Not so tuft! I made my own fuzzy rug at this rug tufting studio in Marikina City

Steph Arnaldo

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Not so tuft! I made my own fuzzy rug at this rug tufting studio in Marikina City
DIY, yarn? Here's what it's like to make your own cute and custom rugs at Oh Craft! Workshop – and it's sew much fun!

MANILA, Philippines – I didn’t know what “rug tufting” was until I started seeing photos of couples and barkadas proudly holding up fuzzy rugs in the cutest designs. How did they make that? I wanted one, too!

As a frustrated crafty girl who’s dabbled in cross-stitching and tried clay pottery once, curiosity led me to me inquire what rug tufting was all about. Thankfully, Oh Craft! Workshop – a local rug tufting studio in Marikina City – hosted my friend and I for our first rug tufting experience on a slow Saturday afternoon. Excited yarn?

Weaving his story

Rug tufting is the process of making a customized, fuzzy rug from scratch, using a tufting gun, colorful yarn, cloth, and your desired design and shape.

OH! CRAFT. The rug tufting studio workshop in Marikina City is spacious and conducive to a day of crafts. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Similar to how I first stumbled upon rug tufting, Oh Craft! owner and Computer Engineering graduate Tee Jay Jamlang got the idea for his own tufting workshop at the start of the pandemic, after binge-watching rug tufting videos online.

“Despite my tech background, I’ve always had a passion for arts and crafts. I immediately fell in love with the art, that I just bought materials for it and started tufting my very first rug. Thats’s what inspired me to open the workshop,” Tee Jay told Rappler.

In a bid to spread his love for the craft, Tee Jay also saw a business opportunity since “no one was doing a similar workshop in the Philippines [at the time],” he said. Three years later, in July, Oh Craft! finally opened along JP Rizal Street, a few streets away from Tee Jay’s childhood home.

STUDIO. The workshop has craft tables, working stations, tufting guns, yarns, and other materials at customers’ disposal. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The interactive DIY studio is a spacious, air-conditioned area on the second floor of a private building, where newbies, hobbyists, friends, and loved ones can enjoy a novel idea of a fun time.

“I believed it was the perfect time to introduce rug tufting to the market because of years stuck in lockdown. I wanted to offer something new, fun, and creative for people to try, and a rug tufting studio fit perfectly,” Tee Jay said.

DIY EXPERIENCE. Oh! Craft sets up each guest’s working stations before the session, including an already illustrated canvas. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

“I’d love for Filipinos to learn that tufting is not just a craft, but an art form that can be both therapeutic and rewarding. It’s a wonderful way to express oneself and create something truly unique, beautiful, and functional from scratch, giving a sense of accomplishment and joy.”

Sew much fun! A first-timer’s experience

With no prior knowledge on rug tufting, I approached the experience with an open mind and an eagerness to learn. Before our scheduled session, we were instructed to send our design pegs to Oh Craft! via email. My friend sent in a butterfly, while I sent in a smiling salmon nigiri sushi.

CUSTOM. Any kind of design imaginable can be turned into a fuzzy, tufted rug. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It’s rugs on rugs on rugs when you enter the Oh Craft! studio – we spotted an adorable keropi, a hot pink Barbie logo, fuzzy mirrors, the latest Jordans, a cheeseburger, Spongebob, Patrick, Stitch, Harry Potter, a corgi, Siamese cat, and many more adorable characters. Here, almost anything is possible to rug-ify!

VARIETY. You can even make tufted mirrors and rugs in all shapes and sizes. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

We put on our aprons and approached our work stations, with our tools, stools, and cloth canvas all ready for tufting. Our designs were already drawn onto the cloth by the Oh Craft! team.

ILLUSTRATION. Your desired design peg is already drawn onto the cloth prior to your session. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The session first starts with the theoretical part of rug tufting – an introduction to the tools and materials needed, such as the tufting gun, primary tufting cloth, tufting frame, yarns, and more.

TUFTING WALL. Oh! Craft’s team gives the tufting demonstrations first on the large tufting wall. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Tee Jay and his assistant used a large tufting wall to demonstrate how to hold the gun, how it works, and how to use it, while also offering tips, tricks, do’s, and don’t’s. Shortly after, we were allowed to practice tufting on the wall – how to do straight lines, curves, circles, boxes, and s-shapes, to better prepare ourselves before tufting our actual design.

TRIAL. Before working on my rug, I got to practice tufting using the tufting gun. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

During the tutorial session, we were taught to always keep the gun at a 45-degree angle for cleaner lines, to push down harder while tufting so the threads don’t stray, and how to thread our yarns and keep them organized while tufting, among other easy-to-remember tips.

CHOICES. You can choose from a wide variety of yarn colors for your rug. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Once confident enough, we proceeded to tuft our own rugs! We made our way to the wall of yarns, which instantly got the creative juices flowing – almost every hue imaginable was available for our picking. Oh Craft!’s team can suggest the best colors for your design to come to life, but we were also free to decide which shades to go for.

READY. Get everything set up before you begin your rug tufting. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Let the tufting begin! We were instructed to start with the outline of the illustration, and work our way in using straight lines or curves. It was quite difficult to grip the gun at first, keep the yarns threaded, and know how much pressure was needed to get a clean tufted line. However, the tufting quickly became addictive and therapeutic, once we got the hang of it – it helped that we had first-hand assistance anytime we had questions or needed some help.

FIRST-TIMER. Learning how to operate and maneuver the tufting gun didn’t take that long. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Finally, we were done and happy with our final product! The Oh Craft! team then began the “gluing and backing process” for us, and we followed suit.

LAST STEPS. Once the rug is completely tufted, the last stages include gluing your design onto the cloth. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Once the rugs were dried, we were taught how to trim it using electric carving scissors and shave the excess threads off using a shaver to make the design more defined and clean. The last few stages were also therapeutic to do; I was glad we were part of majority of the process.

TRIMMING. You’ll need to trim the cloth until the edges of your design for a clean finish. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The best part about it? Seeing your finished work and showing it off! Truly a labor of love, time, and handiwork, it was very fulfilling to bring home an adorable and concrete piece of our day’s hard work – a prized possession that represented our interests, can be kept forever, be put on display at home, or even be given as a present.

FINISHED PRODUCTS. We were very happy with how our first tufted rugs turned out. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
Thread-y to tuft? Things to remember

Oh Craft! recommends guests to come in before or by lunch time, as the whole process takes 4-6 hours on average, which is quite a long time to be standing and sitting. We started at 2 pm and ended almost close to 8 pm, with only a water and candy break in between. However, we were so immersed in what we were doing that we didn’t notice the time (just our aching back, hands, and feet afterwards).

SUCCESS! I got to take home my custom salmon nigiri sushi. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

If you get too tired, Tee Jay said you can finish the tufting process and let their staff help in finishing it.

“We can have it delivered on your doorstep for an additional cost,” he said.

The activity will take up most of your day, so come prepared with your own snacks, water bottle, and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and clothes. It’s mostly a solo activity (the sound of the gun is too loud to talk over), but it’s also fun to take chika breaks in between tufting.

Overall, it’s a fun, hands-on, authentic DIY experience that is unlike anything I’ve tried before, and one that I think everyone should try at least once! It’s a fun date idea, a great barkada bonding opportunity, and a family-friendly activity that’s perfect for young children as well. It’s a nice balance of assisted learning with the freedom to make something that is completely yours.

Because I gave it my all, I didn’t realize how tired I was after, aching arms included. Perhaps I owe it to aging; it was an experience I was happy to try at least once, but it may be a long while until I decide to try my hand at tufting again.

Oh Craft!’s tufting sessions are offered at a starting price of P2,999 per person for the smallest 45×45 cm rug, inclusive of all materials and assistance. The 60×60 cm rug goes for P3,999 per person, and the largest 90×90 cm rug is at P5,499 per person.

“The future of Oh Craft! is colorful and full of possibilities. We are planning to expand our workshop offerings to include a variety of arts and crafts, not just tufting. We also envision partnering with other businesses to conduct pop-up workshops in different locations,” Tee Jay said about Oh! Craft’s future plans.

“Eventually, I see shoes and even clothes, and Oh Craft evolving into a full-fledged art studio, offering a range of hand-crafted products for sale, all made with love and craftsmanship.”

Sew, next time you’re yarn-ing for a novel experience, book a day at Oh Craft! and try out tufting yourself. Don’t worry, it’s not that tuft! – Rappler.com

Oh Craft! Workshop is located at 486 J. P. Rizal St, Lamuan, Marikina City. Sessions start at 10 am daily, with the latest being at 2 pm. To learn more and book a session, you can check out their website or Instagram.

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.