How to Burn Initials Into Burlap

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Take plain burlap from ho-hum to fun by branding initials into the fabric.
Take plain burlap from ho-hum to fun by branding initials into the fabric. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Burning initials into burlap gives a rustic look to this inexpensive fabric made of natural jute fibers. Uses for burlap that has been branded with initials include cowboy-themed party invitations, Western-style decorations and other household crafts that utilize burlap. The uses for burlap are limitless and burning initials into burlap gives the fabric a unique form of identification as well as adds aesthetic appeal to an otherwise plain piece of fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood-burning pen
  • Burlap fabric

On your computer, create the design layout of the initials that will be burned into the burlap. Adjust the font size so that the printout of the initials is large enough for the design. Print the document out. Alternatively, sketch out the lettering for the initials on paper.

Lay the piece of burlap flat on a nonflammable work surface, such as ceramic tile or concrete block. If the burlap features two layers, put a nonflammable piece of material underneath the layer that is being burned, so that the heat from the pen does not scorch the other layer of burlap.

Use pins to attach the paper to the burlap. Place one pin in between, above and below each letter in the design.

Put a tip on the wood-burning pen that will provide the line width of the desired initial design.

Plug the wood-burning pen in until it is heated.

Hold the wood-burning pen in one hand and trace the lettering over the paper. Hold the wood-burning pen down on the burlap fabric just long enough to burn through the paper and lightly scorch the top layer of burlap. Do not allow the wood-burning pen to rest in any area long enough to burn a hole all the way through the burlap fabric.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a scrap piece of burlap to do a trial run. During the trial, experiment with different sizes of wood-burning pens until the desired effect is achieved.
  • When drawing the initials with the wood-burning pen, rotate the burlap fabric, rather than the wood-burning pen in your hand.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy when working with flammable materials.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area, as this method creates smoke.
  • Use caution while operating the wood burner pen.
  • Keep the wood-burning pen out of the reach of children.
  • Do not wear loose clothing, and tie your hair back and out of the way of the flame while working with the wood-burning pen,

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