Group Art Rug

Punch rug created by a group of elementary students. Photo appeared in Arts and Activities Magazine, February 1974

Punch rug created by a group of elementary students. Photo appeared in Arts and Activities Magazine, February 1974


I found a really interesting group art project in an old Arts and Activities magazine. Teacher Harriet M. Judy of Niles, Illinois, wrote ‘Rug Punching’ for the February 1974 issue. Before reading this article, I had never even heard of rug punching, but I was attracted to the bold graphic design (it reminds me of Disneyland’s ‘It’s a Small World’). Here is an excerpt:

The children were introduced to rug punching in the late fall.  The use of bright colors and bold, geometric shapes was stressed as each child planned his design on manila paper.  Old picture frames were collected, and burlap was tacked to them. (The tacking itself required coordination and was great fun.)  The children drew their designs on the back of the burlap with permanent markers.  A spare frame was used to demonstrate to the children the technique of using the rug punch needles.  The children were allowed to work on their rugs after they had completed their other assignments and during a specified time at the end of the day.

The results were judged so magnificent that the teachers and the children decided to combine all the separate designs into one large wall hanging for display inside the entrance to the school.  So a stretcher frame big enough to handle a large piece of canvas was purchased by the school.  The burlap was attached to it, the designs were drawn, and the group work was begun.

…these boys and girls were so enthusiastic and absorbed in their project that they worked well together.  Each one had his own design to work on, and everyone worked together around the frame.  All the children’s names were worked into one corner by a teacher.  When the rug punching was completed, the frame was painted.

The rug now hangs on a large wall in the entrance to the school.  It is most impressive, and everyone admires and enjoys the colorful designs.

Click here to learn how to rug punch, or watch this 2-minute video.


Happy Throwback Thursday! Stop by next Thursday to see what I’ve found in my stash of vintage art education magazines.

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4 thoughts on “Group Art Rug

    • Hi Hope
      Is this cool? I can see this technique being used for a Calder-inspired rug, or individual bold designs in embroidery hoops or old picture frames. Glad you like it!

  1. Hi Rina
    Love your site! I used to rug punch as a child and was going to introduce it to my art class but am having trouble finding a cheap rug punch tool. The one in the video is quite expensive when you have to buy at least 40. We used to use one that was only .99 back then, and the only ones I can find like that is on ebay but not in any quantity. Do you know of any source for these “vintage” punches? (I guess that means I vintage too!)
    Thank you for this awesome sight!

    • Hi Deb
      So glad you like the project! I did a little research on punch needles….I found a simple, lower price needles manufactured by Dimensions. It’s the Dimensions Punch Needle Tool and Threader model 73100. I saw them as low as $2.00 each (plus shipping) on Amazon Click here to see these. I have NOT tried this product, but I hope this helps.
      Good luck! I’d love to see photos of your students’ work.

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