Burlap adds an appealing rustic look to crafts and home decor, but its loose weave can make working with it difficult. Adding a temporary stiffener to the fabric lets you cut and shape it with less fuss, and some permanent stiffeners can also help with burlap's tendency to fray.
Things You'll Need
White craft glue or decoupage medium
Foam sponge brush
Liquid laundry starch
Glue Your Dry Goods
Spread plastic on your work surface. Because burlap is woven very loosely, the stiffener will go through to the table if you don't protect it.
Mix equal parts of white craft glue and water. If you prefer, you can also use a commercial decoupage medium.
Unfold the burlap and place it on the covered work surface in a single layer.
Apply the glue mixture to the burlap with a sponge brush in a thin, even layer. Allow the fabric to dry thoroughly.
Apply a second coat of glue as needed to achieve the desired stiffness.
Stiffen the Stuff With Starch
Cover your work surface with plastic.
Spread the burlap on the work area.
Brush the liquid starch evenly over the fabric. Allow it to dry thoroughly.
Add a second application of starch, if needed.
Bond That Burlap
Heat your iron to the cotton setting.
Cut the fusible interfacing to the size of your burlap yardage.
Place the burlap on the ironing board or work surface.
Add the interfacing, with its shiny or textured adhesive side down.
Press the stack with the iron to fuse them together. Allow the burlap to cool completely.
The glue or starch methods provide a stiffness that can be washed out. The interfacing provides a more permanent stability.
You can also use spray starch for a temporary fix.
If you don’t have plastic sheeting, substitute large garbage bags. For smaller projects, cover the work space with waxed paper.