There are countless uses for burlap (hessian, jute) in the home and garden. This natural, woven fabric is excellent for crafts, decor, protecting plants, lining flower planters, growing potatoes, and more.
For more creative projects see the Make index.
What is Burlap?
Depending on where you live, you may know it as burlap, hessian, or jute.
Burlap is a woven fabric made from natural materials. The most common source is the jute plant, but there is burlap made from other plant sources as well. The name is not protected so you might also find burlap made from synthetic materials. I only use the natural stuff.
You’ve probably noticed how popular burlap has become in recent years. I’m sure a lot of this came from the farmhouse decor craze (sorry, couldn’t think of a more appropriate word!) using this unique fabric for everything from cushions to curtains.
The natural fibers provide beautiful color and texture for grain sacks, ribbons and bows, faux flowers, wall-hangings and more.
Years ago I was given a giant roll of burlap fabric for protecting my evergreen shrubs in the winter. Since then, it has become a great resource for numerous creative projects as well.
One year I sewed a bunch of giant sacks and grew potatoes in them. I also like it for DIY projects which I’ve listed below.
Burlap Shopping Tips
There is a lot of different burlap fabric available and the right kind will depend on what you’re doing with it.
If you prefer natural fibers like I do, be sure you’re getting all-natural burlap and not a synthetic, which may be sold as ‘burlap-like’, or ‘burlap-inspired’, and so on.
Burlap fabric ranges from a very loose weave to a dense, watertight weave. Generally, the looser the weave, the lower the cost.
For short-term garden projects, I use rolls of the inexpensive stuff.
For home decor, I choose the better, long-lasting stuff. You may have to shop around for a good deal, though.
Scroll down to the Burlap Shop for sources.
Uses for Burlap in Your Home & Garden
Here’s some DIY projects and ideas for using burlap.
Burlap in the Home
- wall hangings
- gift bags
- napkin rings
- Christmas tree skirt
Burlap in the Garden
- flower pot covers (to disguise ugly containers)
- flower pot drainage hole cover
- winter protection for shrubs and vines
- plant covers for cool nights
- suppress weeds with burlap in garden beds
- veggie growing containers (burlap sacs)
- sunshade for plants
- patio curtains or blinds
- root wrapper for transplanting plants
- and the classic potato sacks for races!
Ways to Use Burlap in the Garden + Craft & Decor Ideas
A good list of ideas and garden hacks with practical and creative uses for burlap.
Make a Garden Art Owl Wreath
Here I used burlap scraps entirely for the natural texture, which works nicely for this quirky owl.
The burlap in this planter is a cheaper alternative to those coir liners that can get a bit pricey to replace.
I saw this planter on a garden tour. It’s a really simple project but the addition of the burlap just makes it work.
Make a Garden Art Bird Bath
This project uses clear glass containers to create bird baths, and, to make them interesting, I filled them with various things including burlap fabric.
This is one of the most common ways I use burlap: to line unusual garden planters. Because it’s fabric, it can be shaped for any size and shape, holding the potting mix in place yet allowing drainage: perfect.
Shop for Burlap
- Burlap Curtains
- Sunflower Wreath
- Burlap Table Runner
- Burlap Roll
- Potato Sack Race Bags
- Gift Bags
If you enjoy creative and frugal home and garden ideas, be sure to get your free Empress of Dirt Newsletter here.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛