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...)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.