Burlap – How to Craft Window Treatments and Other Uses

Burlap Window Treatments

Burlap is a course woven fabric made from Jute fibers, and that has an earthy natural look and feel thanks to the rough fiber composition. It has been used throughout time in so many different ways, such as: apparel, in shipping, storage, home decorations, sandbags for emergency situations, and in the production of bags, rugs and many other products. It is highly durable and its natural, neutral color ensures that it pairs well with any design style. Before the jute is harvested, the material is actually a white color; as the jute dries and is processed, however, it takes on a decidedly brown-colored hue that is how this material is typically known and recognized.

When this this heavyweight, odorless and tightly-woven fabric is sanitized, the natural oils are eliminated, so it feels quite “dried out” to the touch. It drapes (falls) so nicely, and which is why it is perfect for creating a rustic chic decor at weddings, and for home decor accents like table runners, no-sew window treatments and coverings, and certainly in so many crafts. It has always been widely utilized in home decorating as it adds a nice texture and style to any room!

Burlap bags
Burlap bags

One of the primary functional qualities of burlap is that it is lightweight and very inexpensive, and is therefore used as a nice Do-It-Yourself window treatment.

Here is a guided lesson on how to create Burlap Window Treatments:

  1. Measure the length of your curtains
  2. Start at the top and work down
  3. Add 6 inches or so to the cut length to factor in the addition of a pocket for the curtain rod and the hem at the bottom.
  4. Measure the width of the window and factor in an additional 4 inches to account for the hems on both sides
  5. Use your length and width measurements to cut the burlap to size
  6. You should now have one singular large rectangle
  7. Fold this one singular piece in half lengthwise
  8. Now cut along the fold to create two panels
  9.  Iron if needed to create the defined folds, and sew in place.
  10. Fold over the two long sides of each panel 1 inch
  11.  Iron if needed to create the defined folds, and sew in place.
  12. Make a bottom hem first, and by folding one short edge of burlap up 3 inches.
  13. Now Iron and sew the hem
  14. Now it’s time to create the pocketed groove for the hanging rod
  15. Fold down the top 1 inch and the iron in place
  16. Fold again another 2 inches
  17. Sew down near the edge of the first 1-inch fold that you just created
  18. Iron both completed burlap panels for a crisp fold line
  19. Insert the rod, and hang over your window


Burlap roll
Burlap roll

Other Burlap Uses:

  • Apparel – in past times, though quite abrasive and not recommended for this purpose
  • Burlap containers
  • Art – used by artists as an alternative to canvas, and can be stretched for a painting surface
  • Emergency flood response – often used as sandbags to mitigate against flooding and divert water flow
  • Forest fires – to beat out bush fires
  • Shipping – coffee beans and other products that need to breathe and have air flow to prevent spoilage, like tobacco.

Burlap for Home Decor

This woven fabric provides such a distinctive and textured style when decorating! Many people have used this as an effective and impressive accent wall, as it adds a naturally rustic look to an otherwise blah wall. It can even be used as an effective wallpaper, and versus an expensive traditional wallpaper. The advantages of using this material as wallpaper, in fact, are that it is so easily removed if change is wanted than traditional wallpaper, and then you can actually reuse and re-purpose the material once taken down! As burlap possesses a very loose weave, you must and should consider its final use and location whenever you are working with burlap. For other material options, and in lieu of burlap, consider other fabric draping material or Cotton Duck Fabric – 10 ounce.

Burlap Texture
Burlap Texture
How to Wash and Care for Burlap:
  1. Wash each length in a conventional washing machine
  2. Use the regular amount of detergent, but never bleach
  3. Depending on the usage, fabric softener can be added to the rinse cycle
  4. Use the lower/ gentler spin cycle 
  5. Retrieve from the washer quickly after finishing cycle to mitigate against the wrinkling
  6. Dry it on a normal dryer cycle
  7. Or, consider hanging outside to dry as it is quick and easy for burlap to pick up and attract the lint and fuzz from previous drying of other material/ clothes