How to Attach Burlap to Walls

by Michelle Powell-Smith

Burlap can give your walls a textured and rustic look, reminiscent of coffee roasting or the garden. Burlap is available as yardage and in recycled burlap bags, often used to transport coffee or cocoa beans. There are several different ways to attach burlap to walls, depending upon the type of burlap you're using, your wall surface and whether you prefer a permanent or temporary installation.

Preparing the Burlap

Whether you are using recycled or new burlap, you may find that it has an odor. Burlap often doesn't tolerate washing, either by hand or machine. Place the burlap outside in the sun to air out, laying it flat or hanging it. Shake out recycled burlap sacks thoroughly before airing them out. You can also opt to buy sanitized burlap, with the odor chemically removed, from some suppliers.

Tack or Staple Sacks

If you're using burlap sacks on your walls, you may staple or tack the sacks to the wall. Use double-sided tape to arrange the sacks on the walls as desired. Secure with tacks or staples, fastening the top and pulling it firmly before securing the bottom. You may overlap sacks if you prefer or align the edges against one another.

Stapling Yardage

Using finish nails, secure narrow trim or 1-inch by 2-inch boards at the top and bottom of each wall. Cut burlap panels to fit the wall length, plus 2 inches. Fold the top edge under 1 inch and staple to the upper trim. Pull taut, tuck the bottom edge under by 1 inch and staple the bottom. Cover the edges with trim molding or ribbon if desired.

Liquid Starch

If you rent or would like your burlap covering to be totally temporary, adhere it to the walls with liquid starch. Use a paint roller to apply liquid starch to a small section of the wall and place the burlap yardage on the wall, smoothing it as you go. Allow an additional inch at top, bottom and sides to account for shrinkage as it dries. Use thumbtacks or push pins to hold in place temporarily as the starch dries. Using the same paint roller, apply starch over the burlap fabric. Allow the fabric to dry completely on the wall and trim using a box knife.

About the Author

Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing on a variety of subjects from finance to crafts since 2004. Her work appears on various websites. She holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, which has provided strong research skills and a varied range of interests.

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