A few months back, just like many of us, I got hooked on TikTok and was fascinated by the individuals who were making their own rugs through tufting. With a lot of confidence, I decided to give it a try and purchased a starter kit from Tuft the World (TuftingGun.com), which included canvas, a frame, and a tufting gun. Although my initial attempts resulted in some less than satisfactory rugs, I have now become quite skilled in the art of creating custom carpets with my tufting gun.
If you want to start this hobby, I would suggest investing in a good quality tufting gun. Although there are many options available on Amazon and other retail sites for around $50-$100, I recommend reading reviews carefully as many of them have been reported to break easily, have weak motors or uneven yarn cutting capabilities. I bought mine for around $250 and with regular oiling and cleaning, it works great. It’s also wise to buy a starter kit as it comes with an easy-to-assemble tufting frame and ample canvas to help you get started.
Using an old projector to cast the image onto the canvas saved me a lot of time. While some people might prefer to draw their design freehand, I’m too impatient for that. Mini projectors are available for as little as $30 and can save a lot of time in laying out your image. Once you have your design, you can easily trace it onto the canvas with a sharpie. When starting out, I suggest avoiding designs with too many intricate lines, small lettering, or too many curves. It took me some time to become confident with those elements. Also, make sure that your design’s letters won’t be reversed when projecting onto your canvas.
Next, pick out your yarn! It’s best to keep the color scheme simple when starting out. Too many colors take a lot of time to change in and out of the tufting gun and can make the design quite complicated. I try to simplify my design to the basic shading and choose colors based on that, which saves me both time and money.
Apart from that, there are plenty of helpful videos and blogs online for each step of the process. Personally, I find it helpful to use my iLevel while tufting, as it allows me to reach different parts of my frame and apply pressure evenly, which makes the yarn more uniform and neater. When finishing the rug, cut your project out of the canvas and apply carpet adhesive and rug backing. After it dries and sticks together, it’s time to trim the excess yarn with a shaver, which makes the rug look cleaner and the details much more visible. In the end, tufting is a lot like coloring, except with a machine gun, which can be quite soothing!