In recent years hand-making rugs have become increasingly popular. While people have been stuck at home during various lockdowns due to Covid-19 many have turned to learning a new craft.
Rug tufting involves using a tufting gun to hook or punch yarn into fabric to create your rug design. The invention of the tufting gun has drastically sped up how long it takes to produce a rug compared to old-fashionable manual methods.
In this article, we explore what a tufting gun, what is a cut and loop pile rug and which is the best gun for each rug finish.
What is tufting?
Tufting is an ancient technique used for creating warm fabrics. It involves punching short folded pieces of yarn through the weave on a fabric base. This creates dots on one side of the fabric and ‘yarn tufts’ on the other side.
Originally used to create warm garments the technique was eventually adapted to make carpets and rugs. Each item is completed by gluing and backing the fabric to keep the yarn in place once tufted.
What is Tufting Gun?
A tufting gun helps automate the process of hand-making a rug. There are various types of guns that help create low and high pile carpets with either cut pile or loop pile finishes.
Electric guns create low pile rugs and pneumatic guns create high pile rugs. In this article, we are going to compare different electric guns as these are perfect for use at home.
How does a tufting gun work?
Tufting guns usually create two types of pile on a rug. A cut loop pile, which has its yarn cut every time the yarn is pushed through the fabric, which creates a “U” shape or folded yarn. Or a loop pile, which is a continuous piece of yarn that is punched into the fabric, creating tight, small loops in the front side of the rug.
Let’s compare both types of tufting guns so you can choose the best gun for your rug project.
Cut Pile Tufting Gun
What is a cut pile?
This is the most favorite type of rug pile. It creates a loose, shaggy pile that is soft on the feet.
The cut pile is created when the tufting gun cuts the yarn has been pushed through the base fabric. This creates an upright pile with the fibers exposed. Yarn strands can be ‘tidied up; using scissors and uneven pieces of yarn can easily be removed.
As each yarn added to the rug pile is cut you must finish your rug with glue to keep your rug intact once in use.
The Cut Pile Tufting Gun
With the cut pile tufting gun, you can create cut lengths between 5mm and 20mm, when used on the longest setting you can create quite a plush rug finish.
Cut Pile Pros/Cons
- The rug pile will splay outwards on the right side which can make detailed designs more difficult and can sometimes result in color bleeding when colors are next to each other.
- Scissors are built into the cup pile tufting gun to make cutting the yarn super easy while working on your rug.
- Imperfections on the front of the rug can be corrected by using scissors to tidy up lines and edges.
- You can complete your rug quicker as the cut pile tufting gun is cutting the yarn for you. You are able to work on any area of your rug with ease.
Loop Pile Tufting Gun
What is a loop pile?
Loop pile rugs contain looped yarn in the rug pile. They are created from a continuous piece of yarn that is punched into the base fabric by the tufting gun.
Loop pile rugs are very durable and an excellent choice for areas that receive a lot of footfall.
When creating a loop pile rug, you will need to keep a pair of scissors handy as the loop pile tufting gun doesn’t have inbuilt scissors like the cut pile tufting gun. They are needed to cut the yarn when you have completed an area.
The Loop Pile Tufting Gun
The loop pile tufting gun punches yarn onto your base fabric in a continuous cycle, the result can be quite rough due to the tight, small loops of yarn created.
Loop Pile Pros/Cons
- Due to the loop pile tufting gun not containing inbuilt scissors you need to manually cut the yarn after each line/area worked on.
- You will need to cover more area of the base fabric with yarn so that you have a compact rug pile on the front.
- You are unable to shave down the rug edges or any part of the rug design otherwise you will turn your rug into a cut pile finish.
- The finish of a loop pile rug is quite tight meaning that patterned designs look neat and don’t need any tidying up
- You are able to complete more detailed designs using the loop pile method.
Which tufting gun should I choose?
Both the cut pile and the loop pile tufting guns are brilliant for helping speed up the process of hand-making your own rugs. The main thing to consider when choosing which tufting gun to purchase is what kind of rug you want to make.
If you are wanting to make luxuriously, soft rugs with minimal patterns choosing the cut pile tufting gun may be the best choice. However, if you are wanting to create detailed patterns with a durable finish the loop pile tufting gun may be for you.
Whichever tufting gun you choose to purchase it is important to remember that there is a learning curve when starting the craft and it may take lots of practice and a few weeks to start feeling completely comfortable using a tufting gun. Once you have mastered how to hold, move and use your tufting gun you will be unstoppable.