Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Burlap - Not Just for Bags

I might be a little late to the burlap party, but I have seen a lot of burlap projects on Pinterest.  Another big trend on Pinterest?  Scrabble Tile crafts, both with the actual tiles, and projects that just look like the tiles.  As a long-time Scrabble lover, I knew I needed some lettered pillows, so I thought I would mesh the burlap/Scrabble thing and share the process with you.  
First, I lucked into 3-16" pillow forms at Hobby Lobby last week, 50% off.  I cut 3 squares of burlap to 17", then found the center and put a pin there.  
For the stencil, I printed off 8" letters using the Arial font, bold  (the 1's are 3"), traced the numbers onto freezer paper and cut them out with an Exacto:
 Then, after finding the approximate center of the stencil, I matched that up with the center of the burlap square and ironed the freezer paper onto the fabric:
 Using a foam brush and acrylic paint, I stenciled the letters.  I wasn't at all sure how the burlap would take the stenciling, since it is such a loose weave, but it worked great.  I think the key is to use just a little paint at a time.
 If you make sure and iron the edges down nicely, you should get a clean print.  Let the paint set just a couple of minutes, and peel off the freezer paper.  Viola!:
 I waited until the letters were completely dry before I stenciled on the numbers, because I know myself too well, and would have surely had a mess if I tried to do it while the letters were still wet.  I am an impatient crafter, I know.  Stencil on the numbers the same way.

For the backs of the pillows, I used three dishtowels I had stored away in my crafty bins -- I like to use a dishtowel because the edges are already finished.  Cut the towel in half and lay the halves on the burlap square, right sides together, having the towel overlap to create an envelope opening.  ( Freshly Picked has a great tutorial of an envelope pillow.)  Sew all around the edges, trim the seams, flip it inside out and you get this:

Stuff your pillow form inside, give it a good whack here and there to even it out, then put your pillows on your front porch swing.
Zoe thinks this is very cute.  Isn't she just the cutest herself?

One more burlap craft:
One of the genius ideas I learned on Pinterest was to use a swim noodle as a wreath form.  Genius, I tell you. And, right now, you can get one for $1.00 at the dollar stores!
To form the noodle into a wreath, start by bending it little by little -- it will easily begin to take on a circle shape.  I just rolled up a 4"strip of newspaper to make a plug -- stuff it into the hole on one side, and bring the other end around and push that onto the plug.  Bring the edges together as neatly as you can and tape with packing tape or duct tape.  Just keep messing with it and bending it here and there and you will have a perfect circle.
I cut strips of burlap about 2" wide and wrapped them around the wreath, securing with straight pins (I'm sure you could use tape or glue, as well -- you might have to experiment with what will stick to the noodle).
Then, I tried my hand at the fabric roses I also see everywhere on Pinterest -- from pillows to sweaters to headbands.  (There are several good tutorials out there for these, as well --try this great one at Portabellopixie.)  You can secure these with glue or stitching, but I just used a few pins.

I made a bunch of roses out of burlap,  and tried a few with cotton strips:

I like them both.  The leaves are just little knots of green fabric.
I think this would be a great project for fall, with a darker burlap and orangey roses.
But no time for that now -- more Pinterest fun to share tomorrow!


  1. I LOVE the letters on the porch swing. I'm gonna copy, but I'm not good at painting, so I think I wll applique mine. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Your Texas cousins love scrabble and your blog. The pillows are wonderful. Keep up the creativity.