icon Backing for Handmade Rugs: Keep Your Rugs From Slipping

Backing for Handmade Rugs: Keep Your Rugs From Slipping

Best Backing For Handmade Rugs

When looking for backing for handmade rugs, there are a few considerations that you should keep in mind. Unlike store bought rugs, handmade rugs are usually soft on both sides, with no extra protection on their underside to help them adhere to the floor.

By adding backing, you'll make your rug more functional and more durable. Backing will help your rug stay in one place and last for many years to come. In the list below, we've compiled some of the best options for backing handmade rugs, plus quick how-to guides for each technique.

1. Anti-slip Spray

Super grip anti slip spray

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Anti-slip spray is exactly what it sounds like -- a spray that is applied to the underside of your rug to prevent slipping! Several different brands offer this popular backing option. It is known for being highly effective and easy to apply.

How to Apply

Simply spray your anti-slip spray onto the clean back of your rug. Make sure to shake the can before spraying. Try to evenly cover the back of your rug, and don't spray for too long in a single area.

Black and white photo of an aerosol can spraying

After you've applied the spray, allow the rug to dry completely. It shouldn't feel tacky or sticky when you touch it. It could take up to a day to dry.

Pros of Anti-slip Spray
  • Very easy to use
  • Non-toxic varieties available
  • Fits all sizes of rugs
  • Won't damage floors
Cons of Anti-slip spray
  • Can easily freeze if not stored properly
  • Takes longer to dry than other backing options
  • Large amounts of the product must be applied for it to work
  • You might need to reapply after a rug is washed

2. Fiber Lok

Fiber Lok is a brand of natural rubber that can be painted onto the back of your rug for non-skid protection. It keeps your rug in one spot and also helps to lock strands of fiber in place.

This extends the life of your rug and keeps it in shape no matter how long you use it. It's great for saving rug hooking that is coming loose or maintaining older rugs that are starting to fray.

Plastic jar of Fiber Lok product
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How to Apply

Fiber Lok should be applied in two coats. The first coat can be applied with a paintbrush and should be evenly applied in a thin layer to the back of your rug. The second coat can be applied in a similar manner as soon as the first coat is completely dry.

You shouldn't wait more than 12 hours after the first coat to apply the second coat. Once both coats are dry, you're good to go -- it's as simple as that!

Pros of Fiber Lok
  • Easy to apply
  • Can be used on old and new rugs
  • Highly effective
  • Fits all sizes of rugs
Cons of Fiber Lok
  • Expensive, depending on how much you need
  • Rugs treated with Fiber Lok can't be dry cleaned

3. Acrylic Latex Caulk

Caulk is traditionally used to fill gaps in areas like window frames, door frames, and sinks. It is usually used to seal joints. It is weather-resistant and durable, which makes it a great material for backing a handmade rug.

While it isn't advertised as a rug backing, a little DIY spirit reveals that caulk is a great material for backing.

How to Apply

Caulk comes in a tube. To apply it to your rug, simply squeeze the caulk out of the bottle using a caulking gun. You should apply a thick line of caulk about every six inches.

There's no specific pattern or design that you need to adhere to. Just make sure you use enough caulk to get your rug to stick to your floor!

Orange caulk gun with white tube of caulk on a green background

As with all of these methods, you should make sure to apply your backing in a room with good ventilation. Better yet, do it on a covered porch or outdoors. This will provide good airflow that will allow backing to dry faster, and it will air out any fumes.

That being said, you should also make sure that your rug is protected from pets, young children, and other disturbances before you leave it to dry. The last thing you want is a ruined rug and a dog or a toddler covered in caulk!

Pros of Caulk
  • Cheap and readily available
  • Easy to apply
  • Fits all sizes of rugs
Cons of Caulk
  • Does not look as "clean" as more specialized finishes
  • Requires special equipment (caulk gun) to apply
  • Better for cheaper or smaller rugs

4. Non-Slip Rug Pad

Non-slip rug pads are one of the most popular and mainstream ways to secure a rug. They come in a variety of sizes and can be bought or cut to fit a large area rug, a welcome mat, and everything in between. Walk into your nearest home goods store and you'll find a wide variety of pads waiting for you!

Before you buy a rug pad, do a little research. Not all brands are created equal, and buying a cheap pad might leave you unsatisfied.

anti-slip rug pad
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Pads come in a variety of materials. These include rubber, latex, foam, and jute, which is an all-natural material made of plant fiber. Some pads are solid while others have a waffle pattern to them.

Rug pads can be somewhat expensive depending on their material, but many people view them as a worthwhile investment that extends the life of a rug. Since you are looking to back a rug that you made yourself, you'll want something that can adequately protect your beautiful work of art!

How to Apply

Rug pads are extremely easy to use: just put them on the floor and place your rug over them! If the size of the pad is too big, you might need to trim it to fit your rug. When cutting a pad, trim it down to about two inches smaller than your rug on every side.

Before you put your pad down, make sure that your floor is clean. If there is dust, pet hair, or other debris on your floor, the mat won't stick. It needs a squeaky-clean surface to adhere to.

Pros of Rug Pads
  • Popular and readily available
  • Extremely easy to use
  • Minimal work on your end
  • Nonpermanent; easy to remove
  • Can be reused with different rugs
  • Can be cut to fit any rug shape or size
  • Adds a comfortable layer of cushioning to your rug
Cons of Rug Pads
  • Expensive
  • The pad could be visible if your rug is loosely knit or lacey
  • Varying degrees of effectiveness depending on brand and material

5. Puffy Paint

Puffy paint is a quick-drying option that easily adheres to fibers. You might have used it to decorate t-shirts in your childhood. Now you have a new way to incorporate it into your art!

Tubes of Puffy Paint and a hand painting a curly design with a teal puffy paint.
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Although puffy paint was designed for decorative purposes, it can easily be repurposed into a backing material. In a pinch, this will work just fine as a solution for a slippery rug.

How to Apply

To use puffy paint as rug backing, squeeze paint out of the tube and onto the back of your rug. Applying this paint is similar to applying caulk, although most bottles of caulk come with a wider nozzle. Because puffy paint tends to be packaged in small bottles, it might take a while to apply.

Try applying strips of paint to your rug. If it is heavy or extra-large, this might not be enough to keep your rug in place. In this case, you can squeeze the paint out into large, thick circles to create areas of the rug that will adhere to the floor.

Pros of Puffy Paint
  • Easy to apply
  • Easy to obtain
  • Adheres strongly to fiber
Cons of Puffy Paint
  • Comes in small tubes
  • Not meant to be used as backing
  • Comes out in small, thin lines
  • Time-intensive to apply
  • Could stain the back of your rug, depending on the color

6. Rug Tape

Rug tape is a kind of heavy-duty double-sided tape that is specifically designed to hold rugs in place. It is durable and extra-adhesive, which means it can secure your rug for years with no problems. If you're worried about skid, rug tape is a good solution that takes just seconds to apply and won't break the bank.

Rug tape is often used as a less expensive alternative to a rug pad. If you're not ready to invest in a rug pad right now, try out rug tape first. It will allow you to place your rug in your home and take it for a "test run."

Hand cutting yellow rug tape on the backside of a rug.
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If you decide you like the rug where it is, you can upgrade to a rug pad. Or stick with the rug tape, if it's to your liking!

How to Apply

Make sure that your floor is clean before using rug tape. Apply one side of the tape to the corners of your carpet, cutting squares of tape for each corner. Once these are affixed, remove the backing from the other side of the tape and affix your rug to the floor.

When it's time to move your rug or switch to a different kind of backing, removing rug tape is just easy as applying it. Just pull it off with your hands and throw it away!

Pros of Rug Tape
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Nonpermanent
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
  • High-quality tapes leave no sticky residue
Cons of Rug Tape
  • Might come undone if the rug is heavily used
  • Not as durable as other backing options

Add Rug Backing With Confidence

With the many available types of backing for handmade rugs, there's an option for everyone. No matter the size of your rug or the material you used to make it, you can find a way to display it in your home without worrying about accidents and slip-related injuries.

Whether you opt for a specialized solution like rug tape or a DIY fix like puff paint, your rug will be ready to hit the floor in no time. For more interior design tips, check out our blog. We write about painting, furniture arrangement, appliance installation, and more.



  • Thank you for this article. Best one out there, IMO.

  • Thank you for taking the time to create this content. It is very much appreciated.

    Sandip Sengupta

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