Crafting with Burlap

Cheerful sunflower painted on burlap.

Burlap is an environmentally-friendly, natural jute fabric. While traditionally, this sturdy fabric was used mainly on the farm or in the factory, today’s crafters have discovered many clever uses for burlap.

The use of burlap for crafting has prompted manufacturers to offer more varieties.  Burlap is naturally tan or brownish, but it now comes in vibrant colors.  It is even available in a fine textured variety known as linen burlap. Both natural burlap and colored burlap can be used for totes and banners and many other items.

Re-useable grocery bags can quickly be made with burlap and need no lining.  For a more polished or fashionable look, a burlap tote bag can also be lined with a cotton print and solid fabric. Linen burlap is great for sporty totes and purses.

Colored burlap and burlap bags.

Cotton prints and solids can also be mixed with burlap for items like banners.  For  a special banner, make appliqués and letters out of cotton fabrics and attach them to a burlap triangles by zig-zag stitching around the edges.  For a quick banner with little or no sewing, make letters and appliqués out of felt and glue them to the burlap background.  Burlap can also be decorated easily with any fabric paint.

If you want a sturdy, cloth tablecloth for outdoor or indoor use consider linen burlap. It’s not water or stain resistant like an oilcloth or another vinyl, but burlap is also popular as a table runner or placemats, especially at barn and country weddings!


Linen Burlap

Burlap is relatively easy to sew, but it does ravel easily.  Use a size 16 sewing machine needle and finish the edges with a zig-zag stitch.  The edges of a burlap banner can be hemmed or finished with seam binding.