Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hand Painted Table Runner Tutorial - Easy and Beautiful

It's been another busy, creative week here at the little yellow cottage.  Once I get started (finally) the ideas start to roll and I can't seem to work fast enough to accomplish all my goals.  You know how it is?  Anyway, I wanted to create a new table runner for our dining table and for the trunk I use as a coffee table in the living room.  My burlap phase from Thanksgiving has passed for the moment and now I am into painter's drop cloths.  Talk about a bargain!  You can get a drop cloth at Home Depot for $9.00 and it is huge.  Way cheaper than comparable fabric from the fabric store and it is much wider!  

From that one drop cloth I made a bunch of pillow covers, two table runners, two stockings and a partridge in a pear tree (just kidding about the partridge).  But, the fabric has the look of linen and is very easy to paint on with a brush.  Burlap requires a stencil-type method because it is very porous and has lots of "holes".  This fabric is like painting on canvas, you can use fine brushes and control the look you want.  Super!

Here is what you will need:

Paint - colors of your choice
Fabric medium
Print outs of words and stencils
Tracing paper
Sewing machine or glue

To make my runners, I simply cut pieces of fabric the length and width I wanted to fit the table and trunk.  Next, I printed out words I wanted to use in a font and size that I liked.  For this project I used Chopin Script which is quite beautiful and I was able to download it free from the internet.  Free = Yay!  Also, I downloaded and printed a lot of free Christmas stencils from  (They have some really great ones and they are - free.)  I printed a lot of stencils because I wasn't quite sure what I was going to use.  I ended up using two different stencils and putting them together for the big table runner to get the look I wanted.  

Now, I didn't use the stencils as "stencils" this time, but traced the words and stencils onto my fabric using tracing paper that I bought at Michaels in the art department.  Those of you my age will know it as carbon paper.  Remember typing class and all those carbons we had to make?  Sorry, I digress.  Simply find the center of your fabric and mark it with a straight pin.  Next, decide on the design you are going to use and place it where you want it to on the cloth.  

I used masking tape to hold my paper to the cloth, placed the tracing paper underneath and used a dull pencil to trace the words and designs.  It will look like this when you remove the paper.

These are the three brushes I used - a fine liner, a small angle and a small square shader.  The most important brush is your fine liner.
Put about a 50 cent sized glob of paint on a paper plate (so it doesn't dry up as you are working) and mix in fabric medium according to directions.  This will make your paint washable.  If you want to use fabric markers, you can.  I just prefer paint and brushes and I have plenty of both on hand.   Since I am right handed, I begin at the far left and work to the right so that I don't drag my hand through wet paint and get it everywhere.  You do what is comfortable for you. When using the liner brush, "roll" it through the paint to keep a sharp point so that the bristles don't splay out when painting.  I do the outlining first and then fill in one letter at a time.   It took me about an hour to paint the big table runner and slightly less for the smaller runner.  This is how they looked completely painted.

You may ask why I chose the French words Joyeux Noel?  Because I think they are lovely, the English equivalent is Merry Christmas, and French script is very popular this year in decorating.  It was just a decorating choice.  But, isn't it gorgeous?  I simply LOVE the Chopin Script.  

Next, I pressed the hems all around the runners and stitched them down on the sewing machine.  If you don't sew you can use stitch witchery or "sewing" glue - just follow the directions.  Then, I added trims.  I don't like "matchy/matchy" so I used different designs and trims and yet they "go together."  Just personal choice.  The trim I used on the small runner is vintage and looks like this close up.  It ties in with all the colors in the living room.
It has the look of needlepoint with dark reds, greens, blues and blacks.  It is gorgeous.  This is the small finished runner.
For the big table runner I used a black and gold metallic trim that is very "madrigal" and regal in look.  
And how it looks on the table.
I had trouble getting the "whole" thing in a picture, but this gives you an idea of how beautiful it looks with all the decorations. 

Where else could you get a hand painted runner for so little money?   The joy of producing such a lovely piece is worth the effort!  You can customize it in any color with any words and decorations you like.  That is the best part.  And, you are using your inner artist!!  

What fabulous gifts these would make!  It wouldn't even have to be for a holiday - it could be something "everyday" useful.  It's the little things that make a house a home.  Have fun with this project.  Let your imagination run wild and let me know how much fun you have making it!  

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Man will begin to recover the moment he takes art as seriously as physics, chemistry or money.  ~Ernst Levy

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