Patchwork Cowhide Rug: Backing 101

Patchwork Cowhide Rug Backing - all you need to know by Shine Rugs

Patchwork Cowhide Rug: Backing 101

Sometimes I get asked about the backing on our patchwork cowhide rugs. It’s the simplest of things, but such a big deal!

A rug will always fall better with little to no backing. And that’s what we aim for: thin, slim, almost invisible backings!

We work with 2 kinds of backing: the natural suede proper of each hide and a custom cotton backing.

Backside of a Laberinto Patch Leather Area Rug
Backside of a Laberinto Patch Leather Area Rug

Natural Suede

Cowhide has its natural hair on one side, and the back has a natural, anti-slip suede that adheres perfectly to any kind of floors.

When the pattern allows it, we keep the bare natural suede on the back and just assemble the patches with a fine ribbon that helps to keep everything in place.

This suede is super resistant and needs practically no maintenance.

It helps to keep the rug as thin as possible, so you won’t be tripping over it, or kicking it and creating bumps.

Backing of a Light Beige and Cream Diamond Patchwork Cowhide Rug
Backing of a Light Beige and Cream Diamond Patchwork Cowhide Rug

Cotton Cloth

We have developed a special cotton cloth with a special glue that helps keep each patch in place before stitching everything together.

This type of backing is only used when a rug has a very small patches to get a more secure grip of every piece, and achieve a perfect and super straight design.

Full cotton backing on a custom white patchwork cowhide rug in Stripes
Full cotton backing on a custom white patchwork cowhide rug in Stripes

We Have Done Our Homework

“Can you add a felt backing?”

“Do you have a thick backing that will make my rug fluffy?”

I don’t like this word, but the answer to these kinds of questions is always no.

You name it, we’ve tried it. Different felt and cloth backings, plastic, rubber, stitched, glued, heated… We’ve been there.

This is the best way to get a perfect patchwork cowhide rug: little to no backing.

Less is more

Chocolate Brown Stripes of genuine cowhide, with full backing
Chocolate Brown Stripes of genuine cowhide, with full backing

But Why?

Because we own and control the tannery, so we know our cowhides are perfectly tanned and we have nothing to hide.

Most times I’ve seen a felt backing it was mainly because:

a) the manufacturer used low quality hides and was trying to conceal a foul smell

b) the manufacturer used paper tape to bind the patches and wants to cover it up with a piece of cloth

c) the patches are sewn together “clumsily” and they are trying to hide that!

d) the cowhides are soft but not sturdy enough as to be used as a rug

I’m not saying these are the only causes, sometimes a manufacturer will choose to add a thick backing to please a customer, even if that means sacrificing style.

Full cotton backing on a custom white patchwork cowhide rug in Stripes
Full cotton backing on a custom white patchwork cowhide rug in Stripes

But I Want It!

You can always add an anti slip pad to your rug, even though we don’t recommend doing it!

Both the natural suede and the cotton backing have fantastic grip to any kind of flooring, so there’s never a need to use an under pad.

Still, sometimes clients are super used to under pads, and can’t live without one.

In this case, we recommend to try your new leather area rug without an under pad for a few days, o a few weeks and then decide if you really need one or still want one.

View of the backing on this round gradient patchwork leather area rug
View of the backing on this round gradient patchwork leather area rug
Custom caramel and white patchwork cowhide rug and its backing in cotton ribbon
Detail of the delicate cotton ribbon handmade backing on a custom caramel and white patch rug in squares

Let us know if you have any questions, we love sharing our experience! 🙂

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