30+ Marvelous Mug Rugs To Quilt & Sew {Teatime Favorites}

Mug rugs are a lovely addition to the morning’s coffee break or to enhance an afternoon tea. Available in endless designs and color themes, they are popular with crafters for a number of reasons:

  • they make quick & easy handmade gifts
  • are a good opportunity to learn quilting without a big expense (oftentimes free motion/stippling can be incorporated)
  • a quick way to gain experience with binding & mitered corners (if a chosen design incorporates this)
  • are excellent scrapbusters
  • very inexpensive for materials

What exactly is a mug rug?

There are no hard and fast rules but essentially, these little “mats” are a hybrid between a coaster and a placemat.

Their job is to protect surfaces from both heat and beverage stains while also keeping table linens clean. Lay out at teatime then put away afterwards, your freshly pressed tablecloth is just as pristine as it was before you sat down.

They don’t need to be washed after every use, simply brush off any crumbs, wipe down with a damp cloth and hang or pack away until the next coffee break. Unless there are spills or messy mishaps, using two or three times before laundering is fine.

What size should they be? It’s essential to have enough room for a cup, a teaspoon to rest after stirring and a little snack or two (muffin, scone, candy bar, etc.). Anything larger than this wades into placemat territory and too big, if there’s only room for a mug, it’s too small and just a coaster. I aim for approximately 10″ x 7″ when winging it.

There’s no specific shape or exact measurements required, though the most common shape is rectangular and about 1/3 the size of a regular placemat.

Does thickness matter? They should be thick enough to absorb small drips and to offer a buffer from heat so wood surfaces are protected. Lining with quilt batting does the trick nicely as well as an old wool blanket and most dish towels, terrycloth or washcloths. This is a nice project to put tired kitchen & bath linens back to work (as lining).

Recommended Supplies:

  • assorted fabric scraps
  • decorative trims
  • basting spray (optional)
  • quilt batting

Quick Tips:

  • Avoid incorporating decorative buttons & beads in the main surface area as this has the potential to make things “tippy” when resting hot beverages on top. Choose instead to position them in corners or around the outer edges where it’s less likely a drink will be set on top.
  • Patterned materials hide spills & stains better than solids.
  • If upcycling stained vintage textiles, use old doilies, ribbons or pretty appliques to cover blemishes.
  • If you have elderly family and friends who you worry about being lonely, why not personalize a mat or two with embroidered messages of friendship & love. They’ll see this every day at morning coffee & it will surely warm their heart, setting the tone for the day ahead.
  • Scented mats can be made by making a pocket on the surface where the hot beverage will sit. In this pocket place a thin muslin sachet loosely filled with scented spices or dried flowers (such as ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, dried lavender or fine potpourri). The heat will activate the scent of the spices for a pleasant, aromatic experience. Remove sachet before laundering the mat.

How To Make A Mug Rug

First up I’ve outlined two quick DIYs then a lovely gallery follows (it’s packed full with over 30 free tutorials).

Quick Rustic Mats:

  • Take 2 rectangles of linen or cotton print of equal size
  • Cut an old tea towel so it’s smaller than the above (1″ smaller on all sides)
  • Sandwich the toweling (centered) between the 2 linen pieces (which are both right side facing out), then sew a double seam (or zig zag) all around the toweling to keep it in place.
  • To finish raw edges, pull threads on all sides to make fringe.

The result is rustic but still nice and washes like a dream. Add sweet embroidery designs or attach lace bits throughout if you want to jazz it up a bit.

Upcycled Vintage Napkins or Embroidered Cloths (this only works if size is well suited for this purpose, cut down if necessary):

  • Fold linen in half (right sides facing outwards) & slide a piece of wool blanket, batting or terry toweling in between.
  • Sew around all sides (right at the embroidered edge) then top stitch to secure batting in place.

Free Sewing & Quilting Tutorials

As always here on Tipnut, only those projects that are 100% hassle-free are included. This means there are no fees charged to access instructions & if there are any necessary templates or pattern pieces, they are provided without requiring an email address submission or membership signup. I also mainly focus on text & photo tutorials, but some may offer additional support via video. If anything has changed since being added to this page, please let me know in the comments area below so I can remove it.

Directions: Click on images to view project pages, a new browser tab will open & save your spot here


Beginner Friendly

Here’s a good, easy design to get started with. The top part is comprised of 5 wedge shapes (she shows how to make & measure the template) in assorted prints, the back is a solid piece.

Source: fairyfacedesigns.blogspot.com


At Home

A pretty little house is assembled with fabric pieces cut in basic shapes then embellished with a bit of decorative trims & basic needlework (either by machine or hand).

Source: fashionedbymeg.blogspot.com


Simple Stripes

Another easy project well suited for beginners, this tutorial does a good job with lots of pictures showing how to press, fold & assemble for a tidy finished piece.

Source: increasinglydomestic.blogspot.com


Alternate Binding Technique

In this version she does the fabric binding a little differently, the bottom piece is larger than the top so the edges can be folded over & stitched in place.

Source: mollys-meanderings.blogspot.com


Snowman

A cute design certain to bring a smile on cold winter mornings, this features a sweet snowman’s face.

Source: plainjane21.blogspot.com


Scrappy

Features a corner pocket that will hold a tea packet, napkin or gift card, etc. This looks like a more advanced endeavor, but the tutorial is so well done that I think beginner’s could tackle it just fine. Provides a sweet mug rug poem that you can use for gift giving (if you want a nice printable version, email address submission is required).

Source: quilterscandy.com


Round

This is quite a clever design that has pockets to stash a little candy treat or two. Finished off with a rick rack trim, she recommends using a circular embroidery attachment on the sewing machine to help you stitch in a perfect circle (though you can use a drawn circle to follow).

Source: quiltingdigest.com


Personalized

If your machine doesn’t have an alphabet stitch option, the personalized message can be hand sewn instead (on a strip of cotton webbing or scrap fabric).

Source: sew4home.com


Festive Gnomes

A free tutorial pdf is provided to download which includes templates for the little hats, beards, nose & shoes of the gnomes. Very cute for the holidays!

Source: sulky.com


Quilt As You Go

This is a fun technique where you take one fabric scrap, stitch it onto batting, then take another scrap & place it face down on the first one, stitch the edge then open & quilt into place. Repeat until the whole block is covered. A nice project to get some experience with the QAYG technique.

Source: betzwhite.com


Gift Giving Tips

These are wonderful gift ideas for: office co-workers, secret Santa, teacher appreciation, friends, family & loved ones.

  • Include small bags of flavored coffee or gourmet tea packets.
  • Include a matching handmade cup cozy or sleeve.
  • Tuck in a note explaining its purpose.
  • Personalize if possible, even a simple cross-stitched patch with a heart shape or “love you” can add a bright spot to someone’s day.

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Comments

    • The Curious Quilter
    Reply

    Thanks for including my mug rug tutorial in your list! People have been hopping over, and also downloading my Lady Bug Mug Rug pattern.

    • Angie
    Reply

    Great post – thanks for including my tutorial! I’m flattered. πŸ™‚

    • Jenna @ SewHappyGeek
    Reply

    Wow, thanks so much for including my butterfly mug rug! I’m truly in some really great company!

    • Rachel @ contented
    Reply

    Thank you so much for including my tutorial too! Some fab designs in that list.

    • Yvonne Bolger
    Reply

    Hi! Absolutely adore the mug rugs…very happy, cheerful AND useful. Do have a question though…does no one else dribble their hot chocolate and cocoa down the side of their mug except me??? Both are very hard to get out. And as far as laying a sandwich, cookie, etc. on them…don’t you have to wash them every time you use them? Know you could use a saucer but, to me, that defeats the purpose of the mug rug. Do you all know something I don’t??? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    Would Scotchgard be beneficial??? Thanks

    • patrick
    Reply

    These are great projects for young kids

    • Virginia
    Reply

    I’m looking for instructions for a “Mug Rug” made from that plastic with the SQUARE holes on it.
    My Aunt gave me one YEARS ago that looks like a miniature, fringed rug and it says MUG RUG, centered. It has a fabric backing, made with yarn & measures 4″ (without fringe) X 3.75″. I wish I could put a photo of it here. It so darn cute! But mine has seen better days. I must have washed it a million times just by swishing it around in soapy water. Rinses & dries fast!

    Anyone? Thanks!

      • A
      Reply

      I googled “square plastic canvas mug rug” and several patterns came up, some with fringe, but I’ve never seen fabric backing used with it. We used to make coasters and things out of that stuff when we were kids, the same way you would cross stitch but with yarn.

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