Wednesday, May 15, 2013

10 Great Decorating Ideas Using Burlap (Plus the Best Tip to Cutting Burlap!)

Hello! Hope you are having a good week so far. I just finished up a project using burlap and I liked the look of it so much I thought I'd write about it (you'll see it later in idea #1 below). Burlap has a great texture and organic, natural quality that appeals to me. It's durable and one of the most inexpensive fabrics you can find. Burlap can fit in with a lot of different kinds of home decorating looks including coastal/beachy, rustic, country, vintage, and it can even be chic and modern. I've incorporated burlap into several areas of our home and have figured out some tips along the way on how to work with this material that I thought I'd pass along, plus I'm including 10 great decorating ideas that you can use to bring a little burlap into your own home.

Since burlap is such a fibrous, open-weave fabric, it can be a little tricky to work with, especially when it comes to it fraying and shedding while handling it. I learned a trick years ago from a gal at the cutting counter at Joann Fabrics on how to cut burlap correctly to minimize the fraying and lint. You can go all Edward Scissorhands on that burlap if you want, but you'll have a ton of fraying and tiny threads all over the place. If you use the handy tip below, you'll have a lot less of that and the fraying will be way more manageable. Instead of the million little linty pieces you get when chopping away, you'll only have hundreds with this method. Kidding! Sort of...
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap (Plus the Best Tip to Cutting Burlap!)
You can also use Fray Check on cut edges to minimize further fraying.

Burlap has an odor that can be quite strong. Apparently that's its natural smell, which is kinda like gasoline. I deal with the smell by airing the burlap outside for a couple days and that usually dissipates the smell enough that it's tolerable. Its still kind of smelly for awhile, but it eventually fades to barely noticeable. I've read a lot on the internet of people having both success and failure with washing burlap in the washing machine. Some people say you should wash burlap before they use it; some people say not to. Depending on what you want to use it for, I recommend using your own discretion about washing it (how's that for definitive?). Since most of the burlap projects I've done are things I don't plan on ever washing, I don't bother to pre-wash it. The one time I pre-washed burlap was for a table runner I made, and I washed it by hand.

Now let's stopping talkin' about the practicalities of burlap and get down to the pretty! Burlap isn't just for sacks of taters anymore. There are so many crafty things you can do with burlap. Here are 10 ideas for using burlap in your own home, including a few of my own projects from around the house:


1. Line the back of a shelf. 
Here's a peek at a project I just finished last weekend for the master bedroom. I got this shelf at Home Goods on clearance for $25. The lining on the back of the shelf had stains on it from the wood stain and one of the vertical pieces was a little wonky. I don't mind imperfect (we'll just say it adds a certain "handmade" quality) and for 25 bucks, I figured I could put a little work into it and make it look the way I wanted it to. I removed the backing and painted the shelf white with paint I already had. After the paint dried, I added a light colored burlap to the back of it and added the backing back on. The whole thing cost me $27. This shelf seems like a pallet project just waiting to happen, so it could potentially be free if you were so inspired to build one yourself!
Before and After: Painted shelf with burlap lining
I'm happy that I finally have a place for my perfume bottle collection!

Check out this shelf and all the other room projects in our Completed Master Bedroom Makeover!

2. Make yourself some pillows (or buy them!)
 
Check out these pillows from Ballard Designs. You can make something similar or come up with a completely original pillow pattern using burlap:
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap
From Ballard Designs via Pinterest

3. Place burlap under the glass of a table to add an interesting texture and freshen things up. 
Here's a quick project I just did. For our nightstands, I cut a piece of burlap to size, added some Fray Check to keep it from unraveling, and after the Fray Check dried, I put it under the glass. You could do this for a coffee table, side table, dining room table - anything that has a piece of glass already on the top like this. It's kind of like my modern take on a doily:
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap


4. Make a wreath.
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap


5. Make a table runner / topper. 
I made this ruffled burlap table runner a couple years ago using this tutorial from Confessions of a Plate Addict:
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap

How about draping a square piece of burlap over a round table as a topper over another tablecloth? I have this same thing goin' on with my round side table in the living room:
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap
via Blue Egg Brown Nest

6. Update a bulletin board. 
I love this beach inspired bulletin board using burlap, twine, and shells from Homespot. I have a couple cork boards that could use some updating. Hmm...
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap


7. Make a lampshade. 
Doesn't this look great? This pendant chandelier is from The Keylor Family blog and includes a tutorial on how to make this entire thing:
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap

Or how about this Anthropologie-inspired ruffled burlap lamp shade from Mama Says Sew? Pretty.
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap


8. Dress up a plain glass hurricane or vase.
I love this simple touch that Heather from Setting for Four added to a couple of cylinder candle hurricanes.
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap


9. Make some beachin' curtains. 
These no sew curtains from Four Generations One Roof add so much to this room. What an inexpensive way to get great impact:
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap


10. Use it around picture frames or as a mat / background inside a frame.
10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap
via The Inspired Room

10 Great Decorating Ideas using Burlap
From Craft Warehouse

There are so many creative uses for burlap! What do you think about burlap? Do you like the idea of incorporating a little burlap in your home, or do you start getting all itchy just thinking about it? :)

P.S. I had to add this when I saw it this morning:

Yeah, don't make this. I'm scratching just looking at it. From this funny post on Grosgrain
Looking for even more burlap projects? Check out this post from Too Much Time on My Hands for 74 Burlap DIY projects. 74! You're bound to find something you like in that round-up.




Link parties!
Craftionary, Setting for Four

18 comments:

  1. I love that trick for cutting burlap. Every year I plan to use it as garland on my Christmas tree and I never do. I'm determined I will this year. Don't quote me though! I love the shelf you made, too. It looks wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great round-up of burlap projects. Burlap is just so versatile. And I leaned that burlap cutting tip from the girl at the fabric store a long time ago - works perfectly every time!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my goodness, you crack me up girl, you and your burlap! I never knew there were so many uses for burlap. I remember using burlap sacks for potato sack races in elementary school, remember those? I love what you did with that shelving unit, I mean it's definitely something I would have passed up seeing the way if was before you took charge and gave it a facelift. You continue to amaze me girl with all your DIY skills. Where did you end up putting it in your master bedroom? Are you going to reveal the final transformation soon, with throw pillows and all? I can't wait to see it and you are seriously inspiring me to make some simple improvements to my own casa. I think when things slow down this summer, I will try a few things! Don't get too excited because they will most likely be store bought improvements since I don't have the DIY skills or patience like you! Have a wonderful rest of the day! We have Zoe's open house tonight along with her jazz band concert. Woo hoo! xoxo, Jackie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! You don't want me to make you a burlap frock? I do remember potato sack races in school! That's all I thought burlap was good for until about 5 years ago. :) I put the shelf above the blue dresser! I had thought about putting a mirror there, but I already have 3 mirrors in the bedroom and that was going a bit far with having to see myself from all 4 walls of my room. haha!
      Thanks as always for your positive words, it means so much! I love that you might try a few things! I want to hear about them, and if you have any questions or want to run anything by someone else, I'm your girl! :)
      Good luck to Zoe at her concert. What instrument does she play? Talk to you soon. xoxo, Sharon

      Delete
    2. Hey girl! Hey, if you're offering up a burlap sack, I'll take one, haha! I'm just kidding there :) OMG, I thought that shelf was a bookcase. It looks pretty big in the photo. Zoe's concert was great. Her jazz band is actually playing at the Giant's game Monday night, but only for the spectators. She's very excited. She plays the alto saxophone. Have a great weekend :)

      Delete
    3. The shelf is a square shelf, probably around 30x30" I'm guessing, so it fits nicely above the dresser.
      How fun for Zoe to get to play at the Giants game, woohoo! That will be so fun for her.
      You have a great weekend too! xoxo, Sharon

      Delete
  4. Ooh that shelf with the burlap backing? Sooo fabulous! My perfume is jealous. It gets shoved into a drawer and rarely used. :)

    Kelly @ View Along the Way

    ReplyDelete
  5. Have never heard that tip for cutting burlap! Thanks for sharing! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by, Jenna! Sharon

      Delete
  6. I love burlap. I really like the curtains you posted and the ruffle lamp shade is awesome too.

    Last Christmas I found some white burlap that I made into a tree skirt with a pleated edge. I love how the texture of the pleat turned out especially.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds gorgeous Katja. I think a burlap tree skirt would be beautiful up around a tree. Thanks for stopping by! Sharon

      Delete
  7. I LOVE burlap. Thanks, Sharon for sharing these great ideas. I really like the lined back of the shelves and the pillows. Oh dang...Love it all.

    XOXO
    Denyse

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denyse! How great to see you. Hope you are doing well. Thanks for stopping by! Sharon

      Delete
  8. Such great ideas.. Especially love the burlap shelf and lamp..

    ReplyDelete
  9. Excellent post! Great tip for cutting burlap too. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks so much for sharing the link to my burlap post! I just noticed:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ha Ha and Mahalo! Looking for Burlap designs and found you! AND you share the same name as my niece too! Love it and looking forward to making some <3 !

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you! If your name is linked to an email address, I will respond via email but if it's not ("no-reply commenter"), I'll reply here on the blog. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment!