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Burlap And Bling: How to Use Burlap In Your Wedding Décor And Still Make It Beautiful

Burlap For Weddings?

When you think about fabric used in weddings, usually fabrics like silk, satin, tulle, and organza come to mind. Ever since Queen Victoria wore white for her own wedding and set the wedding world on its ear, those have been traditional fabrics used in wedding décor. Over the years, we've seen color added in and brides veering away from the traditional white. Little by little, the colors have gotten brighter and more dramatic. Even prints have been added to the mix with toile and damask, even polka dots, being seen in runners and tablecloths. But burlap? Seriously? Amazingly enough, burlap has become strangely popular in wedding décor with brides fighting like bridezillas to have the humble fabric included in all elements of their décor including pew markers, runners, overlays, even signs. Why would such a rough, rustic looking (and more often than not, smelly!) fabric be used as wedding decor?

Burlap Pew Markers


Why Burlap?

Although many brides choose burlap simply because it's trendy, like most fads, it didn't start out that way. More than likely, one renegade bride decided to buck the overpriced and overblown wedding industry and follow the "Keep It Simple" adage. Who knows, maybe she lived near a farm and her expensive runners didn't come in on time for her wedding and her planner had to think up something fast. So they just grabbed a few potato sacks, split them open, laid them on the table, and Voila!...a star is born!

Regardless of how it happened, it really started a trend where brides are now seeking out rustic and vintage materials for use in their weddings. One can only hope that the trend is simply part of the greening of society and "reduce, reuse, and recycle" is actually being take to heart, even by the bridal industry where sometimes excess is the norm. It can be reused for all sorts of things, including for landscaping material, and it's so insanely popular that most brides can easily re-sell their décor on wedding sites such as The Knot, Weddingbee, etc., to other burlap-hungry brides-to-be. Burlap is very inexpensive (in many cases about $2.99 in fabric stores) and can come in lots of colors, including natural, ivory, green and many others. It also can be combined with other inexpensive materials such as twine, doilies, either paper or lace, and homespun fabrics to create a really stunning and eyecatching display at a wedding ceremony or reception.

How To Get The Smell Out Of Burlap

Burlap can be purchased in huge rolls from suppliers like U-line and in widths that are perfect for everything from table runners to curtains. However, just like the potato sacks you remember from kid potato sack races, burlap has that distinctive, not too pleasant smell. If you think you can dump that whole stinky mess in your washer and wash the smell out, think again. For all its rugged good looks, burlap doesn't make it through the washing machine very well. It usually comes out resembling a wrinkly wad and virtually unusable. So a word to the wise, if you're trying to be efficient and wash it in the washing machine...DON'T! You can wash burlap very carefully by hand in vinegar and water and then hang to dry...again, the flipping over and over in the dryer doesn't agree too well with delicate and loosely woven burlap. Two non-washing methods to try are simply hanging the burlap outside in fresh air and letting it air out or sprinkling it with baking soda and letting the soda absorb the odors.


Using Burlap In Wedding Décor

Once you've gotten the odor out and decided what you want to make out of the burlap, you need to decide how and if you will want to finish the edges. Because burlap is such a loosely woven material, when you cut it, it ravels. Some people think that's what makes burlap so charming and actually love that frayed look. If so, you can just grab a thread or two off of the cut edge and fray the burlap until you have a fringe the size you want on the edge. However, some people truly hate the fraying on the edges. If you are a sewer, you can simply turn under the cut edges about a half an inch and sew them under using a wide zigzag stitch to keep the edges from curling.

If you are a non-sewer, there are two simple ways to keep the edges from fraying. Fray Check, a binding liquid that many sewers and non-sewers alike love, can be applied to the edges and acts as a bonding agent that keeps the edges from fraying. Another simple way to finish the edges of burlap without sewing it is using a product called Stitch Witchery. Stitch Witchery is almost like glue in that it can bind the fabric together. Turn under the edge of your burlap as if you were going to sew it down, but instead place a line of Stitch Witchery under the edge you have turned under. With a damp, not soaking wet washcloth, press the edge down with a dry iron. It will stick to the rest of your runner like a charm and is really easy for the non-sewer to use.

Burlap Ring Bearer Pillow


Burlap Favor Bags


Burlap For Wedding Accessories

Besides the obvious and simple use of burlap as a table runner, it can also be used for really cute and simple to make accessories. Combined with buttons and vintage fabric, it can make an adorable ring bearer pillow. You can even make burlap flowers for your wedding bouquet. Just make sure to use Fray Check on the cut edges to prevent raveling. Wrapped in a cone shape and filled with baby's breath or some sort of greenery, burlap looks amazing as a pew marker. It can be cut into narrower lengths and be used as chair sashes. Purchased in a 36" wide roll, it can be used as a rustic aisle runner that actually works better in some cases than the traditional aisle runner fabric since it's nowhere near as flimsy. You can stencil your monogram on it or anything you like, because it takes paint well. Again, because burlap is so loosely woven, the paint will come right through onto whatever surface you are using, so be sure and cover the surface with wax paper to prevent paint from getting all over your work surface.

Regardless of what you use it for, it's hard to beat the functionality, the charm, and workability of lowly burlap. You can still add your fancy china and silverware right on top of it along with your blinged out candleabras, because burlap is tough. It can take the fancy competition and keep on shining!

Burlap Flower Girl Basket


Burlap Blinged Out Flowers


DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on February 12, 2014:

I love all your ideas! Send pictures!

carrie on February 09, 2014:

I am having a very simple wedding im from the country but live in jersey. I really wanted to make my wedding feel a little like home so I loved the idea of an old fashioned rustic country wedding. Although not into cowboy boots and hats I love the mason jars and burlap. I don't have colors for my wedding we are just going with spring wild flowers and simple venvues. BBque buffet of fashioned lemonade teas homemade beer and things like that. Mason jars are the perfect 'old" touch I was looking for!

DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on October 14, 2012:

I do love burlap, Burlap Fabric. It has so many uses and you can mix rustic and elegant pieces to create a unique and one of a kind look for your wedding décor.

Burlap Fabric from Chicago on October 13, 2012:

Gorgeous ideas and excellent hub! Burlap is truly a wonderful fabric that adds so much to a wedding!

DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on June 05, 2012:

Lynelle, if you google the instructions for making a tissue paper kissing ball, I would think you could do pretty much the same kind of thing with squares of burlap.

Lynelle Gordon on June 05, 2012:

Does anyone have instructions on how to make burlap kissing balls?

DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on November 01, 2011:

You're welcome, OGW. They are awesome together.

onegoodwoman from A small southern town on November 01, 2011:

As a fan of both, burlap, and mason jars......

I would not have thought to utilize either in a wedding.

Thanks to you, for expanding my creativity.

DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on October 05, 2011:

BT, I had my coffee shop save the cool bottles they have the flavorings in (they look like wine bottles)and I wrapped a piece of burlap around the middle and a small piece around the neck of the bottle. I layered a smaller piece of lace over the top of the burlap on the lower part. I plan on getting mailbox numbers in the bride's wedding date and gluing one to each bottle, lining the bottles up in a row on the outside fireplace mantle. Then I'm putting taper candles in the top of each one. I'll post a pic when I'm done, I'm seriously loving this project!

Sarah Kolb-Williams from Twin Cities on October 05, 2011:

Oh my gosh! I picked up some burlap a few weeks ago not knowing what I was going to do with it -- table runners, I was thinking -- and I have so many more ideas now. Thanks for the fantastic hub!

writeronline on August 14, 2011:

Hi DIY! I know I have no business commenting on this piece - most of it is way outside my sphere of understanding (make that 'all of it'), but it's obviously a winner because it's new and innovative, filled with helpful detail, and supported with groovy pics and vids.

So, I figured I'd write to make the prediction that it will be featured as Hub of the Day. Maybe even by the time this comment gets posted? And if not, then the HP gods just aren't concentrating.

I've written a couple of unusual (for me) hubs lately, one a fictional short story, and the other an attempt at satirical humour. If you're bored sometime, I'd be pleased to get your views (that sounds a bit self-serving, sorry, I mean 'views' as in 'opinions', not page impressions.. :)

DIYweddingplanner (author) from South Carolina, USA on August 13, 2011:

Thanks RJ and RC, just bought a bolt today to use for all kinds of creative projects!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 13, 2011:

I never would have thought to use burlap for weddings, but it clearly works very well for so many different items! Thanks for sharing this.

Reynold Jay from Saginaw, Michigan on August 13, 2011:

It works for me! I follow you cause I ran those bridal botoques all those years and love all the wild stuff you come up with.

Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and awesome.” I'm always your fan! RJ

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