Hand-tufted rugs look and feel very similar to their hand-knotted counterparts, though they are generally less expensive and easier to make. The finished product is comparable to hand knotted rugs; however, hand-tufted area rugs take a fraction of the time to produce. This allows them to be sold for less money, giving consumers an affordable piece with handmade qualities.
They are made using a hand-operated tool that punches strands of fiber through a canvas stretched onto a frame. The craftsman follow a design and add colors according to a design. The wool is looped through the canvas backing, which has been imprinted with the overall design. Next, the rug weaver adds the first foundation, called a scrim, which is a piece of upholstery fabric that holds the fibers in place. Then, the final protective cloth backing is affixed to the rug. The final step is to sheer off the top of the loops on the rug. This creates the pile, which is the height and thickness of a rug. Sometimes the pile is carved to add a textural effect.
The craftsmen who create these area rugs have acquired skills and a high level of expertise. Hand tufting requires hard work and accuracy in order to create an intricate, durable, and beautifully designed work of art. Along with their beauty, these rugs can withstand high traffic areas if they are made with durable materials such as wool.