On the last project I posted, Mantle Clock Makeover, I redesigned the face of the clock and printed it on burlap. Here is a picture of it below:



I had several people ask me how the heck I did that so I thought I would put together this little tutorial to show you!


First of all I am using a regular inkjet printer. I currently have an Epson Artisan 810 all-in-one where the paper feeds up from a little tray on the bottom. My old (and more simple) printer is an Epson CX8400 where the paper stands up and feeds directly down from the back. If you have a choice on which one to try this technique out on, use the simple one. Not to say it will print better, but having printed burlap on both types of printers, I had fewer feed issues with the more simple paper feeding method. But, I did get my fancy new printer to work just fine after I figure out just how it wanted me to place the fabric in the little paper tray, so it can be done. If you have a laser printer, I can’t guarantee you won’t break it trying to do this, so continue at your own risk!


Ok, so before you stuff some burlap in your printer you are going to need a stabilizer to attach it to. For demonstration/experimental purposes I have decided to try out 4 different iron-on stabilizers – 1) Heat-n-Bond Ultra Hold, 2) Heat-n-Bond Lite, 3) Pellon 805 Wonder-Under, and 4) Reynold’s brand freezer paper. FYI – this was my first time using freezer paper for this but I thought I would give it a whirl since I know some people love it and I happened to have some on hand.


To get started, cut your stabilizer into sheets of 8.5″ x 11″. The better the cut, the better it will feed!


Now, iron out your burlap and keep it in one large piece for now. Steam and a little spray of water will help get out the wrinkles.



Then iron on the stabilizer to your burlap. I like to do it pretty close to the edges so I don’t waste fabric. Do pay attention to the grains of the burlap when you place your stabilizer on so that it doesn’t look all crooked. And turn the steam off for this…it will bond better!



You can see that I ironed on multiple pieces of stabilizers on one piece of burlap and left a teeny space in between. Now trim the burlap+stabilizer to the 8.5″ x 11″ size of the stabilizer. If you like this technique and plan on doing it a bunch, it is worth investing $15-$20 in a ruler like mine (an OmniGrid 8.5″ x 24″), because it makes the job go much faster.



So I have all my 4 stabilizers ready to go:



Before you insert it into the printer, make sure you understand which way you have to put in the paper in order to print on the burlap side. Now go and print that burlap! I chose a simple J to show you here.



After printing, here are the results of my experiment with different stabilizers (they are still attached to the burlap):




As you can see, the print quality is the same. Also, I didn’t notice any differences in how they fed into the machine either. Now I peeled off the stabilizers. The first three peeled off easily but the freezer paper (shown below) took a little pulling and kept some of the burlap fibers.



And some of the edges did start to unravel a bit once I pulled it all the way off.



Here are the pieces of burlap (from the back) after I took off the stabilizer:



Now side by side you can see the differences in adhesives that the stabilizers leave on the back of the burlap (#1-4 from left to right). The Heat-n-Bond Ultrahold leaves the heaviest adhesive and the freezer paper leaves nothing behind.



So which stabilizer should you use? Well, it depends on the application. If you want to iron fabric onto the back of it (since you can see through burlap!), the Heat-n-Bond Ultrahold will do the best, but you will be able to see a little bit of the shiny adhesive underneath the burlap. The good thing about the Ultrahold is that it doesn’t need to be reinforced with stitching (I use it for appliques all the time) so you can iron it onto all kinds of things. If you don’t want to attach the burlap to anything, this stabilizer will definitely be the most sturdy.



Most of the time when I print on burlap, I use the Heat-n-Bond Lite because I feel like it holds the burlap together well but you don’t really see the adhesive from the top. It will also stay on fabric pretty well if you iron it on. If you have never used them, the difference between the Ultrahold and the Lite is that the Ultrahold doesn’t need to be reinforced with stitching to permanently hold but the Lite does, especially if you are using them for appliques.


If you want to see no adhesive at all but you still want it to hold together a bit, then the Pellon Wonder-Under will do just fine. You can attach the Pellon to fabric but it won’t hold quite as well as the Heat-n-bond stabilizers. If you don’t care about it holding together at all or you don’t want to iron it onto anything, then use the freezer paper. If anything, I would personally use at least the Wonder-Under.


Looking at color, obviously some colors will print better depending on the color of burlap you use. Below I printed on the medium brown burlap (left), plain white cardstock for reference (middle), and the light straw-colored burlap (right). So if you want to see color better, I would use the straw-colored burlap to print on. But if you just want to print black or dark brown, I think the darker burlap looks better. Note – I didn’t peel off the paper here.




Also, pay attention to the thickness of the lines on your images. The thicker lines and fonts show up much better. An image with a ton of detailed lines may not print as well since burlap has such a large weave. And remember, whatever you print out is not water proof since you are using an inkjet printer! When I was making my clock face, I went a little crazy with the steam and it washed away some of the ink! I had to use a brown sharpie and go over all of it and make it look even again. The sharpie actually looked pretty good and made the image much darker…so that is an option if you want to go for a more defined look. If you do want to seal it, I have found that the archival sealers from the art store work pretty well, but spray them on lightly! Don’t use clear spray paint, it is too thick and will clump on the burlap…ask me how I know. If you are doing a craft and want to glue the burlap to something, then I am sure Mod Podge or something heavier will work fine. Play around with it and see what you like!


By the way, you can print on all types of fabric like this. I like to print on linen sometimes too, but burlap is definitely my favorite because it has a little more character. I didn’t want all my hard work to go to waste so I trimmed up one of my burlap J’s to 8″ x 10″ and stuck it in a frame on my desk. For an even larger picture, you can use an 11″ x 14″  frame and with a mat that has an 8″x10″ opening. What an awesome customized gift you could make for someone special!



***UPDATE*** – Contact-type adhesive papers works too! I can’t believe that I omitted an entire adhesive group! After a comment below, I tried it out to be sure. I used white Duck brand adhesive paper and it worked great and the burlap peeled right off. I think this type of paper is probably better for not damaging the burlap than the wax paper if you don’t want a permanent backing. I also tried some clear Contact brand adhesive paper but I couldn’t get my printer to print on it. It fed through but wouldn’t print. Weird…may just be my printer. Try it out for yourself though!


I hope this helps! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at jamie (at) sewrockin (dot) com. Now go out and make something! :)


Until later, happy crafting!

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66 Responses to “HOW TO PRINT ON BURLAP”

  1. Marjie says:

    Can anyone tell me if the reference to White Duck adhesive paper that Jamie made meant the shelf paper rolls? Thanks for any clarification anyone can offer :-)
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  5. a says:

    Fastidious response in return of this issue with real arguments
    and explaining all about that.

  6. Benny says:

    Where do you all find your burlap? All i can find is the loose threaded burlap and from the photos is looks like a very clean tight wooven burlap.

  7. Brandy says:

    This is very awesome, Thank you so much for going ABOVE and beyond to show us the difference in each product and providing detailed pictures as well as very helpful information.
    Thank you so much!

  8. Alicia says:

    Hi Jamie – thanks for ALL the great details and info on this tutorial! Nice of you to provide it – burlap is so popular right now and this can really help.

  9. Kalani says:

    This is VERY helpful! Thank you for all the great information and photos…well done!!

  10. [...] first thought was, how do I print on burlap? Well, no worries, I found a great tutorial. Now, I have to admit, I was a bit lazy, so I just stuck an 8 ½ by 11 inch cut of burlap in my [...]

  11. [...] I pulled together the necessary materials; burlap, freezer paper, iron, ironing board, my laptop, printer, and the link [...]

  12. Megan says:

    Hi. I’m going to have a go at printing my own wedding invitations. Thanks so much for this!! I have a question though, what is freezer paper??

  13. [...] on freezer paper (which I’ve had this same box for years!).  It was very helpful…here’s the link.  The burlap kept jamming in my printer that feeds from the bottom…I never did get it to [...]

  14. Jill says:

    An easier and less costly/messy way to print on burlap or any other fabric is by using large shipping labels that have adhesive backings. The large 8-1/2″ x 11″ label acts as the carrier for the fabric to be inserted into an inkjet printer.

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  16. Lori says:

    Has anyone print a photo like of dogs or people?

  17. E. Frum says:

    Oh Jamie,
    Thank you for doing all this. Found it on a pin an had to pin it for myself. This will be good for any material and I,m thinking good to print patterns on then paint with fabric paint.

  18. Stephanie says:

    It’s really cute to print college logos or school mascots on burlap and frame them!

  19. Elizabeth says:

    GREAT tutorial – so much helpful information! I especially liked the way you documented the different choices and then the different effects achieved. Inspired me to try this today. Thanks!

  20. christy says:

    what font did you use for the “J”?

  21. karen says:

    Just tried to run it through my printer and it works..lovely… how about it gets ironed on the reverse? will it stabilize the color?

  22. Sonja says:

    Do you recommend a particular sealer to use? Thanks so much. Lovely tutorial….

  23. [...] found this tutorial and was really keen to give this a [...]

  24. missy says:

    Hi, I enjoyed your post, thanks for sharing. I have been trying to print on burlap and am having feed issues. You mentioned that you have an epson 810 I have an epson 710 and can’t figure out exactly how to put it in so it will feed properly. Would you mind sharing that tip.
    Thanks so much

  25. Missy says:

    Hi, I enjoyed your tutorial. I found it because I recently began printing on burlap and fabric for my store and am having major feed issues. I am going a little crazy!!! I have an Epson 710. You mentioned the way your printer wanted you to put it in the tray. Would you mind sharing this little tip before I go completely bananas. :) Thanks so much

  26. Cody says:

    thanks for the info :) I ended up using label sheets because they were readily available in my house, and they got the job done.

  27. [...] You can see that I ironed on multiple pieces of stabilizers on one piece of burlap and left a teeny space in between. HOW TO PRINT ON BURLAP » Sew Rockin' [...]

  28. [...] The one that inspired my burlap search here [...]

  29. patty says:

    this did not work for me :( I used Reynolds freezer paper plastic coated. The iron on its hottest setting did not bond the paper (shiny side to burlap) to the burlap. So then I taped it around the edges to the paper and it jammed my husbands printer… yikes. Under panic and pressure I got every little string and bit of paper out. I still want to do this. i was going to do the meaning of my kids’ names. I was using an HP deskjet bottom load paper printer. any advice? thanks!

    • Jenna Halliday says:

      For my projects I use sticker paper by a company called Avery. This seems to adhere to the fabric really well. This paper is normally used to make stickers for canning, scrap booking, etc, but it works great for this as well. I would think that label paper would work the same way, as it is the same type of system with paper on one side, and an adhesive strip on the back.

    • Jamie says:

      Make sure your iron is hot enough…the freezer paper should iron right on.

  30. Jill G. says:

    Great tutorial and project. No way to do this with a laser printer??? :o/

    • Jamie says:

      The printer should should be able to print on fabric fine but I would be cautious before just throwing some burlap up in it because those printers are more complicated (and way more expensive) and I wouldn’t want to damage the printer. There are some tiny burlap hairs that come off of it and with an inkjet it is really easy to clean…I can’t say for sure about a laster printer. I just don’t want anyone else to break their printer because I said to do something! So do it at your own risk :)

      If I was going to attempt it, I would try a regular cotton fabric before I tried burlap though.

  31. Keri says:

    What an excellent tutorial. You covered all the bases. Thanks for all the work you did and sharing it with us!

  32. Cathy says:

    Thanks for the response! If I ever get around to it, I’ll let you know how it goes! :)

  33. Cathy says:

    This is fantastic! I can’t wait to try it! However, I am wondering how the print holds up if it is washed. I might try to make pillows as gifts but I would hate for them to be ruined if my recipients ever need to wash them.

    • Jamie says:

      You definitely have to seal the ink because it will wash out from an inkjet. I am not sure what product would be best for a pillow that wouldn’t make the fabric all stiff. I will try to work on it more and see what I come up with. I did use a sharpie to darken my images more. You can use a paint pen too.. That might help keep it on for longer.

      • Jenna says:

        I haven’t tried it yet, but the other blogs that I’ve read recommend this stuff called Bubble Jet Set, I think you can get it on and other websites as well. It says on the website that it’s not supposed to affect the quality of the fabric, so it might be worth giving a try, let me know if you use it if you like it.

      • Gayle says:

        My understanding that the reason printing on fabric doesn’t work in a laser printer is because of the heat. You could start a fire. For making fabric washable after printing I use Bubble Jet Set 2000. I soak the fabric, let it dry, iron on the backing, print it, let it dry for 30 min then hand wash. Works like a dream. I have an HP with the paper tray on the bottom and it has been hit and miss as far as the feeding is concerned. When it feeds correctly it is great. My husband has an Epson with a small tray on the top. I’m going to try that next.

  34. SassyKay says:

    Great tutorial! I love that you performed all the comparisons so we could see the results of each. Gotta get busy with my printer now and try this out.

    • Jean says:

      Thank you for sharing these tips! I wish your advice on backings/adhesives was around a few years ago. It would have saved me some time on a quilt I did. I printed themed photos onto fabric to make a special quilt for a friend. I worked the photos into the quilt and it was stunning. It matched her living room decor and was one of the most personalized gifts I’ve ever given to someone. Printing on fabric (burlap or cottons) can make for amazing personalized gifts for your friends and loved ones. The tips are sure to save time for your readers. I know I appreciated them.

  35. Robin grover says:

    great tutorial! I am interested in the iron you use?? can you share with me which one you find the best.
    I need a new one.

  36. Shelly says:

    Oh thank you so much for the tute, and all of the testing!! Go are awesome! Gotta run back outside now and finish putting up the Christmas lights -but I just had to say something!

  37. Maria Matter says:

    this is such a cool idea, I can’t wait to try it now! Thank you for sharing all the tips!!

    I host a weekly linky party, would love you to share this…I can imagine some great Christmas gifts being made! :)

  38. Helen says:

    Thank you for a great tutorial.

  39. I am a burlap nut and this tutorial is fabulous. Im giving this one a try. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Nancy says:

    Wonderfully written Tutorial!! I have been wanting to try & experiment with Printing on Burlap for a while now, I can’t wait to try now!! No more procrastination!

    Have a Wonderful Holiday!!

  41. Jenna says:

    Another method that I find works great and doesn’t cost a whole lot of money is to use Sticker Project Paper, it is white on one side, and sticky on the other side. Peel the backing off, cut your fabric a little bigger than you need, stick the paper to the fabric, then trim it to fit your average 8 1/2 by 11 paper. It doesn’t leave any residue when you peel it off, and the paper makes it slide through the printer nice and even.

  42. Wag Doll says:

    Thats for much for this detailed tutorial, it’s an amazing technique!

  43. Carol says:

    Great info, Jamie! Thank you! I will definitely try this technique.

  44. [...] Here’s a cool tutorial showing how to use your ink jet printer to print designs directly on burlap. Jamie of Sew Rockin’ was kind enough to send this link my way. Check it out — HOW TO PRINT ON BURLAP » Sew Rockin. [...]

  45. Jennifer says:

    Wow, what an inspired idea! I had no clue you could print onto burlap. Thank you for your easy how-to guide, I want to try this some day.

    Found you via link party. :)

  46. Joy P says:

    Thank you for such a thorough demonstation on how to print on burlap. I am going to bookmark this post for future reference. Excellent.
    - Joy

  47. this is great information. i’ve been wanting to do a burlap banner and this might be the best way to tackle it. thanks!

  48. Linda@Coastal Charm says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this with me…I will need t give it a try…I have saved it as a fav!!!


  49. Thank you! I have never tried it, but I will give it a try now, appreciate all of the details!


  50. This is a fantastic tutorial. If you have a moment, I would be thrilled if you shared this on my Inspiration Board {link party}. I know my readers would love it.
    carolyn – homework

  51. This is awesome! I am pinning this with your link :)

  52. Jill says:

    Thanks so much for putting together this detailed tutorial!! You answered questions that I didn’t even know I would have :) Now I feel very comfortable that this is a project I can do.

  53. Vicki says:

    Amazing! I would have thought that the burlap fibers would get stuck in the printer.

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