What to do with burlap bags? - Homesteading Today
Homesteading Today

Go Back   Homesteading Today > General Homesteading Forums > Homesteading Questions

LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old 04/28/06, 08:04 PM
buspete's Avatar  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 456
What to do with burlap bags?

My wife got some burlap bags from freecycle. I had planned on using a few of them to camoflage modern conviniences at living history events, but she hit the mother lode of burlap bags and came home with hundreds of them.

They are large sized, coffee beans come shipped in them and each one holds 150lbs of beans. (as a joke, I think I need to make her a dress out of some of them...)

What are some creative uses for big burlap bags?

Reply With Quote
Old 04/28/06, 08:14 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,333

I used to work for an interior design place. We did curtains for a huge two story log house out of burlap bags. Funny thing is the burlap smelled bad. Can't remember what the writing was on them, but actualy look pretty good after they were made into curtains.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/28/06, 08:49 PM
MoonShine's Avatar
Fire On The Mountain
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1,452

My Dad told me I should make myself a dress out of a burlap sack the other day. He was kidding but I thought about it and I asked my grandma how to do it and she didn't know. I'd like to make one,just for the sake of making one. I doubt I would wear one after those stinky,moldy seed potatoes were in it

Anyways,over on the garden forum,I asked about planting carrots and somone said that you could use burlap strips to cover the rows(so the ground doesn't harden on top of the carrot seedlings. If I had more burlap,I would use it for that. Don't know if you plant carrots or not,though.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/28/06, 08:56 PM
beorning's Avatar  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 606

they make for pretty durable mulching material. I've used them on paths around the garden. Under wood chips.

I knew someone that used them like wallpaper. It actually looked pretty good when he was done.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/28/06, 09:03 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 177

use as a base for hooked rugs. back in the 60's we'd buy laundry starch and stick them to a wall to make a wall covering. Maybe you could use wallpaper paste now? Hides all kinds of flaws in the walls. I'll bet you could even paint them,never tried that tho.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/28/06, 09:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: west virginia
Posts: 710

They are great for adding rocks to and sinking them in a pond and pulling around the pond. To areate the pond.

Also many pong chemicals suggest putting the chemical in a burlap bag to distribute the chimical evenly in a pond.

save them. they are hard to find now a days


Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away

WVPEACH (paula)

Reply With Quote
Old 04/28/06, 09:33 PM
big rockpile's Avatar
If I need a Shelter
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Ozarks
Posts: 16,389

Use them to put Game,Fish,and Frogs in.

Wish I had a bunch.

big rockpile


I love being married.Its so great to find that one person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

If I need a Shelter
If I need a Friend
I go to the Rock!

Reply With Quote
Old 04/28/06, 11:56 PM
wilderness1989's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Effingham, Illinois 5b
Posts: 660

Nail a couple on the ends of broom sticks to fight grass/leaf fires with. My woods was set on fire and the fire department used them soaked in water to put the fire out. I was surprised how well it worked. The fire wasn't really flaming high but they drug the bags along the edge of the fire and it went out. Never saw them re-wet the bags I guess the heavy wet bag just smothered the fire. Anyway they put out the rather wide spread fire out in short order.


I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/29/06, 02:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3,510

wilderness is right on about the firefighting aspect. I keep a bunch around for that purpose. Also for setting up firebreaks for when I'm burning my prairie grass or a ditch. Do an excellent job. I just soak them and lay them on the ground usually and maybe keep a couple for "beating" duty since I usually have a spray tank there for any stray flare ups.

I also use them to make torches. I staple one end to a thick wooden handle, and wrap it around and around until I get a good sized chunk of burlap on the end and then secure it with screws to the pole or handle and then also wrap it with heavy wire making sure to get it tight and as secure as possible (hence the screws). Then soak the burlap end in kerosene or diesel or whatever you happen to have around. Makes a dandy torch. A few dozen of them lining your driveway or around your backward really looks impressive. A bunch of them wielded by you and your closest friends in the dead of night is sure to make and impression and influence people.

All sorts of uses for burlap bags and every homestead should have a few dozen. Getting harder to find too from what I'm told. I haven't looked around for any in a while.


Respect The Cactus!

Reply With Quote
Old 04/29/06, 03:12 AM
susieM's Avatar  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: France
Posts: 4,117

I prefer to make Christmas stockings, than the 'dead of night torches with close friends' thing.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/29/06, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 618

Do you like to fish"" Take a few cans of the cheapest, canned catfood,,, punch a good many holes in each can,,, put in bag,,, tie top together with a long rope,, ,,drop in lake/deep hole in river, with a float of some kind to mark the spot, & be able to retrieve the bag, later. Come back hours later & fish around the bag , on the bottom. Catfish for dinner !! The more you reuse same bag, the better the fishing gets,,, & of course the worse the bag smells, WEAR rubber gloves. & keep the baited bag in a 5 gallon bucket on the boat.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/29/06, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 488

If you buy feed or grain you can use your own sacks and buy bulk grain. Should save a little on each load. They can also be sold to feed stores.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/29/06, 07:58 AM
Cornhusker's Avatar
Unapologetically me
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 11,660

I wish I could find burlap sacks.
When we were kids, we raised potatoes for spending money and we sold a hundred pounds in a gunny sack or burlap bag.If I had some sacks, I'd raise potatoes.


Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

Enforced tolerance is oppression


Reply With Quote
Old 04/29/06, 08:18 AM
BetsyK in Mich's Avatar
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 816

Have a bee keeper friend who uses the burlap in his smoker. Real burlap bags are getting scares, haven't seen one around here in years now they are all made of plastic. I'd hang on to them or you could put a few on the barter board, sounds like there is real interest in them.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/30/06, 12:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 169

If you are survivalist/preparers..

Cut some of the bags open, then stitch a bunch of them together. This would make great tarps, for camoflauge(not rainproofing). Also good camoflauge for hunting.


Harvesting is not just what you bring from the ground, but what you bring from inside you!

Reply With Quote
Old 04/30/06, 04:47 AM
DW DW is offline
plains of Colorado
Join Date: May 2002
Location: plains of Colorado
Posts: 3,667
burlap bags

You bunch them around a large metal ring and tie it on the ring...makes a neat wreath for the outside. I agree that they smell. Know of anyone that's having a 3-legged race? This is what they used to use.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/30/06, 08:11 AM
Don't Tase me, bro!?!
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: GA
Posts: 1,358

Make strawberry bags. Hanging bags full of peat to grow strawberries. Fill them full of peat and at the top make a little dug-out area where you can pour some hydroponics solution or natural fertilizer (dung water). Then take a sharp knife and slice little slices in the side for your plants, just big enough for the roots to go in. You can pour the fertilizer in the top by hand or you can get a cheap pond pump (here) and feed them from a bucket full of solution. You can hook it to one of those cheap timers.

You can also grow mushrooms on burlap bags if you have a root celler or basement.



Reply With Quote
Old 04/30/06, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: NC
Posts: 6,242

Are you a beekeeper or do you know one? If you have some that are less than desirable, cut them into strips and use as smoker fuel...Dampen it slightly and it works wonderfully.....

Reply With Quote
Old 04/30/06, 02:41 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 7,154

If they are not stenciled you need to make a stencile and spray paint some really homey name on them. Then try selling about 5 of them on e-bay. If it pays off keep it up.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/30/06, 04:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: wisconsin
Posts: 3,668

i would make grocery bags out of them

Reply With Quote
Old 04/30/06, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: South, South Alabama
Posts: 1,991

Very carefully pack them in a box...tape up...address to me...and SEND THEM. That's what you do with them... :baby04:


If you plan on breeding so your family can see The Miracle of Birth, Please take them to the shelters so they can also see The Tragedy of Death.

Reply With Quote
Old 04/30/06, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 145

Drench them with diesel fuel and let your cows use them as rubs. Send me your left over bags! Dan

Reply With Quote
Old 05/08/06, 10:57 AM
auntieemu's Avatar  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 172

Join this group:


Create a photo album named Bag Man. Put shots of the bags, especially the ones with printing on them, in the album.

Send out an ad once a week announcing that you have burlap bags measuring x by x suitable for crafts or decorator items. Price them cheap to move them out and include the cost of the large manila envelope and postage for continental US in the price. The ones with printing should be a little more expensive than the plain ones.

I used to know a lady that made what at first glance appeared to be paper mache angel tree toppers. Turned out she was using burlap and lace, spraying it all gold.


"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." (Anais Nin)

Reply With Quote
Old 05/08/06, 11:15 AM
Lynne's Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,775

Manure Tea Bags!
Way back when, we use to use them for dusting plants.

Reply With Quote
Old 05/08/06, 11:19 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,261

I saw a burlap bag that had stenciled on one side Product of Columbia and below it was a 5 leaf plant picture. With a few mice holes is was for sale at $100 OBO


If they can do it,
you know you can!

Reply With Quote
Old 05/08/06, 11:29 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: colorado
Posts: 4,379
Originally Posted by agmantoo
I saw a burlap bag that had stenciled on one side Product of Columbia and below it was a 5 leaf plant picture. With a few mice holes is was for sale at $100 OBO

We used to wet them down and wrap them around whole hogs to be cooked underground. They really add moisture to the meat. Nowdays I just use foil.

Also.......when we were young, before airconditioning, we tacked burlap sacks to windows and wet them down. It cooled the breeze coming into the house.
Reply With Quote
Old 05/08/06, 12:22 PM
Auric's Avatar
Registered Doofus
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 362
Originally Posted by Quint
A bunch of them wielded by you and your closest friends in the dead of night is sure to make and impression and influence people.
This seems like a sure-fire way to get shot, or at least arrested...

veni, vidi, volgavi

Reply With Quote
Old 05/08/06, 04:14 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Oregon
Posts: 2,097
If you have horses or know people who do...or sell to people who do...these burlap sacks make great horse blankets for keeping the sun off.

The lady we bought our Arab Stallion from made all of her horse blankets from her feed bags. She was about 4'9" tall and quite elderly. It was very interesting and after a good washing in a commercial machine she sewed them together so that one whole bag with the bottom cut out went for the neck area...the bottom of this bag was sewn onto others placed crossways and the whole thing, using about six bags fit very nicely on the horse.

You had to bunch all of it up and slip the whole thing over the horses heads and necks and work it down and unwrinkle zan unroll it as you went until finally the whole shebang was in place on the horse. She put these on all of her show horses to keep them from fading in the sun.

You can bet that everyone one of those high spirited horses.... mares, geldings and stallions alike were all as good as good be with handling their heads and their bodies and working with them. Very patient! LOL It would tickle me how you could just give a light tug on a forelock and they'd lower their heads to get those burlap blankets put on. ROFL They wore like iron and never came off unless you were ready to remove them.

Forgot all about that until I read this post! I think you should make some horse blankets and head back for EBAY!


" Live in the Sunshine,
Swim the Sea,
Drink the Wild Air"

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing." D. Duck

Reply With Quote
Old 06/29/06, 05:40 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Evergreen, CO
Posts: 1,187
Any new ideas?

Anyone have any new ideas?

I have a source that gets rid of 500 of these big burlap bags everyweek. unroasted coffee beans came in them. Most of them have been cut at the top, but some are whole, and even the cut ones are still very large if one would trim the top.

Some of them have really nice designs printed on them, some are just boring.

Reply With Quote
Old 06/29/06, 05:49 PM
moonwolf's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 6,674

two things I've done with burlap bags is
-when burning a field of grass, carry a bucke of water and keep a doused burlap bag to beat down unwanted flames. Keep it wet for that purpose and it works well.

-if you raise turkeys to slaughter. poke a hole in one corner of the bag and put the turkey's head through that. Wrap baling twine about the turkey in the bag and tie it's feet. On the chopping block when the head is removed the bird won't thrash around brusing it's wings as they are contained in the bag to prevent flapping damage.


The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.

Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:36 PM.