Posts Tagged ‘burlap’

Stenciling on burlap: a tutorial

Burlap bee 2When I saw these hand towels, I was smitten. I loved the crisp white linen and delicate eyelet. But it was the fern and bee design that had me swooning.


Bee toweljpeg



So when I decided to re-upholster the seats of my wrought iron outdoor chairs, I thought I’d see if I could replicate the design.



And I could! Here’s how I did it.


Sunbrella shot


I started with these guys which I had upholstered with a remnant of Sunbrella fabric a few years back. The upshot was Sunbrella is awesome in its fade and stain resistance. The downside? The pattern was way too tropical for these decidedly untropical chairs.



So I banished them to the garage–until now. Our new house is in desperate need of outdoor seating so I figured I’d use what I had. My next instinct was to re-upholster them using drop cloths.



Brilliant, I thought. Drop cloths are inexpensive, readily available at Home Depot, a great neutral color, and water-resistant.


Drop cloth water resistantLook at the pooled water, waving like Casper the Friendly Ghost.



But it can also be plain.



And boring.



Drop cloth chairDull, no?


So I had to do something better.


And better involved burlap.


The rich tone and texture of burlap would add some visual interest.  But not enough. That would come from stenciling on a design.

Blue fern stencilI found this fern stencil at Michael’s for under $3–before the 40% off coupon. Sold!




Bee stencil


For the bee, I turned to Google for a clip art graphic. I inflated the size to the dimensions I needed (5 1/2″ x 4″) before printing it onto white copy paper. Note: Learn from my mistake. If your printable image is solid, convert it to an outline before printing so you don’t waste your ink, like I did. Eh hem. I used an X-acto blade to cut out the solid (outlined in your case) areas of the bee graphic.



Fern leaves on burlap


While I was busy as a bee, cutting my stencil, I looked over at the fern stencil from Michael’s and it hit me, “I could’ve placed one of those plastic report covers over the printed bee, traced it with a Sharpie and then cut the design from the plastic.” If I had, I’d have a stencil that would hold up a lot better than the copy paper one I made although, to be fair, it did hold up through the two rounds of stenciling which is all I really needed it for.


But what if there are future projects that require bees stencils? You never know, so for that reason, if you happen to have any plastic sheets of some kind lying around, you’d be wise to use them–not copy paper!–to create your stencil. If you don’t, here’s another idea. It turns out there’s a whole industry of products designed around creating stencils. You may already know all about this, but if you don’t, check it out. It’s called stencil paper and looks like this:


stencil paper


Back to my archaic method, once I finished cutting my bee stencil, I rested it on the fabric, along with the fern stencil, and plotted the placement. Once everything was in the proper position I began painting using black acrylic paint. I found it was helpful to keep my non-painting hand pressed down on the stencil so the paint couldn’t bleed underneath the stencil. Tip: Do not add water to your paint or it will be too runny and may bleed under the stencil!


Fern and bee stencil copy

Bee and fern in progress


Once the stenciling was finished and the paint had dried, I unscrewed the seat cushions from the chair, draped the stenciled burlap over the cushion, (making sure the design was centered), then secured the fabric to the back of the cushion using a staple gun. After screwing the burlap seats back in place, I sprayed their tops with clear acrylic spray paint to protect them from the elements–and any messy diners!



Burlap Bee chair after


Bee Chairs AfterTa da! So much better!



Note:  Before I reupholstered the chair cushions with the piece of stenciled burlap, I draped it over a pillow and duct taped it in place to see how it would translate into a decorative pillow. I think it works!  Other uses? Sew the burlap into a beach tote or reusable grocery bag; create a table runner or frame it.




Burlap bee 2

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Too trendy? The search for wedding ideas that haven’t been done to “Death do us part.”

There’s a whole lotta wishful thinking when I tell you we are!/were?/are! getting married in July. Truthfully, I don’t know if we can pull it off. And that makes me feel bad because we carefully chose the date ourselves and, normally, we’d do anything we could to avoid missing a deadline. So how can we allow ourselves to possibly miss the greatest deadline of our lives, thus far?



Chalkboard signImage via Southern Weddings (We are not Virginia or Henry although those are very nice names.)



Because I have wedding planning block. And it doesn’t stem from the fact that we’re still knee-deep in the trenches of sample selection and the what-will-go-where? stage of our remodel and that I’m hardly anxious for anyone to see the house while it’s very much in its Before state. (Did I mention we plan to host the reception at home? Oh yeah.) Or because I have spent the time since we became engaged daydreaming about, and working on, setting up this blog, instead of reflecting on which wedding dress styles would look smashing or if we should choose cupcakes or something tiered.



Rose Wedding dress



And it’s not cold feet–although JB will tell you my feet feel like wedges of ice, especially lying in bed, mid-winter.  No, the real reason behind this block is because for a while I was paying attention (pre-engagement) and I saw all these amazing crafty wedding ideas. Ideas that made me think, “How clever/original/wonderful! Who are these brilliant minds who thought that up?” And then I saw them over and over again.



Rustic wedding stagImage via Rustic Wedding Chic 




Roses and orchids



Don’t get me wrong. It is with a big smile on my face that I acknowledge we are living in a fine time for planning a wedding on a budget (which we’re definitely on). Five years ago, you couldn’t fake stylish. It came one way. At a hotel or sprawling rented house, tables festooned with vases stuffed with thousands of dethroned roses,  a shot glass or magnet printed with the date of your wedding resting at every place setting, and a three-tiered–at minimum–cake. These days a decent backyard trumps the confines of a stuffy ballroom, mason jars stuffed with lavender and wild flowers are beyond passable–they’re preferred; the party favor is a poem typed on an old typewriter, and instead of slicing into a $400+ cake creation, the bride just smashed a cupcake (that her sister made, gluten-free) into her groom’s moustached face.



Outdoor wedding

Image via Bridal Guide



Today, having a DIY wedding doesn’t mean you’ll appear low on funds--but, instead, incredibly hip! And so, you may ask, why are my feet still dragging when they could be trying on some ballet flats I might bedeck in glue and glitter for the big day?



Glittered ballet flatsImage via Elizabeth Anne Designs 



Because, it’s starting to feel like every good idea has already been done. For example, if we got married anytime between now and the last five years, this is how our Save the Date would look. (Except we’re not actually these people.) Incidentally, my best friend just pointed out if we’re planning on sending out Save the Dates for July, we’re officially behind schedule.

Save the date hipsters


We’d wear vintage threads, stand side by side relaxing our faces into expressions that read, “This is nothing special. Really, there are a lot more important things we could be doing right now. Truth.”



Save the date grocery cart

Image via Paper Source.

Or pose, while one of us rides a grocery cart, the other pushes, and we lean in for a charming kiss. (I actually really like this one!)



We would have chalkboard everything from the font on the invitation….



Chalkboard wedding invitationImage via

To the actual wedding



Chalkboard wedding backdrop



To the decor




Chalkboard chair signs




There would be stumps here




Stump wedding decorImage via One King’s Lane



And there




Succulent Wedding cake

(I made this cake for my best friend’s wedding, last September. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the stump was giant, almost 3′ in diameter, and heavy!)



Mason jars for vases



Flowers in mason jars




A burlap “Just Married” banner–possibly one resembling Scrabble tiles, like this…



Just Married Burlap Banner



And burlap and wine barrels at the cake table dessert station



Wedding wine barrels

Image via The Very Last Detail 



A rustic sign leading guests to the action…




Rustic wedding signImage via Ruffled blog 



A vintage chandelier hung in the garden



Wedding chandelierImage via One True Love Vintage Rentals



A station with an old fashioned typewriter so guests can share the keys to marital bliss



Typewriter wedding

Image via Jitterbug Vintage Weddings



And a beautiful succulent bouquet….



Succulent bouquet

Note: I read a suggestion somewhere that you can plant your succulent bouquet directly into the ground and it will begin to root and grow…along with your love.



But I’m determined to switch it up a bit. Do something that hasn’t been done.



Burlap wrapped silverware

Image via MarryMeTampaBay 



I’m curious about the next trend in wedding design. I’d rather be on its cutting edge than on the tail wind of what was done last year. Or the year before, or the year before.  And sometimes that takes more than the allotted time (T minus five months) to figure out.



Happily Ever After signImage via Crossroads4kids 



But as I look through these images, I admit, I love every one of them! Perhaps it’s okay to not reinvent the (wedding) wheel, but just roll with the inspiration. Borrowing ideas might be just fine. There is supposed to be “something borrowed, something blue,” right?  How about you? Have you come up with any amazing ideas to set your wedding apart? I’d be happy to hear them!


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