Monday, December 13, 2010

Made By Me Monday: Burlap Wreath

I'm on a mission this holiday season. I've banished wrapping paper from our house in an effort to find more environmentally friendly and unique ways of packaging our presents for friends and loved ones. So, as I was putting together a coffee themed gift for a relative, I went in search of a place that sold the burlap bags coffee beans are shipped in, thinking I could use the burlap sack to wrap the gift. Luckily, the Online Fabric Store not only had the bags I was looking for, but they also were incredibly inexpensive and shipped very quickly (I even got a shipping discount). Since they were inexpensive, I bought more than I needed, figuring I would think of a crafty way to use these very cool printed burlap sacks. So, here is my first adventure with coffee bean burlap: a coffee-inspired burlap wreath.

There are a couple of really good reasons to use the coffee bean bag rather than simply buying a yard or two of burlap fabric. First, it's environmentally friendly. You are finding a creative way to upcycle burlap rather than purchase burlap that's never been used. And second, you can't go to a fabric store and find the cool prints that these coffee bags have on them. Depending upon how you wrap your wreath, you can really incorporate some of the great colors and texts that you'll find on the coffee sacks. You'll notice that in the pictures of the smaller wreath that I created, I didn't incorporate much of the printed text on the burlap into my design. But on my second larger wreath, I wrapped the strips of burlap so that the text and graphics showed a bit more. Since many of the graphics were in red and green, I think I'll be decorating this larger wreath to fit in with my Christmas decor. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me show you how to create this great, upcycled coffee bean burlap wreath.

  • 1 burlap coffee bean bag
  • straw wreath of any size
  • hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • ribbon of your choosing, though wired ribbon is easier to shape
  • decorative button
  • any other decorative elements you might want to incorporate on your wreath
  1. Begin by cutting your burlap into strips about 2-inches wide. Keep in mind, this will be a messy process. You will have threads and burlap dust everywhere. But since you're creating a rustic-looking wreath, you don't really want neat edges. There's no need to measure before cutting since the fabric will unravel in places.

  2. Plug in the hot glue gun; it's time to burn some fingers. Be warned, a little hot glue goes a long way. Since the burlap is an open weave, be careful of burning your fingers. You'll use your hot glue gun as you wrap the strips of burlap around your straw wreath. Start by hot gluing one end of a strip to your wreath on a slight diagonal. You'll use your glue gun each time you come to the end of a strip and need to add a new one. Keep in mind that you ideally want your strips to end on the backside of the wreath, so you may need to cut off some of the length of your strips to ensure that you'll be gluing on the back of your wreath. Before gluing a strip into place, wrap it to make sure the design looks as you want it to. Do you want more or less of the coffee bean graphic and text showing?

  3. Now that your wreath base is put together, you can begin to decorate. I wrapped this small wreath with ribbon following the diagonal of the burlap wrap. I also left ribbon on the back of the wreath so that I could create a loop to hang the wreath.

  4. There are a number of great tutorials on the web for creating decorative flowers, some of which I've listed below. I wanted to create a flower using the coffee bean burlap, but since I knew the fabric would likely ravel, I couldn't use a pattern that called for clean edges. So I created my own flower. I began with four 3x3 inch squares of fabric, and four 2x2 inch squares of fabric. I first folded each square into a triangle. Then, holding the folded edge, I took the outside tips of the triangle and folded them toward the top tip. I used doubled up quilting thread and used a few stitches to hold the folded triangles together, but you could also use hot glue. You'll repeat this for each of the squares of fabric, which should leave you with four large petals and four small ones
  5. To assemble the flower, you can either stitch or hot glue the large petals together at the center. If you stitch, as I did, double up your thread and cut an extra long piece. I used only one length of thread to assemble this flower, often leaving the needle sticking up through the center and stacking my parts onto the needle.

  6. After securing the four bottom petals together, you'll use ribbon to create the next layer. I simply looped in my ribbon so that it would peak through the open spaces between the large petals, folding it much like you would an awareness ribbon, with the printed side of the ribbon always facing up.

  7. Then repeat with the smaller petals. Once you have your layers together, secure them by stitching a button at the center of the flower. Then all you need to do is hot glue your flower to your wreath and you're done!

You'll find this tutorial linked at:
MakingThe Girl Creative Keeping It Simple

1 comment:

  1. In my quest for creative, environmentally-friendly gift wrap, I find myself returning to Green Eyed Monster's great list of ideas. Check it out at


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