It should come as no surprise that I am not a fan of "traditional" Christmas decor - red and green and cartoon Santas and such. But I'm not a total Grinch. I just like to do things my own way, and unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of Christmas decorations for people like us. So I end up making a lot of my own things. Here's one example.
I tried to find a table runner that would a.) look good on our table, made from reclaimed wood, and b.) not be cutesy horrible red and green Christmas style. I decided that a black table runner with some sort of star-like motif would fit the bill. Before I make anything, I typically do a search online to see if anything already exists and is within my price range, because sometimes making something yourself can get a little pricey and/or time-consuming. But I had no luck in this case.
Enter the DIY: I would purchase a plain black burlap table runner (I found my Burlap Table Runner on Amazon for less than $15), and stamp it myself!
Step one: You need a stamp in your desired design. Because this will be a very rough print (burlap is not a smooth fabric), you want to keep it simple. You could purchase a pre-made stamp, but I actually just cut my own stamp from a clear-plastic-y printmaking material (it was a sample of this stuff). You could easily go super thrifty and cut an actual potato stamp for this and call it a day! (Here's a quick potato stamp tutorial using a cookie cutter for the design.)
I used white block printing ink to do my stamping. It's not as involved as you might think. Here are my materials:
- My stamp
- A piece of plexiglass to roll out ink (you can use any smooth surface, or an old cookie sheet even)
- A brayer (the thing to roll out and apply ink)
- A baren (used to press down the stamp evenly; not needed if you go the potato route)
- Paintbrush (for touch-ups)
- Block printing ink in white
I decided to use block printing ink because it is thicker and stickier than paint. You could probably get away with using screenprinting ink if you wanted a more washable runner, but then you probably shouldn't use a burlap runner - get something cotton.
Here's how inking works:
- Squirt out a small amount of ink (tablespoon or less) onto your smooth surface, and roll out until it has evenly coated your brayer.
- Roll the brayer over your stamp until there is an even coating of ink
I actually allowed my ink to be a little bit thicker since I would be stamping onto a rough surface. I placed newspaper under my fabric runner to protect my work surface. I then "eyeballed" the placement of my stamp so that my pattern appeared more random, and printed each star individually like this:
- Place the stamp ink-side down carefully onto the fabric.
- Use the baren to evenly apply pressure to the stamp (don't wiggle it or your stamp might move!)
- Carefully lift up the baren and the stamp (my stamp actually kept sticking to the baren).
- Admire your work. Touch up (if needed).
I actually re-stamped again on top of a couple of my stars, but the shape was so simple that re-aligning wasn't really an issue. Otherwise, I would not recommend doing that.
Every half-dozen stars or so, I would wash off my stamp completely, re-roll some additional ink, and reapply before stamping some more. The whole printing process probably took less than 45 minutes. By the time I got to the end, the first stamps had pretty much dried.
I really like the rough texture of the prints on the burlap.
Here's the completed (dried) table runner against my actual dining room table, for full effect.
I am very happy with the end result! My beaded Christmas trees look right at home on my new stamped table runner. (Did you miss that DIY? Check it out here.)
I especially love that I can now use this technique to create all sorts of motifs for different occasions, not just for Christmas. I might make an everyday version next!
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Jen @ Hell Razor