November 14, 2017

How to Make a DIY Table Runner for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just over a week away, and we know that so many readers are hurriedly making preparations for their holiday celebrations. This week, we wanted to showcase a quick and easy DIY project for anyone who wants to add a little flair to their Thanksgiving tablescape with a hand-dyed cheesecloth table runner!

(Photographer: Leah Moyers Photography)

What You’ll Need

50 Weight Cheesecloth 10 Yard Bundle 100% Cotton (We cut off two yards to create a runner suitable for an eight-foot table with an eight-foot overhang puddled on either side. You may need more or less depending on the size of your table.)
–1 pack Rit Dye Powder Tangerine and 1 tbsp Rit All-Purpose Powder Dye, Cocoa Brown (We combined these two pigments to achieve a rust color. For other colors, we recommend visiting Rit Dye’s Color Formula Library.)
–1 cup salt
–Sink or similar large container
–Latex gloves (optional)
–Dryer (You can hang the runner to dry if preferred, but the drying time will increase.)

(Photographer: Leah Moyers Photography)


  1. Cut off any unnecessary length, and then soak cheesecloth in tap-cold water to prepare fabric for pigment.
  2. Fill sink 3/4 full of hot water, and put on gloves if desired. Prepare dye mixture in water, adding 1 cup salt to better allow dye to set.
  3. Remove cheesecloth from cold water, wring out, and submerge in dye mixture.
  4. Stirring intermittently, let cheesecloth sit in dye mixture for 10 minutes. (The color in the water is darker than your final product will be, so allow cheesecloth to soak longer if a bolder, more saturated color is desired.)
  5. Remove cheesecloth from dye mixture, then briefly rinse in cold water to remove excess dye.
  6. Place runner by itself in dryer, tumbling on low heat for 10 minutes to reduce moisture. After 10 minutes, hang overnight to dry completely.

(Photographer: Leah Moyers Photography)


–Dye will stain, so choose clothing and workspace wisely.
–To make multiple runners, be precise with your dye measurements for maximum color consistency (this is why we used powdered dye over liquid).
–Place no more than 2 runners in dye mixture at a time; the runners need to be able to float and turn to ensure full coverage. Similarly, to dye 2 runners at once, we recommend that you use a larger container, such as a bathtub, so both can move freely.



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