What to Do With Burlap Rice Bags

What to Do With Burlap Rice Bags

Burlap bags are often dismissed as plain, boring sacks. At first glance, they seem nothing more than containers for rice, coffee beans, potatoes, and other vegetables. But did you know that this material can be used for an endless variety of purposes? From fashion to home decor, these seemingly unpromising rice bags are some of the most versatile fabrics you can use for a DIY project.

You may have a couple of them sitting around the house. If you’re not sure what to do with burlap rice bags, don’t throw them out just yet. Transform them into new, unique, and practical items. 

Burlap Bag DIY Ideas

Ready to start on your project? Don’t forget to consider how much time and effort you can set aside. Some concepts are more beginner-friendly than others, while some need you to challenge yourself a little.

You also have to consider the supplies you have at your disposal. Some of these require materials that might not be available to you. If you want your home project to be more fun than stressful, equip yourself with anything you might need during the creation process.

There are a multitude of ways to utilize your burlap rice sack. Here are a few ideas, divided into categories, to get your creative juices flowing.


You read that right—you can incorporate a sack into your fashion. You just need to tweak and add some details. Plus, burlap fabric has a neutral, caramel-tan color, so it can be mixed and matched with lots of styles. 

Tote Bag

A burlap shopping bag will be your best friend if you’re heading out to the market. Totes are functional, fashionable, and quick to make. However, they might require some sewing, especially if you’re starting from scratch. For a safe, medium-sized tote, make a 12 in (30 cm) x 14 in (36 cm) body. 

You will need to make the handles yourself. You can either use extra burlap or another kind of textile. Cut them into long, rectangular strips, then fold them even thinner. Sew each end of the strip on either side of the bag.

A burlap tote is one of your best choices if you’re purchasing plants, fruits, and vegetables. After all, burlap bags are usually made for that purpose. The fabric is popular for its breathability and openness to light, making it ideal for keeping food fresh.


Aprons are among the easiest items to sew from scratch. In fact, you can make one in minutes if you’re already a pro at sewing. Prepare everything you need to make an apron: at least a yard of burlap fabric, scissors, tape measure, and of course, your sewing kit and machine. Then, sew the burlap as you would into an apron.

Hair Accessories and Jewelry

Intricate but fun, accessories are among the best DIY projects. You don’t need a lot of material. Plus, there’s a lot of room for error and creative experimentation, which makes it ideal for beginners. These make adorable and personalized gifts. You can turn them into barrettes, headbands, brooches, or even necklaces.

Fold your burlap fabric into a design of your choice. Flowers and bows are great design options, and you can find tons of inspiration and easy-to-follow tutorials online. Once you’re satisfied with your design, sew it onto your supporting material (such as a hairpin, if you’re making a hair accessory). You can also use a glue gun as an alternative.

Home Decor

Burlap gives a rustic, cozy look to any room’s atmosphere. That’s why they make great choices for house decorations. Repurpose your burlap coffee bags into these home pick-me-uppers. 


Straightforward, fast, and needs very minimal materials—this is the ultimate go-to DIY project. You’re all set with your burlap fabric and a couple of sewing tools. Make sure to cut your burlap at least two inches bigger than the measurements of your pillow, so that you can easily sew it shut.


Give your dining chairs a makeover with a few pieces of burlap. You don’t even need to sew them—you just need a staple gun and staple remover. 

Measure your chair foam first so you can gauge the amount of fabric you need. Once you’re able to get ahold of it, remove the upholstery and staple the burlap in place. Smooth it out and staple the corners thoroughly to avoid dealing with a loose, flimsy surface.

Table Runners

The texture of burlap is so unique, and it makes beautiful accent decorations. A table runner is a good example of this, which is customizable from length to design. It’s versatile enough that you can even go for a no-sew option—and make it look great through a fringe trim. For a stronger visual impact, paint it in hues that complement your room.


Want a soft, warm glow in your room? A burlap lampshade is the perfect project. Use a plain white lampshade for best results. Then, as easy as pie, stick an adhesive on your burlap fabric and wrap it around your lampshade. Just make sure you’ve gauged the measurements accurately, so that your new bedroom accessory won’t look tacky.


Curtains are a bit more complex than most DIY burlap projects, but they would catch anyone’s eye. Burlap curtains can add a cozy, cafe-like vibe to a place, so they’re probably best for the kitchen. But the beauty of these is that they still keep the balance in the room—its beige, neutral color will not be obnoxious to look at.


If all else fails, turn your burlap rice bag into an artist’s canvas. Prepare your art supplies—stencils, adhesives, fabric paint, paintbrush, and just about anything else you can use. This is the perfect time to go crazy with creativity. Looking for inspiration online won’t hurt, but make sure that you’re adding your own flair to your painting. Don’t forget to look for the perfect frame to display it in.

Party Favor Bags

There’s no need to spend money on party favor bags when you’re planning a party. Before going out to buy gift bags for your guests, consider making your own through more available materials. Chances are, you’ve got a ton of unused burlap sacks—which you can use to craft for special occasions.

All you need are a couple of yards of burlap (depending on how many you’re making), sewing tools, art decorations, and ribbons or twine. Cut your fabric into your desired bag size. You’ll need two pieces of the same size to sew together. When you get to the stitching, leave at least an inch or two to make sure your bags are as durable as possible. Remember to leave one side unstitched for the opening.

After the sewing process, turn them inside-out and flatten with an iron. You can now decorate and personalize your bags. Feel free to add details and last-minute touches: a drawstring, a tote handle, or whatever fits your fancy.

Not sure what to give away? Your rice sack-turned-favor bag is perfect for holding the following:

  • Candy and other sweet treats
  • Coffee beans 
  • Tea
  • Accessories
  • Plants and flowers
  • Potpourri
  • Liquor bottles

Why Burlap is One of the Best Materials to Work With

Are you intrigued by burlap yet? This planet-friendly material is resilient, versatile, and durable. The fabric is sourced from the natural “golden” fibers of the beloved jute plant. It is often used as sacks for different items, such as construction materials and fresh produce like potatoes and coffee beans.

But aside from being used for storage bags and gardening tools, burlap can be used in fashion, interior design, and more. This surprisingly versatile material is very durable and can withstand lots of external factors. And perhaps best of all—you don’t need to worry about the price. Burlap is affordable, cost-efficient, and reusable. There’s no question here that you’re getting your money’s worth.

Now that you’ve got ideas on how to use burlap bags, it’s the perfect time to get your hands busy. Utilize your old rice sacks and stock up on more fabric—in case you end up enjoying the craft as a pastime. Start your DIY project with prime burlap from Standish Milling.