Machine Made vs. Hand Made

While modern technology enables us to mass produce area rugs in a wide spectrum of design, color and sizes, there are differences between machine made and handmade rugs.

Machine made rugs are less expensive and are not considered a long term investment.

With factory made rugs you’ll have flexibility and a variety; you can find the same design, or one close to it in different sizes and different colors from different manufacturers.

Woven rugs are created on automate weaving looms in which multiple colors of yarn are sewn into a backing material. The rugs’ elaborate designs are created by the placement of the different colors.

Handmade or hand knotted rugs are custom made, one-of-a kind designs that incorporate creative uses of color.

With handmade rugs, there will be unique details and intricacies due to the village, city, county or creator.

Handmade rugs are often created with natural dyes that provide longevity to the colors. These rugs offer built-in lasting power.

The Bottom Line

  • Handmade rugs are an investments that last a lifetime
  • Many become precious heirlooms passed down with pride and honor from the one generation to the next.

Weave, Knot and Dyes

  • Refers to the technique used in making handmade rugs.
  • Three major techniques: pile, flat weave and hand-tufted.
Pile Weave:
  • Pile or knotted weave refers to the method of weaving used in most rugs. In this technique the rug is woven by a creation of knots.
Flat Weave:
  • Flat weave refers to a technique of weaving where no knots are used in the weave.
  • The warp stands are used as the foundation and the weft strands are used as both part of the foundation and in creating the patterns. The weft strands are simply passed or woven through the warp strands.
  • These weavings are called flat weaves since no knots are used in the weaving process and the surface looks flat.

Hand Tufted

A hand-tufted rug is created without tying knots into the foundation but by pushing wool or acrylic through a primary backing creating a “tuft”.


The process of changing the natural color of materials such as wool, silk, and cotton is called dyeing.

There are two types of dyes: natural and synthetic.

Natural Dyes

  • Natural dyes include plant dyes, animal dyes and mineral dyes.
  • Plant dyes come from roots, flowers, leaves, fruit and the bark of plants.
  • Some animal sources of dyes include insects such as Cochineal, found in cacti in Mexico; Lac, a wild version of Cochineal, found in India and Iran; and Kermes, found on Oak trees near the Mediterranean.

Synthetic Dyes

  • The need for easy to use, less expensive dyes with a wider range of colors caused the development of synthetic dyes in Europe and Germany which were soon imported to other Eastern countries.