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Friday, 13 November 2020

Christmas Candy Mug Rugs

Christmas gifting is as much about the present-ation as it is the present, and with this quick and easy scrap-busting project, you get both.  Who doesn't need a mug rug, especially when they come as sweetly packaged as these?! You can turn your mug rugs into lollipops...

...or candy treats!
As quilters, we have lots of cotton scrap fabrics lying around, and these only take 4" x WOF each of 3 different colours. Cotton strips are easy to braid, and may be joined by either the machine or by hand.  Naturally, I do mine by machine. 
The instructions below are for one coaster approximately 6-1/2" across. You need:
  • 2 strips each of 3 colours, each 2" x WOF (a total of 6, 2" strips.) A light,  medium, and a dark work well. (If you don't have WOF strips, just seam together enough shorter pieces to measure around 42".  The joins don't show in the finished project.)
  • neutral 50 weight sewing thread (Aurifil of course!) 2600 Dove Grey is perfect.
  • if stitching by machine, a size 16/100 JEANS needle.
  • 1 piece of clear cellophane 16" x 18".
  • 1 large safety pin.
  • 1 small clip (a clothespin works).
  • scrap of fabric for ties (or pretty satin ribbon). 20" per tie is a good length.
If you are making the lollipop version you will also require a straw for the stick.  These came from the $ store.  You could also use a small piece of dowel, approximately 9" long.
I dug into my Island Batik stash and chose bright colours for my candies.  I have 2, 2" strips of yellow, green, and cream.
Using 1 strip of each colour, fold in half lengthwise and layer the fabrics one on top of the other; stitch them together on one short end. (We will add the second strip to the length later.)
To hold the end steady for braiding, put a safety pin through the end and clip it to your great-grandmother's treadle sewing machine. (You can see the braided mat I am still making on the floor.) Firmly braid your strips together.
When you get to the end of  your strips, place your clip or clothespin on the braid to hold it together. Add the second strip in a diagonal seam, as you would for joining binding.  Finger press the seam open. Remove the clip, and continue braiding as before. (The reason you don't join the strips together at the beginning is because it makes it slow and awkward, as the ends get all tangled together as you braid.  Using one strip of each colour at a time and joining as needed is actually quicker in the long run.)  
When all the fabric is braided, simply straight stich across the end. Your braid will measure around 64" long.
Now the fun starts! You want to coil your braids into a circle with the edges butted against each other - not overlapping.  To do this, turn the end of the strip so it forms a "U" and zigzag the edges together.   I set my machine to the widest possible zigzag (5.5 mm), and about 2.5 mm long. Keep turning and stitching your braid into a circle, making sure that the braid is added to the right of the needle.  This way, it grows to the left side leaving you room to stitch.
When you run out of braid, simply tuck the end underneath and stitch off the end, locking your stitches.
It will look like this:
Depending on how tightly you have braided your strips, your mug rug will be around 6-1/2" across.
Place the mug rug in the middle of the cellophane and wrap the 16" sides to the middle, securing with a small piece of tape.  You should have about 6" of cellophane extending past each end.  Gather the ends close to your mug rug and tie with a bow.
Ta Da!
The cellophane is removed before use.
To make the lollipops, secure the straw  to the back with a piece of tape, Wrap in cellophane, and add a bow.
This is cute used instead of a bow to jazz up a parcel or gift bag.
And there you have it - simple as that!
You can keep going with your braiding, making matching trivets, or placemats.  Or even a mat :)
I hope you have enjoyed this, and will share pictures of what you make. 


  1. Oh my these are so cute and I love how you packaged them as lollipops. Reminds me as a young girl how my eldest sister loved really big hard candy lollipips. I definitely need to make one for her, but they just look like fun projects & gifts. Thank you for the great tutorial. I'm looking forward to making some of these adorable Christmas Candy Mug Rugs.

  2. You are tempting me, again! Okay, I'll try to resist until I have a few more projects finished. It looks like fun.