For the past month we have been in total craft mode for the holidays, and one material we have a slight obsession with at the moment is burlap. We knew it was a natural fiber, and that burlap sacks are used to transport vegetables/grains or to cover plants in the winter… but that was about it. Here’s what we found out.
Burlap is a woven textile that is created most often from jute fibers – the coarse texture is from the skin of the jute plant. Jute fibers have a high content of cellulose and lignin, an organic substance that binds natural wood and regulates the flow of liquid in plants…which makes vegetables firm and trees tall. Jute is cultivated from the species of the plant Corchorus, which is predominantly found in the Indian, Bangladesh & Pakistan regions due to their climate (monsoon seasons provide adequate standing water). The fibers are extracted through a process of retting (dissolving in water) and stripping (scraping fibers from the stem).
The result is a textile fiber that has a large weave pattern and a natural beige color. It is part cloth and part wood… so it is heat resistant, strong, breathable (so good in moist environments), and inexpensive! We’ve been finding it for $2.99/yard. Best of all, it is biodegradable.
We’ve seen some amazing interior products made from burlap including carpets, curtains, upholstery, and decorative items. It is important to note that some burlap may have had chemicals applied to it by the time it reaches you, so good to know where yours is sourced. Unfortunately this happens a lot with textiles to make them flame resistant, crease resistant, wrinkle free, soft, dyed, etc, etc. But there are non-toxic options that are good alternatives. Burlap is flammable so consider where it will be installed.
Since burlap texture is pretty coarse we use it on items meant to be decorative, rather than snuggled with. Here are some fun ideas that can help bring a little nature inside your home.
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