Jute is a very strong natural fiber with a wide variety of functional and decorative applications. It is used to make rope, twine, paper, and fabrics. Known as the "golden fiber," jute, in its finished material form, is more commonly referred to as burlap or hessian. When separated out into fine threads, jute can also be made into imitation silk.
Jute is often found woven into carpets, window treatments, furniture coverings, and rugs. One of the more common forms of jute in home decor, hessian cloth, is a lighter fabric used to make bags as well as wall coverings. Jute can also be combined with other softer fibers to create textiles for making pillows, throws, linens, and upholstery.
Jute has also become a popular feature in rustic-style wedding decorations. It's often used to create table runners, chair sashes, favor bags, and bouquet wraps.
Jute can bring a natural, textured feel to the bedroom when used to cover bed frames and headboards. Its rough, coarsely-woven look, paired with smooth linens and fluffy pillows, can create a pleasing juxtaposition. Many retailers offer jute beds and headboards for purchase, but you can also try making your own bohemian headboard out of jute placemats.
Jute upholstery fabric is a durable material used to make sofas, chairs, and other furniture. It's often featured in its natural color, ranging from light tan to a golden brown, but the material can also be dyed to almost any hue. The fabric can also make an excellent option for drapes or curtains, especially if you desire a more coarse weave.
Jute rope-wrapped furniture is a great choice for a sunroom or a space with a nautical theme. The rope is also often featured in indoor chair swings, hammocks, and hanging light fixtures.
Burlap is a popular fabric amongst crafters as it's readily available and can be repurposed from inexpensive (or free) items such as grain or coffee bags. It can be used to make many DIY projects such as wall hangings, coasters, lampshades, wreaths, and sachets. It can also be wrapped and tied around the base of house plants, which is especially useful if wanting to hide unattractive plastic pots.
Jute rope can be used to make floor mats, wrapped candle holders, baskets, hanging lanterns, and mirror frames. You can use it to wrap just about anything, including an old tire to make an ottoman. It can also be used in rope macrame projects and can be made into a sling for hanging potted plants.
Jute Production and Sustainability
Due to its inexpensive cultivation and the sheer number of uses, jute is the second most-produced vegetable fiber, behind cotton. India is the largest jute-producing nation, creating nearly two million tons of raw fiber every year.
The prevalence of jute has been challenged by a number of synthetic fibers. However, jute is regaining popularity as it's an easily replenished resource. The plants have low fertilizer needs and the fiber that they produce is 100 percent biodegradable, making it a sustainable option for manufacturing.