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How to Make a Farmhouse Table Runner (The Easy Way)

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Today, I’m sharing a tutorial on one of my favorite DIY projects — how to make a farmhouse table runner (the easy way).

Custom table runner using drop cloth and acrylic paint with DecoArt stencil

When we bought our rustic dining table, it looked very naked sitting beneath the chandelier. To take it from naked to at least scantily clad, I needed just the right table runner. Then, a decorator friend told me about an unexpected (and inexpensive!) material I could use to craft my own runner. Problem solved!

Aside from letting the paint dry, this is a quick 10-minute table runner project!

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Supplies for a Custom Table Runner

DIY Stenciled Table Runner Supplies including drop cloth, paint brushes, acrylic paint and a stencil

  • Drop cloth. I had seen Pinterest friends using drop cloths for curtains, but it never occurred to me to make a runner out of the stuff! The material has great texture and is very affordable.
  • Stencil. Amazon sells many gorgeous stencils at great prices.
  • Acrylic paint. Choose any type of paint that fits your project. Just check whether it’s permanent or washable and buy whatever meets your needs.
  • Unbleached muslin. I used this fabric on the underside of my runner for a more refined look. It’s perfectly okay to use a drop cloth for both sides or make a one-sided runner instead.
  • Stencil brushes. I opted for bristle brushes over foam sponges because I felt they gave me more control. You’ll definitely need thick bristle brushes and not generic craft brushes.

Directions for Making a DIY Table Runner with Stencils

Step 1: Practice Stenciling

Fortunately, the drop cloth I bought was so huge I had plenty of material to practice with before making my final stenciled table runner. I started with one color but ultimately decided on a two-tone pattern.

Practicing stenciling a custom table runner using drop cloth and acrylic paints

Before you begin, tape your stencil to the fabric around all edges to keep it in place. Then, dip your brush into water and squeeze out any excess.

To keep the paint from bleeding past the stencil, start with very light coats holding your brush vertically. Press the tip of the brush into the fabric in a dabbing motion rather than painting with strokes.

You can use a paper towel to absorb some of the excess paint on your brush if needed. If you’re having trouble isolating your colors, try taping over the areas you don’t want to paint.

Applying paint to custom table runner made from drop cloth

To add more depth to my design, I gently applied some blue paint to the corners of my gold leaves. Before adding shadows or highlights, wait at least two minutes for the underlying color to dry.

Adding depth to stencil with multiple layers of paint on a drop cloth table runner

Step 2: Prep Your Fabric

For best results, wash and press your fabric before you begin. Then, cut your drop cloth (and optional muslin) to the desired dimensions. Just remember to add a small seam allowance of about 5/8 to 1 inch on all sides if you plan to sew the edges.

To make pointed ends on your runner, measure and mark the three points shown below.

How to take measurements for making a custom table runner with pointed ends

Then connect the points and cut along the lines. I typically fold my fabric in half lengthwise so I can cut both ends of the runner at once. With a rotary cutter and ruler, it’s easy to make clean, straight cuts.

Drawing lines for peak at ends of a custom drop cloth table runner

Step 3: Stencil the Runner

You’re now ready to apply your stencil, which you’ve already practiced doing in step 1. I like to paint before sewing, in case I have an “oops” moment. After stenciling, wait a few hours for the paint to dry before completing your project.

For a video tutorial on painting with a stencil, please see my tutorial for painting a canvas bag.

Hand painted tote bag on bench made from drop cloth
Canvas bag painting tutorial

Step 4: Sew (or Don’t Sew!) the Runner

Option 1: Sewing Method

If you have a sewing machine and want to make a two-sided runner, line up your two pieces of fabric with the right sides facing each other. Then, pin your fabric together and sew around the edges with a 5/8 to 1-inch seam allowance. Here’s a look at the muslin side of my runner after stitching.

Sewn edge of custom DIY table runner made with drop cloth and musin

You’ll need to leave an unstitched opening of about 4 inches on one side so you can turn the runner right-side-out again once you’re done sewing. Before turning it, trim any pointed edges closer to the stitching to reduce bulk.

Trim pointed edges on ends of a DIY table runner to prevent bulk

After flipping the runner right-side-out, close the 4-inch opening with an invisible stitch, and you’re done!

Fortunately, this custom runner works for all seasons. I’ve even used it beneath my DIY mercury glass holiday centerpiece.

Dining room rectangular table mercury glass votive candleholder table centerpiece for Christmas and the holidays with stenciled table runner underneath

Option 2: No Sew Method (One-sided runner)

If sewing isn’t your thing, try using Dritz Stitch Witchery to “hem” the edge of your stenciled fabric. When applied with an iron, this tape acts as an adhesive to fuse the edges of fabric together.

Just be sure to remove all of the plastic wrapping on the roll, wet the tape generously, and use either wool or cotton settings on your iron to press the tape between the fabric pieces for 10-15 seconds.

You may need to press again if the tape doesn’t adhere well the first time.

Remember to leave an opening of 4 inches or so to turn the runner right-side-out. Then use Stitch Witchery again to close the opening.

Farmhouse Table Runner Wrap Up

What I love about this DIY stenciled table runner is how customizable it is. I can’t wait to see what creations you dream up for your very own, unique table runners!

10 minute table runner with stenciled design on drop cloth in dining room

Pin it for later!

Farmhouse style table runner tutorial


Check out my other beginner sewing and craft projects!

Farmhouse style flour sack dish towels using drop cloth and acrylic paints How to sew a tote bag tutorial for beginners  Sewing a heating pad with rice and lavender Easy wine gift bag sewing pattern using drop cloth, fabric stamps and dollar ribbon 

Thanks for stopping by!

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Stenciled farmhouse table runner with stenciled fleur de lis design

How to Make an Easy Farmhouse Table Runner

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner/Easy
Estimated Cost: $15

Learn how to make a custom table runner with stencils for a rustic, farmhouse look. This tutorial for a DIY table runner shows you all the steps to get started.

This 10-minute table runner uses affordable material so you can customize the length and width without spending a fortune.

The versatile design lasts from spring until winter, too!


  • Drop cloth
  • Stencil
  • Acrylic paint
  • Unbleached muslin (optional)
  • Stencil brushes


  • Sewing machine


  1. Practice stenciling on a scrap piece of drop cloth using acrylic paint and a hard bristle brush or pouncer. Dab off excess paint before stenciling.
  2. For best results, wash and press the drop cloth fabric.
  3. Cut drop cloth and muslin fabric to the desired dimensions, making a peak on each end, if desired.
  4. Sew the drop cloth and muslin together with the right sides facing each other (wrong side out). Be sure to leave a 4-inch gap so you can turn the runner right-side-out again and close the seam.
  5. If using Dritz Stich Witchery, place the pieces of fabric together as in step #4. Remove all of the plastic wrapping on the roll, wet the tape generously, and use either wool or cotton settings on your iron to press the tape between the fabric pieces for 10-15 seconds. You may need to press again if the tape doesn’t adhere well the first time. Remember to leave an opening of 4 inches or so to turn the runner right-side-out. Then use Stitch Witchery again to close the opening.

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  1. This is so pretty! And I love that it’s a simple, very doable project that costs so little. Thank you for the step-by-step instructions.

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!