Pinterest Worthy Projects: How to stitch on Burlap

This week I got a rather massive custom order for a baby mobile (more on that later) and 4 pieces of embroidery on burlap. Now I have stitched on burlap before but not quite like this. I really put some thought into how I wanted to go about this effort and I wanted to share with you all what I ended up coming up with.

What you will need:


Embroidery floss or yarn

a large needle


Masking tape

Febreeze (optional)

Dryer Sheets (optional)

There were some definite hits and misses with this project. When I first started it earlier this week I decided to try and wash the burlap thinking that might soften it and help with the unfortunate smell. That was a bust, or rather a Pinterest worthy fail. It frayed to the point that I couldn’t use it. So then it was back to the drawing board. Rather than washing I decided to iron and febreeze which softened it just a bit and got rid of some of the smell. That would be my recommended first step if you are not going to attempt to wash it or like me, attempted to wash it with poor results.


Next, I cut the burlap into approximate 12″ x 13″ squares. I wanted plenty of room to work with. I promised that the finished design could be framed in an 8″ x 10″ so I aimed for a stitched design about 4″ x 6″. They turned out a little bigger than that but in the end I think it will work out fine. You will need to adjust your pieces as necessary.

To prevent the edges from fraying I taped them with masking tape, much like you might do with regular cross stitch fabric when working with it. You could also run a zig zag stitch along the edges instead if the tape seems irritating. Now you are ready to draw your design on!


I put some rather careful thought into how I was going to go about drawing the design outline down. You can barely see the one I have drawn on there. I didn’t need the details put in. I could easily add them, but I did need some sort of basic outline. Burlap is too unruly to free hand stitch.A pencil, which I might normally  use will not show up on burlap so I ended up using chalk. This turned out to be rather ingenious. Don’t worry about making the lines thick. If you need to at the end you can rub the chalk off or use a spot cleaner to gently wipe it away.


Once you finish getting your design situated, its time to stitch. I will say that you want to use a large needle and either a full piece of embroidery floss or yarn to stitch on your design. Otherwise the possibilities are endless. I wouldn’t plan on anything really intricate on plain old cheap burlap. If you want to do pretty little designs invest in a tighter weave.

Here are my results thus far!

IMG_1488 IMG_1489

What do you think?

Anyone else had success with stitching on burlap? I’d love to hear what you all did with your projects.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s