DIY | Sewing Projects

How to Cut Burlap (Includes How to Wash Burlap)

How to cut burlap, also includes how to wash burlap with tips for drying. Complete directions for properly preparing burlap fabric so it’s easy to work with, plus tips for a straight cut.

how to wash burlap and cut

This is one of those posts that I have wanted to write for a very long time. I have several burlap projects on my blog, yet I never showed you how to wash burlap so it’s easier to work with. I’m also including tips for drying burlap, and detailed instructions that explain how to cut burlap. I’ve got this down to a science, so let’s talk burlap! I admit that I was late to the burlap party but when I finally arrived, I realized how fun it was. Burlap has many good qualities, along with some bad ones. Thankfully, I think the good outweighs the bad.

folded burlap 2020

The very best thing about burlap is that it’s budget friendly. At 40 to 50 inches wide, you can find it for $2 – $3 per yard. It’s neutral in color, and goes with many different decor styles. Burlap has come a long way in the last few years. It’s now available in different colors and prints. I fell in love with the print above with the birds and the branches. In the image above you can see what my burlap looked like right off the bolt. Very stiff and very smelly. Let me show you what to do to fix that!

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How to Wash Burlap

I usually buy burlap in lengths of 3 to 5 yards. Click HERE for a great source. I wash each length in my washing machine with the regular amount of detergent. It has never harmed or clogged up my washer in any way. I also add fabric softener to the rinse cycle, and lower the spin cycle to medium. I try to catch it as soon as it’s finished so no wrinkles set in. I dry it on a normal dryer cycle, but make sure your lint catcher is completely clean before you dry any burlap. The lint and fuzz from the burlap will fill it up. After it comes out of the dryer, I head outside and shake the daylights out of it. More fuzz comes out and the good thing is it’s outside, and not in your house. Here is what burlap looks like after being washed and dried.

how to wash burlap 2020

The ends will be a mess and it will be wrinkled. The next step is to iron it. I use my regular iron on the hottest steam setting. I spritz it with water a section at a time, and then just start ironing. This 3-yard piece took me about 15 minutes. It won’t be completely smooth, but it will be flat, and be much easier to cut.

burlap and iron 2020

Cutting burlap is easy. All it takes is a little practice and you will be a pro!

How to cut burlap so it’s straight:

  • Lay your burlap on a hard surface so the end is running up and down in front of you.
  • Find where you want the cut line to be and make a small snip in the burlap.
  • Pull a thread from where you made your snip. Just keep tugging at it and the burlap will start to gather. Gently pull the thread until it comes completely out of the burlap. If it breaks don’t worry. Just find where it broke off and start pulling from there.
  • You will see a sort of channel where the thread used to be.
  • Carefully cut along this channel from one side to the other.
  • You now have a perfectly straight end to your burlap.

Note: the bird burlap is no longer available. Printed burlap fabric can be found at fabric and craft stores. 

how to prepare burlap collage 2020

I washed a small piece of the bird burlap to see if the pattern would fade, and it did a little. I decided to go ahead and wash the whole piece, and I love the way it turned out. It’s faded and looks very vintage. Here are links to three tables runners that are super easy, and they are all made with burlap.

Burlap Table Runners:

I used to be a burlap skeptic, but after working with it, I am completely won over. If you are skeptical, just give it a try. You might surprise yourself, and end up liking it too!

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