Rugged Raph’s Custom-Made Rugs in Buena Park

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Madrid started making rugs in March 2021. His creations have featured everything from plants and dog portraits to a Trader Joe’s logo on a monstera leaf. Customers can create a rug for themselves or purchase a custom-made one for a Mother’s Day gift by direct messaging Madrid on his Instagram. Keep an eye out for upcoming pop-ups in O.C. on his page as well.

How did you start making rugs?
I found (some rug creators) on social media during the pandemic and was really inspired. I just ran with it and am self-taught. The first one I made was really bad; there’s definitely a learning curve. It was a monstera leaf that I made for my girlfriend. It was a birthday present, a really bad birthday present since I had literally just started learning how to do it and it was not the prettiest. I’ve gotten tons better from that first one, but she still says it’s special. I chose the “Rugrats” logo because I was trying to do a play on words with my name and the pronunciation of it.

What goes into making a rug?
The process is sort of simple but takes a lot of time since everything is made by hand. I use a projector to project an image onto the fabric I’m tufting into, which is made of polyester and cotton, and then I use a Sharpie to trace everything down. I use a tufting gun, which is a gun that shoots yarn into a fabric; it’s like a sewing machine but handheld. I usually make the rugs around 2 feet or bigger. From drawing everything out to putting the yarn through the fabric, shaving off certain areas, carving out defined lines, gluing, making sure it’s level and that the yarn distribution is even—on average, it takes me about five to seven hours, but it could definitely take 12 to 14.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

What have been some of your favorites?
I really enjoy making dog rugs. I take the dog’s photos, and I create a simple sketch that I know will transfer well. I enjoy making those even though they are a lot more time consuming. I want to get it as perfect as possible because its more meaningful and sentimental. I love seeing photos of the dog next to the rug.

What are some of the reasons people order rugs?
These rugs aren’t necessarily bound to any kind of rules. It’s what you want to do with it. I’ve had friends who have put it on a wall and made it an art piece. I had a client whose friend’s dog passed away, so she ordered a rug of their dog to commemorate him. My cousin recently got married and they had a logo, and I made it into a rug. It was really rewarding seeing their faces light up when I showed what I made them.

Follow Madrid @rugged.raph on Instagram!

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