Very serviceable and attractive articles can be made from gunny sacks that have washed. They may also be dyed in any color, oranges and browns are especially good, however. Monks cloth and burlap may, in many cases, be supplanted by the humble gunny sack.

Drawn Work and Embroidery- Pillows, Curtains, Rugs, Shopping Bags, Pocket Books, Book Jackets, Door Stops and Bean Bags

Drawn work is done by pulling out two or more threads of the gunny sack, tying the thread to be pulled through to the next thread in the sack and pulling it through the material. Light silk stockings dyed and cut into narrow strips, rag strips, old yarn, string, and raffia may be drawn into the sacking. String, yarn or raffia is best for pocket books and book jackets. Pocket books may be lined with flour sacks, dyed or decorated with crayon. Book jackets, pocket books and door stops are constructed as shown on page 77. Bricks are used for the inside of the doorstops and they may be covered with paper, oilcloth or other cloth. All of these articles may also be embroidered with any of these materials, this is done by making large stitches on the right side of the piece to form the desired design pattern as shown on page 77. Suitable for middle and upper grades.

A raffia embroidered book jacket

A raffia embroidered book jacket and a shopping bag with strips of rag drawn in it. Both of gunny tack.

decorate gunny sack

Three ways to decorate gunny sack with string, yarn or raffia, Construction of a book jacket, doorstop and pocket-book made of gunny sack.


Draw the design, including all lettering, on a piece of wrapping paper. In cross stitching the sampler, the design is used as a guide or it may be drawn on the burlap with a soft pencil. To cross stitch use yarn, string or raffia. Cross over two threads of the design or do it in outline. Pillows, hangings, book jackets and all the things mentioned above may be decorated with cross stitch. Suitable for middle or upper grades.

Gunny Sack Weaving

Use ordinary string for stringing up the loom (warp threads). Make these strings about three times as long as the piece to be woven. For the weaving threads (woof threads) use ravelings from gunny sacks. Dye the sack and ravel out the woof threads wrapping them on a spool. If the sack has no holes these threads are very long and can be woven into a piece without many knots. The weaving may be done on a small loom as shown on page 66 but if a long scarf or piece for a purse or bag is to be woven use a loom made as shown on page 80. For this loom use any box. Nail a post to each of the four corners. Between two of the posts nail a stick with small nails about one-fourth inch apart. In the other two posts cut notches into which another stick fits. This stick is removed from the notch and the material is wound on it as it is woven, then the stick is replaced and the weaving can proceed. Make a heddle of wood or cardboard as shown on page 80, this is to save time in weaving over and under alternate threads. To string up the loom pass the string between the first two nails on the stick, then thru the first hole in the heddle, then around the stick in the notch, then through the first slit in the heddle and between the second two nails on the first stick. When several threads have been put on thus, tie them around the side of the box. These strings are untied when it is necessary to wind the woven material on the stick in the notch. When all strings are on and tied around the side of the box the loom is ready for weaving. For weaving use a shuttle made of wood or cardboard. Wind the shuttle full of the unraveled gunny sack string, lift the heddle and pass the shuttle between the shed thus made, lower the heddle and pass the shuttle through the second shed from the other side of the loom. Continue until the weaving fills the loom then untie the strings over the side of the box, wind woven material on stick in notch, replace stick, tie strings around side of box again and continue until piece is finished. Weaving with strips of rags or stockings or yarn as described on page 65 may also be done on this loom. Suitable for upper grades.

Box loom for weaving

Box loom for weaving long scarfs and other pieces from gunny sack ravelings. Shown strung up with ordinary string. A shuttle, heddle and details of sheds made by heddle for weaving.

A sampler cross

A sampler cross stitched with yarn on gunny sack. A scarf woven from ravelings from dyed gunny sacking.


Indian costumes are especially effective when made from gunny sacks. Tin cut from the bottoms of old cans can be sewed on through two holes punched in the center of the tin. Rags cut into fringe may be sewed on for chaps or fringe. Pop bottle tops fastened on by pressing the sack between the cork disc inside and the top itself. Crayon designs may be drawn on, or bits of colored cloth may be sewed on to make a design. Suitable for all grades.