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The Ultimate Guide To Finishing Your Hand-Tufted Rugs

The Ultimate Guide To Finishing Your Hand-Tufted Rugs

Rug tufting is more art than science but it’s all hard work. And by the time you’re done tufting, you feel like an artist who’s put their heart and soul into that piece of art. Only, the hard work is not over yet. Before you can lay the hand-tufted rug on the dining room floor or in the hallway, or even hang it on the wall, you need to finish it first.

This guide to finishing your hand-tufted rugs walks you through that involving process step by step. By the time you’re done reading, you should have a very good idea of how to finish your hand-tufted rug. I recommend you keep this page open while you work on your rug. So pick your rug carving clippers and let’s finish your rug.

Tools Needed to Finish Tufted Rugs

  1. Carpet adhesive and spray adhesive
  2. Adhesive apply tools 
  3. Final backing cloth 
  4. Glue gun and glue sticks 
  5. Twill tapes
  6. Trimming tools

How to Finish Hand-tufted Rugs

The term “finish hand-tufted rugs” refers to the gluing and backing of the rug so that it is more durable and can handle the wear and tear without unraveling or losing its shape or design because of heavy foot traffic. And when you’re done with gluing the final backing cloth, you need to finish the edge and trim the rug before it’s ready to use. 

  1. Apply Carpet Adhesive

Start by applying your preferred carpet adhesive. You can use a spatula to spread the adhesive on the back of the rug evenly. If you have a spray adhesive, it’s usually easier to apply and doesn’t take long to dry out. For a rug measuring 2 feet x 1.5 feet, you’ll need about one pound of carpet adhesive to get the job done.

Make sure to wear protective gear, especially gloves, a mask, and eyewear, before applying the adhesive. Use your hand to rub the adhesive into the rug and the spatula to make it even on the surface.

  1. Glue the Final Backing Cloth to the Rug Backing

From the time you apply the adhesive, you usually have a small window to glue the final backing cloth into the rug. Most carpet adhesives need a few minutes before you can place the backing cloth. Read the instructions on the adhesive package.

Place the rug face down on the floor and spread the final backing cloth on the back of the rug. Smooth out any kinks with your hand and press firmly and evenly across the surface. Make sure the backing cloth covers the rug evenly because once it dries out, you can’t remove it. Leave the rug out to dry in a well-ventilated area for 24 hours. Then cut it out of the frame.

  1. Finish the Edge of the Rug

You’ll notice the edge of the rug doesn’t look clean with the edge of the final backing cloth sticking out in some areas. You need to give the rug a professional look by finishing the edges. Fold over the edges of the backing cloth and allow the yarn to splay out using the glue gun. 

Then apply the twill tape making sure it covers the backing cloth and extends about one inch over the yarn. Use the glue gun to glue the twill tape into the back of the hand-tufted rug. Start at the outer edge then double back gluing the inner edge.

  1. Trim the Rug

Now that the back of the rug is well protected with the final backing cloth, it’s time to pay attention to the front. You’ll notice that some lines are too tight which makes the pile in those spots higher than the rest of the rug. Use the rug carving clippers and duckbill scissors to trim the uneven pile and give the rug a neat and even look. 

Hand-Tufted Rugs FAQs

What to Use to Trim a Tufted Rug?

To give your rug that professional look where the pile has the same height everywhere, you need to trim it. You can use any appropriate tool to trim the tufted rug. However, I recommend using rug carving clippers or duckbill scissors. They make the job a lot faster and easier to finish. Small scissors or even clippers take longer and you’re prone to missing some spots.

How do you Finish the Edges of a Rug?

When you glue the final backing cloth to the back of the rug, you’ll notice that the edges are not even with the fabric sticking out unevenly from under the yarn. You need to finish the edges and give them a clean look so that when you look at the side of the rug you won’t see the backing cloth or the canvas.

Start by folding the edges of the final backing cloth onto the back of the rug and glue it in place using a glue gun. Then apply twill tape on the edges where the folded fabric meets the yarn. Make sure the outer edge of the tape covers one inch of the yarn throughout. Use the glue gun to glue the twill tape into the back of the rug tucking it in around the curves and angles.

Do I have to Glue the Back of my Rug?

You’ll need to apply a final backing cloth to the back of the rug to protect the yarn against unraveling. The best way to do that is to glue the fabric onto the back of the rug. You can use any carpet adhesive of your choice. Some people prefer adhesive sprays since they’re easier to apply and don’t need much work to spread a thin layer of adhesive to the back of the rug.

What is the Backing on a Rug?

The backing on a rug is a protective layer of cloth that insulates the yarn and protects it against wear and tear. You should choose a good final backing cloth that gives the hand-tufted rug the protection it needs. If you want to prolong the life of the rug even further, you can place a pad under it.

How do you Finish the Back of a Tufted Rug?

To finish the back of a tufted rug, you’ll need to glue a final backing cloth to it using an adhesive spray or a carpet adhesive. Wait for the glue to dry out completely which could take up to 24 hours. Then cut the rug off the frame and fold the edges of the backing cloth in using a glue gun. Finally, apply twill tape to the folded edges and glue them with the glue gun.

How do you Shape a Tufted Rug?

The finishing touches you take the time to apply to the tufted rug can make a huge difference in the shape the rug takes. If you notice the pile is higher in some areas than the rest, you need to trim it off with a pair of scissors or rug carving clippers. 


Before the tufted rug is ready to use, you need to finish it by gluing a final backing cloth and finishing the edges with twill tape. Trim the pile to make it even and looking neat.

You can find all the tufting supplies you need to finish your tufted rug on our online store.

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