25 Sep

This Project’s In the Bag

Burlap Bag How To

Since they closed up shop on my local java haunt I’ve been scoping out other places in town to get my caffeine buzz. A couple of months ago I popped in to this little place a few miles away and knew it could easily become a favorite.

In fact, while Sonne was here we stopped in for brunch and they made a cameo on her ‘Do Tour footage.

I stopped in a few days ago and the owner, Jennifer, was up on a padded bench near the windows. She was talking to a lady (her mom) in a foot cast who was just about to join her on the very unstable bench. Foreseeing disaster, I hurried over to them, hopped up on the bench and said “What are we doing?!?” They laughed and said they were trying to get an idea of what it might look like to use some of their jute coffee bean bags as window dressings.

So, I safely modeled the bags while they ooh’d and ahh’d over the possibilities. One of the bags in their stash was too pretty to cut up so I told Jennifer I was going to take it and make something for her. I really didn’t give her any time to object. And this morning, sans coffee, I set to work. (Caution: Operating power tools prior to excessive doses of caffeine is dangerous and not recommended.)

I cut the bag in half (front/back) and sawed off the ends of my garage sale sign stakes (good thing the season’s over). A few rounds from the nail gun and I had a working frame.

DIY canvas frame

I cut some craft paper (also called contractor’s paper) to size and secured that to the frame for a backer and additional support. Since the bag was torn in a few spots, the brown paper helped mask those blemishes too.

Paper Backing

Then, I went to town pulling and stapling. I started at the top then the bottom finishing side to side. It’s always a good idea to pull on opposite sides as you go to get a taut fit around the frame. Don’t forget to check the underside as you work to make sure things are lining up correctly.

wrap fabric

When I was done, I trimmed off the excess fabric and flipped ‘er over. Annoyingly, the bag wasn’t stamped perfectly so I had to stifle my OCD and just roll with it. This is where being uncaffeinated worked in my favor. My give-a-damn wasn’t primed yet.

DIY Coffee Bean Bag Frame

Because Jennifer is a responsible restaurant owner, she was worried about the bags ‘shedding’. So, I took one final sweep of the vacuum over the front and back and then sealed it with clear spray enamel. That hardened up the fabric and kept the loose threads in place. To finish it off, I added two eye screws and tied some twine between them for hanging. Then I hopped in the car to deliver the piece.

She was so pleased with how it turned out that I got a super-sized iced vanilla latte out of the deal. Hey, that works for me! Now, next time you pop in to the Daily Dose you’ll see my bean bag on the wall.

11 thoughts on “This Project’s In the Bag

  1. I have the exact same burlap bag and will be trying this. Thanks for the post! I’m in total love with burlap coffee sacks and can’t wait to have some time to do these.

  2. If I wanted to expose the frame and place the bags behind them, would that work? Or would it not be as sturdy since I won’t be using the contractor’s paper or wrapping the bag around and behind the frame to get that snug fit?

    • So it sounds like you want to frame them as opposed to stretching over the frame much like a canvas. While it would work, I think over time the bags would start to sag. In that case I’d stretch them over 1/4″ mdf or hardboard, securing with staples to the back. Then fabricate the frame and place the bag-wrapped-board either inside (a slightly routered groove would be needed) the frame or affix directly to the framing boards for a shadow box effect. Since the hardboard is brown it will blend perfectly behind the bags.

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