Stenciled Burlap Table Cover & Sash



A new collection of licensed giftware arrived recently and I wanted to create a display for it it at Artisan Life & Style™. I had a nice antique table to hold the collection but the bare wood seemed inadequate. I created a table cover (it covers the full with of the table width no draping on the sides) along with a sash, which lies crosswise on the table making the display attractive from all sides. The burlap accessories are quick to make and provide an appealing backdrop without upstaging the featured items. The following tutorial provides the information you need to create accessories like these for yourself.


Materials
Sage Burlap  & Matching Thread
Measure your table and add the extra needed to determine the rough size*. Pad this number by at least six inches in both directions to compensate for fraying. The burlap that I have used measures 59"/60" wide. To create my items I started with two yards. I was able to work with this size because my table cover has a seam in the middle. After washing I cut, selvage-to-selvage, two pieces of the desired width joined them at the center then trimmed the ends to the desired length. I then cut the sash from the remaining fabric.Scissors3/4" Tape
Rebecca Baer® Stencils
   Arabesque Border-Large Stencil ST-302.L
   Arabesque Background-Large Stencil ST-301.L
RB Artiste™ Brush
   #2 Stenciler 500 series
Americana Paint
  Shale Green
   Neutral Grey
*The finished table cover measures 24" x 88" to cover the 24" x 60" tabletop with a 6" drop and 8" fringe at each end. To make a custom fit cover for your differently-sized table measure the top and add 28" to the length and 2" to the width.

The finished sash measures 14" x 52". To determine the length of your sash with the drop and fringe length shown, add 28" to the width of your table for a 6" drop and 8" fringe at each end of the sash. The width of the sash can be whatever you like.
Preparing the Burlap
New burlap is strong smelling and stiff so I opted to wash  mine before creating anything with it. Additionally, the sizing present in new fabrics inhibits paint adhesion and I wanted to stencil on the burlap.  Washing removes the sizing and significantly softens the burlap making it easier to work with.  Wash the burlap prior to cutting to size.  

There are a few things you should consider if you choose to wash your burlap. First, it is incredibly linty. Be sure and wash it alone and wipe out the inside of the washer when it is done. Second, it is a loose weave and will fray extensively. Be sure and allow extra for trimming to size. The frayed strings will tangle together and you will need scissors to cut these off. Alternatively, stay-stitch the perimeter of the burlap before washing to reduce fraying. Third, do not use any fabric softener. You can line-dry the burlap or use the dryer but it will leave a lot of lint in the dryer so be sure and clean it out. Iron the burlap. Do not use any starch or sizing when ironing. This process will make your burlap more user-friendly. I have found that a longer wash-cycle or multiple washings further soften the burlap.

Cutting the burlap straight
Burlap's loose weave makes it hard to cut straight leaving short strands that fray off the edge while you work.  The simple solution is to pull a single stand from the burlap to define your cutting line.  This creates a visible line along the straight grain of the fabric for you to cut.  I also use this method to mark the first fold-line for hemming.  Once you cut each of your burlap pieces to-size you will want to pull a thread 1/2" in from each of the long (non-fringed) sides to mark the first turn of the hem.  Do not turn, press or stitch until after the stenciling is completed.

Stenciling the Sash
Measure 8" from each end of the sash to allow for the fringe. Pull a thread from the sash to mark this. Stencil the sash, stopping at the pulled thread lines, using the Arabesque

Background-Large stencil (ST-301.L). To do this, Iron freezer paper to the back of the burlap to stabilize it. Place the burlap face down on the ironing board. Position a piece of freezer paper with the plastic-coated side down over the burlap. Iron on high using no steam to bond the paper to the burlap. Turn the burlap and paper face up. You can tape this to your work surface if desired to prevent shifting. Tape against the pulled thread line protecting the fringe area. One strip of 3/4" tape is fine to give you a nice crisp edge where the fringe will begin.

Position the stencil at one end of the burlap. Tape if desired to prevent shifting.

Combine Shale Green + Neutral Grey 1:1. Pick up the mixture on a #2 stenciler and wipe well on a clean, dry paper towel to remove excess paint then, swirl gently over the stencil. When the motif is complete reposition the stencil to continue the pattern. This stencil has a drop repeat so it will not match straight across. Use the irregular inner edge to align the motif. Continue to reposition the stencil the length and with of the sash ending at the masked pulled thread marking the start of the fringe at the opposite end of the burlap.

Stenciling the Table Cover
Measure in 8" from each end to allow for the fringe. Pull a thread from the burlap to mark this. Stencil the burlap cover using the Arabesque Border-Large stencil (ST-302.L). To do this, iron freezer paper to the back of the burlap to stabilize it. This only needs to cover an area slightly larger than the border that you will be creating. Place the burlap face down on the ironing board. Position a piece of freezer paper with the plastic-coated side down over the burlap. Iron on high using no steam to bond the paper to the burlap. Turn the burlap and paper face up. You can tape this to your work surface if desired to prevent shifting.

Tape against the pulled thread line this time protecting the cover area rather than the fringe. One strip of 3/4" tape will serve to provide a plain stripe against the fringe. Position a second strip of tape 4" from the first. The area between the tape id the total border area.

Position the stencil at one end of the border area. Tape if desired. Combine Shale Green + Neutral Grey 1:1. Pick up the mixture on a #2 stenciler and wipe well on a clean, dry paper towel to remove excess paint then swirl gently over the stencil. When the image is complete reposition the stencil to continue the pattern. The top and bottom of the border stencil have bump-outs that overlap the last scroll to continue the pattern in either direction. Repeat the border along the opposite end of the burlap.

Hemming
Fold the long sides over 1/2" and press. Then fold this over another 1/2" to enclose the raw edge.  Press and stitch with matching thread.  Do not hem past the pulled thread indicating the start of the fringe line.

Creating the Fringe
Remove the cross threads from the fringe area.  Although it may seem more expedient to pull several at a time, removing them one-by-one is much faster.  Stop when you reach the pulled thread at the 8" mark.  This will be obvious on the sash since the stenciling meets this line.  The table cover has a 3/4" strip between the fringe and the stenciling so you will have to watch you don't pass the thread line.

Fold the burlap in half to find the center and collect eight strands.  Tie these into a knot.  Work away from the center tying each group of eight strands in a knot.  As you approach the ends separate the last three groups to see what you have left and distribute the strands so you are not left with a noticeably larger or smaller group in the final knots.  


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