DIY Burlap Table Runners

posted in: Posts by Alex, DIY, Wedding, Wedding Wednesday | 42
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DIY Burlap Table Runners | Thrifty Below

It’s Wedding Wednesday again, and this week is all about burlap table runners! When creating decor for our wedding last summer, we used different shades of blue, our favorite color, and accented with ivory, lace, and burlap for a “rustic-chic” feel. I love that rustic weddings are in style, because burlap is inexpensive, readily available, and easy to work with. If that’s not enough for ya, these burlap runners are sew-free! Which is great… because I can’t sew.

DIY Burlap Table Runners | Thrifty Below

Before purchasing your burlap, you’ll need to do some math. The alternative would be to guess and buy 20 yards of burlap, then end up with way too much leftover. But I wouldn’t know anything about that…

First of all, how long will your runners need to be? Generally, table runners have an 18″ drop on each side, so you’ll need to add 3 feet to the size of your table. Our venue had 60″ rounds, which are 5 feet wide. 5 feet + 3 feet = 8 feet, so each runner will need to be 8 feet long (or just under 3 yards). If we had been using 8 foot rectangular tables, we would have needed runners that were 11 feet long.

Second, how wide will your table runners be? This is up to you, we made 12-13″ wide runners.

Third, how wide is the burlap? This will be printed on the label at the fabric store. My burlap was 50 inches wide, so it made four of our 12-13″ runners.

And, finally, how many runners do you need? We made 20 because it was an even number and left us with a couple extras.

Whew! Got all that? For our runners, I should have had the fabric person cut five, 8 foot sections of our 50″ burlap (which is 13 1/3 yards of fabric)… but instead I bought two 10 yard sections. I’m not kidding about the leftover burlap… there was a lot!

My personal favorite part of the burlap was the price. The regular price at JoAnn Fabrics was $3.99/yard, but I (of course) used a 50% off coupon that brought the price down to $2/yard! The total for all of my burlap was around $40 + tax.

DIY Burlap Table Runners | Thrifty Below

When you’re at home and ready to start, lay your burlap out in a long hallway. Hopefully you took my advice and bought the burlap at the right length for the table runners. If not, you will need to measure out the length of your runners, and cut across (using the same directions as below).

DIY Burlap Table Runners | Thrifty Below

Measure your burlap, just to make sure you’re starting with the proper width. Depending on how wide you want your table runners, divide the burlap width by 3 or 4. We wanted 12-13″ runners, so I divided the 50″ width by 4.

DIY Burlap Table Runners | Thrifty Below

50/4 = 12.5 inches, so I measured out a 12.5 inch section to determine where my first runner would be. If your runners do not end up being exactly the same width, don’t worry! They’ll be on different tables, so no one will notice that some ended being closer 12 inches wide and some are closer to 13 inches wide.

DIY Burlap Table Runners | Thrifty Below

At the edge of the first section, select a strand of burlap and gently pull it out. Your burlap will start to ruffle, but you can smooth it out as you go. If the strand breaks in the middle, you might need to use tweezers to pull it out and continue working.

DIY Burlap Table Runners | Thrifty Below

Do you see how we’re left with a wide space in the fabric? That’s your guide. Carefully cut along the space, all the way down the burlap. While you don’t need two people for this part, it’s easier with a friend! Once we pulled out the string, my husband and I started cutting from opposite ends and raced to the middle.

DIY Burlap Table Runners | Thrifty Below

As you’re finishing up your table runners, you may have some stray strands or string to remove. This would also be the time to add fringe. Burlap has a wide weave, so it’s really easy to just pull off the pieces you don’t want.

Burlap smells a little weird, so when your runners are complete, you may want to let them air out for a day or two before storing them. While I have not personally tried it, I have heard that using Febreze on your burlap is not a good idea.

DIY Burlap Table Runners // Photo by Kat/Eye Studios© Kat/Eye Studios
Above is a view of our complete table setting at our wedding last summer. What do you think?

DIY Burlap Table Runners | Thrifty Below

We use our burlap table runners at home too!

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42 Responses

  1. Simple enough. And economical! Love this idea.

    • Thanks Paula! It’s very cheap, very easy, and I really loved the way the finished burlap table runners looked at my wedding!

      • Have you ever tried spray painting the burlap runners with gold glitter instead of buying the gold burlap?

        • I’ve never tried spray-painting fabric, so I’m not totally sure how it would turn out. Sorry I can’t be more helpful! If you end up doing so, let us know how it turned out!

  2. Very nice and good idea.. they will definitely work!

  3. What a great idea!!

  4. I think the finished product looks great! A job well done. I like the look of burlap on the kitchen table a lot.

  5. OMG! Thank you! I have been looking for an inexpensive way to do these for an event I would like to have.

  6. Wow! I couldn’t wait to get to the end of this post and see how it looked! very nice!

  7. They look great. Must remember this idea if we have any events held on the farm

  8. Michelle

    Those are so great ideas at a great cost thanks for sharing.

  9. What a nice idea, looks easy to make too!

  10. That is such a great idea. I love the different textures.

  11. It’s nice that you found a way on how to make it your own while most people just want to buy them from the store ready-made.

  12. Rebecca Swenor

    Love making this handmade. They seem to last longer to me. Thanks for sharing.

    • I can’t speak to the longevity comparison as I’ve never purchased burlap table runners from the store, but burlap is a pretty strong fabric that’s mainly used in gardening and farming, so they should hold up well!

  13. I am not a huge fan of hte Burlap look but this looks really classy and chic. Makes me want to do it! Very nice!

    • Thanks Jaime! I’m glad I was able to change your mind. It all depends on what you pair the burlap with — I’ve seen it look pretty bad, and I’ve seen some really beautiful weddings and events that used burlap.

  14. The finish looks nice and can complement different table sets.

  15. You had me at “no sew” because I don’t sew, either. I really like the rustic look of burlap and I used burlap runners for a big Carolina Coastal Christmas party last December. I purchased mine online from Save on Crafts because I didn’t know how to make them. Well, now I do! Thanks!

    • The no-sew factor was huge for me too! I looked at the pre-made burlap table runners, but they weren’t really in our wedding budget. I paid around $40 to make mine, and was actually able to re-sell them for $40 on Craigslist after the wedding. It was awesome!

  16. Great idea for only a little bit of money. I also agree the “no sew” got my attention I am horrible at sewing!

    • That’s one of my favorite parts too, Rena! I’m trying to get better at sewing, but I’m still not good enough to undertake a large project.

  17. That’s a really nice rustic touch to the table decor. Thank goodness it’s easy too!

    • Thank you so much, Liz! I thought they turned out really well, but I might be a little biased ;).

  18. Lol at the “race to the middle” cutting method. :)

    • It worked out really well, Paula! Plus it gave my husband a wedding activity to help out with.

  19. Fabulous! I love that burlap is making a comeback! :)

  20. Great tutorial and tips on burlap! I love working with it and really like the rustic quality it brings to all forms of decor! Loved it on your wedding tables too. Thanks for linking up to my Creative Ways Link Party! I hope you’ll be back this week with more awesome posts to share.

  21. […] would have to buy fabric and (since I can’t sew very well – as you may remember from my Burlap Table Runners post) I would run the risk of ruining/wasting it. One thing I found when I was packing up to move […]

  22. Thank you for this simple, inexpensive idea. Thank you also for having great pictures and detail on how to make these runners, especially the math on how far it should hang down, the amount to get etc.

    I am planning an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for my son and this will be perfect for the tables at the reception.

    Thanks again!

    • No problem, Deb! I’m sure your burlap runners will look rustic and beautiful at the Eagle Scout reception!

  23. My fiance and I just made runners yesterday using your step-by-step guide – they came out great! Thank you for posting and adding pictures – it really made it simple and clear. It also saved me ~ $120 had I rented runners through our florist. Thanks again!

  24. Love these a ton. Thanks for the detailed tutorial. I have been looking at burlap and there are many different kinds, weights, weaves, hydrocarbon or not….. What is the best type of burlap to purchase for this project?
    Thank you!!

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