The Best Alternative to Expensive Rugs: How to Bind a Carpet

A full tutorial and instructions (with pictures) on how to DIY bind a carpet remnant.

In my endless search for reasonably priced floor coverings, I have come to a conclusion: no such thing exists.

But then I walked (somewhat tentatively) into Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. If you haven’t been there, go. It’s somewhat overwhelming and slightly frightening, and there’s no such thing as customer service there. BUT there are really great deals, which makes it all worth it.

And there I found it.


The perfect carpet. $80. The impossible has finally happened, I found a white 12 x 9.5′ rug for an amount that I wouldn’t lose sleep over! The only problem was that it was a carpet remnant, so the edges were unfinished. Determined to make this happen, I put it on hold and began to research.

Turns out that you have two options for an unfinished carpet remnant: you can (A) have it bound at a rug shop or (B) bind it yourself. I chose option B and today I’m going to show you how to bind a carpet remnant!

What You’ll Need

  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Carpet remnant
  • Instabind (Home Depot, online only)

How to Bind Carpet Yourself

You are about to be dazzled. This is the most simple solution for anything—ever! Start by laying your carpet out so that you can get to all the edges. If your edges aren’t straight, flip it over and cut straight lines with a utility knife and box cutter (be sure to protect your floors!)

How to cut carpet

Peel off a section of adhesive and slide under the rug until the binding meets the edge of the rug. Continue all the way around the rug.

How to use Instabind

At each corner cut a line to match the edge of the rug (right to where the fabric changes) and bend around the corner.

How to make a corner on carpet binding


Pull the rug back far enough to turn the corner over and trim the excess adhesive.

Area Rug Binding

Once you reach the end, cut the binding to fit right against your starting point.

Now it’s time for hot glue. Put a small dab on the end and press to the starting point until they dry.

Make your own area rug Binding area rugs

Next, run a small bead along the unfinished edge of the carpet and press firmly to the binding (I did this in small, 6″ sections). Continue this all the way around the carpet.

How to Hot Glue Carpet Binding

If you want a little more squish, grab some Carpet Pad and slide it under, leaving about 2″ to the edge of the rug. You can easily cut the foam to size with scissors.

Area rug padding

That’s it! I promise! It’s the best product and I’m so pleased with my area rug. Rather than spending $500–$1,000 on a rug, I spent a little less than $200 (Carpet—$80, Instabind—$50, Carpet Pad(s)—$60) and made my own area rug! I’d love to see your finished carpets and questions in the comments below!

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A full tutorial and instructions (with pictures) on how to DIY bind a carpet remnant.


  1. This is exactly what I was looking for! We live in Florida, so I don’t think there is a Ollie’s, but I can get remnant carpet from Home Depot or anywhere and do this, right?

    Thank you!

    • Absolutely! Lots of places (home improvement, bargain stores, and carpet installers) will probably have remnants for you to get at a good price. Be sure to show off your finished project on Facebook; I’d love to see how it turns out!

  2. I’m not sure when or why I’m going to need that Instabind product. But the day is sure to come and when it does I’ll thank you all over again. I have tucked that into my box of magic tricks.

  3. Thank you! This sounds perfect
    for renovating my throw rugs!
    The rugs have fringe on both ends,
    and the fringe is integral to the weave,
    so we can’t just trim it off.
    Recently we got a robot vac, and the
    poor little vac gets hung up on the fringe!
    The decision was, get rid of the rugs or the
    vac! This gives us a 3rd option! Thanks!

  4. Thank u for the how-to on making an area rug…the prices are ridiculous…I know I can do this and I’m not artsy-craftsy.

  5. I need to carpet my stairs, need binding on one side only. Need 24 linear feet, 33 in. wide. Shopped at Ollie’s for bound remnants, but could not find the right color. I planned to purchase a 12′ x 6′ (or wider) and cut it. Now my plan is to buy the carpet I like at Lowe’s and try binding it myself! Thanks for the info. I’ll let you know how I make out if and when it gets done.

  6. It sounds excellent but too good to be true. Will the edges of the carpet really not fray even in a busy traffic area Or if the bindings gets wet? Is the material that it’s made out of withstand a beating?
    I want to use this in my car. I have a 1975 MGB convertible that needs new carpet inserts. The original carpet is made to come out in case it rains so it can dry so its bound. I have carpet I want to use, has more character then the black original. Do you think it will hold up?

    • Hi Beth,

      Thanks for your comment! I have only used this in a residential home application. It’s been about 2-3 years since I’ve first used it and no fraying yet! I can’t speak to the car application since it’s used a lot more heavily. If I was trying to use it that way, I’d go through and seal all the edges with hot glue and then add on the binding. That should help with any chances of fraying.

  7. What do you use under the rug so it doesn’t slip? My old rug was bound and had a latex backing. But I can’t afford to do that now that I need a new rug!

  8. My family is building a new home and we carpeted the updtairs. I love the carpet we chose and have a pretty good sized remnant left over. I have been looking for how to make this into an area rug. You may have just solved my problem. Your method seems pretty easy to follow for this not so crafty mom! Thanks!

  9. Does Instabind come in any other colors? and what is the price?

  10. I’m wondering how you would apply the binding to a corner of a carpet if you are just shortening one end of an existing area carpet. In other words, how would you hide the raw edge of the binding at each corner? Would you maybe have to remove a bit of the existing binding next to each corner, or could you just hot glue the end of the tape binding and assume it will blend in.

    • Hi Bonnie,

      Good question! I haven’t used it in this way before, so this is just my best guess. I’d say to remove or go over that existing corner + a few inches to ensure that there isn’t any fraying on the corners.

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