furniture to anchor them.
Use your felt padding for larger rug areas and under furniture because the added weight will allow it to hold its positioning.
- Comfort: Feels soft and cushiony under your feet
- Acts as a sound insulator
- Provides heat insulation
- Eco-friendly with recycled felt fibers
- Felt doesn’t have any slip resistance.
3 easy steps to create a DIY rug pad
Rug padding comes in specific sizes and shapes, ranging from 8x10 to 9x12 inches — limiting you from picking one and placing it under your rug before measuring and cutting. Depending on your rug type, texture, and size, your padding must fit underneath perfectly to avoid wonky corners or a circular rug over square padding.
Because you deserve our secret, here’s how you can create your tapestry pad effortlessly and safely.
- Scissors or foam cutters
- A magic marker or Sharpie
- Self healing mat (to cut the padding on)
- Measuring tape
- The padding material you choose for this project
1. Measure Your Rug
Before you head out to get the supplies for your project, first take your rug’s measurements. Take accurate measurements of both the width and length because your pad needs to fit under your area rug neatly without peeking and you don’t want to end up with not enough padding either.
You don’t need to include decorative additions such as tassels on the padding; simply let the rug shine on its own.
2. Lay Out and Trim Your Carpet Padding
Once you’ve purchased your padding material, it’s now time to trim it to your measurements taken above. Place your area rug over your padding and use your marker to trace the outline of the rug on your pad. (Be sure not to accidentally mark up your rug!)
Once you have the outline, cut around an inch inside the marker line to avoid peeking out at the sides.
3. Position Your Rug Pad
Once you’re satisfied with the trimming, ensure your area is clean and free of any particles or liquids. Now simply lay your padding over your area rug or carpeting.
Not sure which side of rug pad goes down? It might depend on the material you chose.
Alternatives to DIY rug pads
If DIY padding isn’t for you, you can always buy one of our rug pads custom cut to your rug’s size.
For smaller runners or area rugs in high traffic areas, we recommend one of our non slip rug pads which keep your rug anchored to the ground even on slippery hard floors.
For medium-sized rugs (4’x6’-7’x10’), opt for the Dual Purpose (Contour-Lock or Superior-Lock) padding providing both cushion and grip or our Pure Grip (Super-Lock Natural, Nature’s Grip, Anchor Grip, or RugPro) padding if you prefer your carpets to lay flush.
Note: All medium-sized rugs need non-slip padding unless you’re putting furniture on top.
For larger rugs (around 7’x10’), you can choose any padding size, but you’ll find larger rugs generally don’t need non-slip padding. With this in mind, one of our cushioned rug pads are ideal for larger rugs. This includes our 100% felt Eco-Plush or our memory foam padding.
FAQs about DIY rug pads
What can you use instead of a rug pad?
If you’re just looking for non slip grip, a simple fix to a runaway rug is to put a bead of silicone glue, hot glue, or caulking around the underside of the rug. (We can’t guarantee the safety of this for your floors though.)
Can I put a carpet pad under a rug?
Carpet padding used for wall-to-wall carpeting is different from rug padding for area rugs and other moveable rugs because it’s not meant to stay flat on its own (it needs carpet tape). With this in mind, we generally don’t recommend using carpet pad under a rug.
A rug pad though? Yes, definitely!
How do you make a homemade rug not slip?
There are many ways you can do this just as you can with a store-bought rug. You can use silicone caulking on the underside of the rug, use specialized rug gripper, or a non slip rug pad.
For more in-depth tips on this, check out our guide on how to keep rugs from sliding.
Does a rug pad make a rug softer?
Depending on the padding density you select, expect some added cushioning. Natural rubber will offer the best grip, while felt will offer both cushioning and shock absorption. For the best of both worlds, comfort and non-slip, we recommend a combination of both.
How can I make my rug thicker?
Should the rug pad be the same size as the rug?
No! Your padding should be at least one inch smaller than your rug. The reason is with smaller padding under your rug, you avoid wonky corners on the rug’s edges and it will taper evenly without being able to see the pad.
How thick should a rug pad be?
If you like the extra cushy-squishy feeling, then ½-inch thick padding is your best bet. However, ¼-inch or ⅜-inch are also standard for padding thickness.
If you have a runner rug, small area rug, or extra thick rug, you may want one of the thinner options to avoid a tripping hazard. Also, if your rug needs to have door clearance, the ⅜-inch thickness or our 1/16-inch thickness RugPro rug pad is your best bet
Step in comfort
We guarantee a rug pad will add a luxurious layer of softness and comfort to your feet, which will thank you later.
Using the fun do-it-yourself projects above, we know you’ll enjoy your Moroccan carpet to its fullest extent — knowing your rug pad is protecting it from everyday wear and tear and keeping your rug securely where you want it to be.
When you get the right rug pad, your floor is well protected, making it a worthy investment while keeping you and your family safe from tripping.
Are you still unsure of what cushioning to get? Drop us a line, we always love to chat rug pads!