Rugged, chic, and versatile, nubby burlap fabric has earned a well-deserved place in home design. Utilitarian and economical, burlap comes in many weaves and colors. Use looser weaves for curtains to impart privacy while allowing light to penetrate. Finer weaves with a linen-like finish are excellent for pillows and upholstery.


 yellow burlap flowers among real pink flowers in vase

Make big, bold blossoms from colored burlap. We used the same colors for both petals and center but you could opt for a darker brown for the “seed” in the middle.

Gather Your Materials

  • Green felt
  • Burlap
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Floral stems
  • Floral tape

To form the flower center, cut a strip 24 x 1 inches long and fold in half the long way. Snip a ¼-inch cut every 1/8-inch along the folded edge. Roll into a tight spiral, gluing in place as you go.

Cut a circle of felt about 3 inches in diameter. Cut 24 diamond- or lozenge-shape petal pieces from burlap about 2 1/2-inches long. Fold the bottom of a burlap piece inward and hot glue the folded end an inch from the center of the felt piece. Continue with 11 more pieces placed evenly around the felt. When dry, add a second row atop and between the petals of the first row.

Wrap a wire stem in floral tape. Glue the fringed center to the middle of the felt piece. When dry, cut a slit in the back center of the felt and insert wrapped floral wire. Glue in place.


Burlap wrapped jar with key accent and yellow and pink flowers

Give a plain old mason jar a personality upgrade with a wrapping of burlap secured with twine and a vintage skeleton key.

Gather Your Materials

  • Burlap
  • Mason jar
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Vintage key
  • Hot glue, glue sticks

Measure the circumference of the jar and add an inch. Measure the height of the straight side and double. Cut a piece of burlap to the measurements and fold in half. Wrap around the jar, fold the end, and glue in place. Starting at that fold, wrap twine around the burlap, starting an inch down from the top fold.

Wrap 3 times, place the key in front and twist twine once around the key. Continue wrapping around jar and key 4-5 times, then twist around the key again.

Continue wrapping 5-6 more times. Hot glue the end of the twine at the back fold.


pink and white Burlap runner under blue books and two world globes

Burlap is woven from jute and was traditionally used in sacking goods or as an upholstery layer. Known for being durable, inexpensive, and natural, burlap adds texture and interest to home furnishings.

The fabric comes in a variety of weaves and blends, some made from jute alone, other types are blended with cotton, hemp, or flax, creating different finishes.

For a stenciling project like this, a tighter weave is best to provide a good surface for the design.

Gather Your Materials

  • Burlap
  • Stencil
  • Measuring tape, scissors
  • Paint
  • Painter’s tape
  • Roller, tray or paper plate


Stenciled pink burlap runner with white flower motif underneath a vase full of pink and yellow flowers

Decide whether you want a runner that lays flat or hangs over the edges of the table. Measure and cut a piece of burlap that will fit that style and your table. Using painter’s tape, mask of the area on the burlap that you want to stencil.

Beginning in the center (for an overall design as seen here), spray stencil back with adhesive and apply to burlap. Dip a small amount of paint in a tray or on a paper plate. Lightly roll the stencil overall. Roll over again until you have full coverage.

Carefully lift stencil and let the impression dry to touch to avoid a smear. Move stencil to next section and repeat the painting process.

Alternate painting from one end of the design to the other to give the previously painted area time to dry. When complete, remove the painter’s tape.


Wall art grouping made of wooden frames, paper and burlap

Burlap backing and burlap-covered mattes add rustic texture to distressed vintage frames. Mismatched shapes and styles are tied together with a pastel palette.

Gather Your Materials

  • Burlap
  • Frames, matte, canvas stretchers
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Stamps, ink
  • Acrylic paint, artist’s brush
  • Mod Podge
  • Spray adhesive
  • Iron-on transfer paper, artwork

To apply burlap backing to frames or mattes, remove frame backing/matte and measure. Cut burlap to size plus two inches all around. Spray backing/matte with adhesive, lay burlap on top and smooth around to the back. For matte, cut an X-shape inside matte and fold the pieces to the reverse.

To decoupage artwork, brush Mod Podge onto the back of artwork and arrange on backing. Brush Mod Podge over artwork and backing and let dry before placing in frame.


Burlap matte for background in frames

For transfer artwork, print a clipart design onto transfer paper. Cut burlap one inch larger than artwork all around. Follow manufacturer’s directions to apply transfer to burlap. Fringe edges and frame.


Burlap artwork in frames

For stamped artwork, assemble canvas stretchers and spray with adhesive. Cut burlap to size plus two inches all around. Ink stamps and press to canvas randomly or in your own design. Add highlights with acrylic paints, if desired.


Burlap curtain with aqua pom-poms on the edge

Coarse burlap curtain panels allow the passage of light while preserving a modicum of privacy. Flirty edging gives the utilitarian fabric a touch of feminine flair.

Gather Your Materials

  • Burlap
  • Matching thread
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Trim

Measure your window for width. For a full single panel, double the measurement to get the width of the burlap you will need. For two panels, each finished panel should equal the width of the window. This will provide a full look when the panel or panels are hung.

Measure the point from your drapery rod above the window to the floor and add at least two inches for a hem and at least 4 inches for the rod (if you are using an unusually large rod, you will need to increase the allowance).

Cut the burlap according to your measurements. Turn under each side of the panel ½ inch. Press and turn again 1 inch. Press and sew with a whipstitch by hand or a running stitch on a sewing machine.

Turn the hem under 1 inch, press and turn again 3 inches. Press and sew. At the top edge, measure down the thickness of the rod plus 3/8 inch and stitch the full width of the panel to create a rod pocket.

Pin trim down the inside long edge of the panel and stitch in place. Slide panel onto rod and hang.


green leaves embroidered on aqua burlap pillow

Perk up a plain burlap pillow cover with a meandering leaf design in contrasting yarn. This example is constructed with right sides sewn together for a fringed edge.

Gather Your Materials

  • Burlap
  • Yarn in contrasting color
  • Large-eye embroidery needle
  • Measuring tape, marking pencil
  • Scissors
  • Pillow form

Cut two pieces of burlap that are equal to your pillow form measurements plus two inches in each direction (or longer if you want a more luxurious fringe).

Mark your design on the front of one piece and embroider the design with a backstitch using a large-eye needle and yarn.

When finished, place pillow form between the pieces of burlap and pin in place. With the yarn and needle, sew a running stitch around the form. Fray the edges to create fringe.

Printed burlap pillow with Jamaican coffee stamp

Make the most of attractive packing graphics by using the design as the center of a handmade burlap pillow cover.

Gather Your Materials

  • Coffee bean or grain sack
  • Measuring tape, marking pencil
  • Scissors
  • Pillow form

Lay the sack over the pillow form to determine placement of type/image, measure one extra inch all around the pillow form and mark with the pencil.

Cut out the shape and a second piece of the same size for the backing. With right sides together, stitch all around the fabric one inch in from the edge, leaving a 6-inch opening. Turn inside out, insert the pillow form, turn the open edges under and close with a slipstitch.

Burlap ottoman with a union jack on top

A sturdy ottoman does triple duty in any room as a footrest, side table, and extra seating when needed. Plus, with this project you get to recycle burlap bags.

Gather Your Materials

  • Burlap
  • Contrasting top fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Cotton batting
  • Upholstery thread, needle
  • T-pins
  • Material for stuffing, such as clean old clothing or towels

Measure and cut all six equal squares of each piece of fabric (the contrasting top fabric, as well as four burlap sides and one burlap bottom) to make a cube ottoman. Cut six pieces of the cotton batting to the exact measurement of the fabric pieces. We made an 18-inch cube so our pieces were 20 inches square each.

Lay fabric over the batting, fold the fabric edges under as taut as you can, and baste to hold the layers together. With back sides together and about an inch in from the fold edges, sew the pieces in a cube shape with heavy upholstery thread. Leave one side open.

Stuff to maximum fill capacity. Pin remaining open side together with T-pins. Sew the final seam together to match other seams.


Snipping the aqua burlap

Cutting a straight line on burlap can be a challenge but there’s a simple method to get it right every time. Here’s how: Mark the measurement for the length of the piece you need on the edge of the fabric. Snip the edge at the mark.


Pulling a thread of aqua burlap

From the cut, measure and make another mark for the width. Tease out a thread at the cut and pull slowly. Pull until the fabric at your width mark puckers a bit.


Orange sissors cutting bright aqua burlap fabric

Snip the thread at the width mark and draw the pulled thread out of the fabric. Cut along the path of the pulled thread. Repeat the technique to cut the other edge.


Living room filled with Burlap projects

Although often associated with rustic decor, burlap is at home with many decorating styles. The neutral color of natural burlap, the nubby texture, and the light filtering quality of the open weave adapts to any interior.

For a quick update or color injection, edge a burlap lampshade in contrasting ribbon on top and bottom. Secure with double-sided fabric tape as you go around the shade.


Photography by Chris Hennessey


© Caruth Studio

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