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How To Upcycle A Drop Cloth Into A DIY Tablecloth Runner

Have you ever tried to find tablecloth runners in various lengths? Well, it’s almost impossible, so I’m sharing how to upcycle a drop cloth into a painted tablecloth runner that can be customized for each table length. Now, I have DIY Tablecloth Runners for each of our outdoor kitchen tables. Yay!

I was planning a Welcome to Fall Dinner Party around our outdoor kitchen and patio area, and I wanted something to dress up the tables. Since the atmosphere is casual, I decided to use tablecloth runners instead of tablecloths. When I couldn’t find the sizes I needed, here’s what I did.

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How To Prepare Drop Cloth for Painting

A budget-friendly way to make tablecloths and tablecloth runners is to upcycle a drop cloth. They are relatively cheap, and their texture is excellent for hand painting.

Before you start this project, wash and dry the drop cloth. Remove from dryer while damp to avoid having to press.

Pre-washing will remove any dyes, chemicals, and starches. Pre-washing and drying will also shrink the fabric so that your finished tablecloth runners will be the correct size.

Cut DIY Tablecloth Runners

Now, you can cut your tablecloth runner’s length and width from the drop cloth material. Allow about 1/2 inch on each side for the hem if you plan to hem the edges of your runner.

Canvas Drop cloth

How To Finish Edges of Upcycled Drop Cloth

To finish the edges of the upcycled drop cloth, I used a serger sewing machine to stitch the raw edges and stop them from fraying.

There are several options, including turning the edge under and stitching with a sewing machine.

If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can use fabric glue to fold the raw edge under. Another option is to leave the edges raw and use a liquid fray block to keep it from unraveling further.

Use serger to trim the edges of the table runner

Add Flowers To DIY Tablecloth Runner for Painting

Once you have your table runners cut to size and the edges taken care of, it’s time to draw your flowers.

Use a dark brown or black Sharpie marker with a fine point for this step.

Begin at the bottom edge of the runner and draw lines using the sharpie up the fabric at varying lengths. These will be the stems of your flowers.

Use sharpie pen to draw flowers and stems on drop cloth for painting

Next, begin to draw the flowers themselves. Begin in the center of each flower and draw a swirling circle for the flower’s center. Then, draw larger swirling circles for the petals.

I like to make some more round and others more oval in shape.

This is a fast process, and the flowers can be messy because no two should be identical.

Draw Flowers with sharpie pen for DIY Tablecloth Runner upcycled drop cloth for painting.

Handpaint the Flowers on the DIY Tablecloth Runner

For the next step, you will need to determine the colors for your flowers. I chose blue, orange and yellow. I also used Chalk Paint for the hand-painted flowers because it’s pliable and doesn’t require a fabric medium.

If you use regular craft paint, add a fabric medium so the DIY tablecloth runner will not be stiff where painted.

Paint colors for Hand-painted upcycled drop cloth for tablecloth runner.

Mix you paint with water at approximately a 50/50 ratio.

You will want to see through the paint once it’s applied to the flowers.

Using the same swirling motion, paint each flower. You don’t need to stay within the lines as you paint. Allow your brush to float over the drawn flowers.

used watered down paint to paint the flowers for DIY Upcycled Drop Cloth for Painting Tablecloth Runner

In addition to the flowers, add a few leaves to the stems.

I used just a dab of brown paint on each leaf for these.

paint flowers and stems on upcycled drop cloth for painting project.

Heat Set Tablecloth Runner

Note: Heat Set Tablecloth Runner – Place a piece of fabric or towel over the painted area once completely dry.

Use a hot iron or heat press to press over the entire painted area. You can now hand wash your table runner safely.

Supply List

DIY Hand-painted Drop Cloth Tablecloth Runner

Once the paint is dry, you can place your new Hand-painted Upcycled Drop Cloth Runners on the tables.

Upcycle Drop Cloth for Painting DIY Tablecloth Runner on Outdoor kitchen table.

I can’t wait to use the cute table runners at my fall event.

Hand-painted DIY Tablecloth Runner on outdoor kitchen table.

The colors work perfectly with the chair cushions I use in the outdoor kitchen.

Drop cloth for painting tablecloth runner

If you’d like to see more about the outdoor kitchen entertaining area, you can see before and after here.

Upcycled Drop Cloth For Painting DIY Tablecloth runner at outdoor kitchen for fall party

Click here to see how to make tassels to add to the table runners. If you’d like to see how I planned for this party click here and here are the table arrangement details.

Fall DIY Hand Painted Tablecloth Runner

Other DIY Tableware Ideas You Can Make

You can see how I made the Earthenware Vessel from a thrift store find here.

Fall DIY Tablecloth Runner for outdoor kitchen

More Drop Cloth Projects

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.

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DIY Tablecloth runner for outdoor kitchen entertaining.
How to make these easy DIY Hand Painted Table Runner's from Drop Cloth Material.  Simple instructions and fun craft to make for fall decorating.


Tuesday 12th of September 2023

Love this project, Rachel!


Tuesday 12th of September 2023

Kim I really appreciate this. Thanks for the encouragement.


Tuesday 12th of September 2023

Soooo pretty! and fabulous idea!

Jennifer Howard

Thursday 11th of August 2022

This is a great project!! Your flowers are so cute!


Saturday 13th of August 2022

Jennifer, I really appreciate your kind words.


Thursday 11th of August 2022

[…] a big fan of drop cloths, this is much more exciting than having them cover my couch from dog hair. Click here to see this beautiful table […]


Saturday 13th of August 2022

Regina, I appreciate this so much.


Thursday 11th of August 2022

This table runner is beautiful. The colors are perfect for fall. You’re so talented. I think if I tried to draw flowers they’d look like a kindergartner did it!


Saturday 13th of August 2022

AnnMarie, I'm sure that's not true. Thanks so much.