Mug Rug for Teachers
Back to School,  Embroidery,  Hand Embroidery,  Quilting,  Tutorials

Teacher Mug Rug for Back to School

Teacher Mug Rug

teacher mug rug

Designed by Melanie Call, of A Bit of Scrap Stuff

A teacher mug rug makes a great back-to-school gift. This design featured piecing, quilting and a bit of hand embroidery. Change up the words to suit the teacher(s) in your life, or personalize the teacher mug rug with a name or phrase, such as “welcome back,” “teachers rule” or something clever like “2+2=4” for a math teacher, for example.


  • Finished size: 5 1/4” x 7”
  • Please read all instructions prior to beginning. Seam allowances are ¼”.
  • WOF = Width of Fabric
  • RST= Right Sides Together



  • Star Background: (8) 2 1/4” x 2 1/4” squares. Label A
  • Star Points: (8) 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” squares. Label B
  • Star Center: (1) 2 1/4” x 2 1/4” square. Label C
  • Background for hand embroidery: (1) 8” x 8” * larger size to allow for placing in hoop for hand embroidery plus optional plain white fabric (1) 8” x 8” if you like to hand embroider with 2 layers of fabric
  • Teacher Mug Rug Backing: 5 3/4” x 7 1/2” rectangle

*Fabric shown is Prairie and Denim Pin Dot designed by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs

Sulky Thread


Preferred transfer tool for Hand embroidering (choose one of the following)



  1. Instal a size 80/12 Top Stitch Needle. Thread the machine with Sulky 50 wt. Cotton in the needle and bobbin.
  2. Draw diagonal line on wrong side of each B 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” square. Place (1) B 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” square along bottom left corner of (1) A 2 1/4” x 2 1/4” square. Stitch along diagonal drawn line from corner to corner. Trim ¼” away from sewn line. Fold over and press. Block should measure 2 1/4”x 2 1/4”. Repeat to make 4 blocks.

teacher mug rug block creation marking

  1. Place (1) B 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” square along bottom right corner of (1) A 2 1/4” x 2 1/4” square. Stitch along diagonal drawn line from corner to corner. Trim ¼” away from sewn line. Fold over and press. Block should measure 2 1/4”x 2 1/4”. Repeat to make 4 blocks. Label A/B.


  1. Sew together (1) A 2 1/4” x 2 1/4” square to each side of A/B block. Press toward the A square. Make 2 rows. Label Row 1.

mug rug row 1

  1. Sew together (1) A/B block to each side of (1) C 2 1/4” x 2 1/4” square. Press toward the C square. Make 1 row. Label Row 2.

next row of mug rug

  1. Sew (1) Row 1 above and below Row 2 to form the Star Block. Press towards Row 2. The unfinished Star Block measures 5 3/4” x 5 3/4”.

star block complete for mug rug

Hand Embroidery

  1. Transfer “ inspire . teach . learn “ provided pattern with preferred embroidery transfer method. Or choose your own phrase or pattern to embroider. Pattern/words should be smaller than 1 1/4” x 5”. To use Stick ‘n Stitch, print the desired motif/words onto a sheet of the stabilizer with the fabric-like side facing up and on the draft or lowest ink setting. Cut out each part of the design (if there are multiple words/motifs), and then remove the paper backing. Stick the stabilizer on the fabric right side, and then stitch through it to form each embroidery.

Chosen words: inspire . teach . learn

Chosen Font: Savoye LET         Size: 60

Note: Two fabric pieces were used for the embroidered fabric area to provide extra stability and prevent thread from shadowing on the front if traveling with the thread. Two strands of Sulky 12 wt. Cotton Petites Thread was used for the lettering.

  1. When the embroidery is complete, remove the transfer method, if applicable. To remove Stick ‘n Stitch, run the fabric under running water until it dissolves completely. Then, air dry flat on a towel. Sulky Iron-on Transfer Pens are permanant, so no removing is needed. Frixion pens are removed with heat from an iron.
  2. Trim the embroidery piece to 2 1/4” x 5 3/4”. Make sure your embroidery is not within 1/4” of fabric edges or it will disappear into the seam.
  3. Stitch the embroidery piece to the right side of the Star Block. (The unfinished Teacher Mug Rug measures 5 3/4” x 7 1/2”.)


Final Assembly

  1. Place the Teacher Mug Rug on top of a 6 1/2” x 8” rectangle of scrap batting. Use Sulky KK2000 to adhere.
  2. Quilt the Teacher Mug Rug together with diagonal lines, as shown, or however desired.
  3. Trim the quilted Mug Rug to 5.75” x 7.5”
  4. Place Mug Rug Front right side up on a flat work surface. Layer the Mug Rug Backing right side down (right sides together).
  5. Stitch the perimeter using a ¼” seam; leave a 2 1/2” opening for turning.
  6. Turn the project right side out. Use That Purple Thang Tool (or preferred turning tool) to poke out the corners of the Teacher Mug Rug. Press the project.
  7. Topstitch the perimeter to close the opening.

Teacher Mug Rug with mug

Gif the finished teacher mug rug to an educator of your choice! Or gift it to a college student along wit a fun mug and sleeve of cookies.


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I am the Director of Content for Sulky of America. The former Editor in Chief of Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery magazines, I hosted Sew it All TV on PBS for nine seasons. I've appeared on It's Sew Easy on PBS, DIY Network's Uncommon Threads, Hallmark's Marie Osmond Show, MacPhee Workshop and more! Come sew with me!

One Comment

  • Sharon Galen

    Thank you for providing this Sew What blog along with your past Sew What programs. Can’t wait to make severe of this mug rug for my granddaughters teachers.