Sunday, June 9, 2013

Make // Flag Table Runner

July 4th is coming soon and I'm feeling patriotic. I've been wanting an American Flag Table Runner to use for the Memorial and Independence Day holidays but have never gotten around to buying or making one. Until now! 

Click "Read more" for the tutorial

DIY American Flag Table Runner

materials needed:
bamboo table runner (mine is from world market)
spray paint primer
painter's tape
red, white & blue acrylic paint (I used the Martha Stewart brand)
glaze to dilute paint (I used the Martha Stewart brand)
foam brushes
1.75 -inch "extra large" star punch
thick card stock/cardboard to create template
clear sealant
newspaper or craft paper to cover work surface

After tossing around several ideas on how to construct my table runner-- Paint a fabric runner? Sew red, white and blue scraps together?, I decided to go with a ready-made bamboo table runner. I'm so glad I did!  It was easy to work with, doesn't wrinkle and stores away easily-- just roll it up and pop on a rubber band. Done!

Obviously this table runner is inspired by the American Flag.  In fact, the design is based upon this one from Pottery Barn-- except mine is about $50 cheaper and I have more stars. 

I didn't want it to be too literal though, so... Yes there are 50 stars. No, the stripes on the flag aren't usually vertical; and Yes, there are more than 13 stripes on this ol' runner... more like 32.


Unroll the bamboo table runner onto your workspace.  For my workspace, I laid out a long piece of craft paper on our pavement.

Following the instructions on the can, spray on a couple coats of primer.

Figure out how you want to space out your stripes. Measure your table runner if you need to (mine measures 16-in x 90-in). Based on my own visual preference, I decided to make each stripe the width of 7 bamboo sticks. However, go with what looks best to you. I left a rectangular space on the left side (1/4th of the runner) so that I could get in all 50 stars.

When the primer is dry, use painter's tape to mark the stripes.

I decided I wanted my flag table runner to have an imperfect, rustic charm. To get this look, I thinned out the paint with a little tintable glaze, then painted it on with a foam brush. Paint on a thin coat!

I used the angled tip of the foam brush to get between the grooves of the bamboo sticks. I started with the red paint, then moved on to the white and blue. I got a little lazy with the painters tape and for the white stripes just folded the red stripes down (a benefit of using foldable bamboo!) to keep them out of the way.

When the paint is dry to touch, you'll want to gently bend each piece of bamboo. This will keep your bamboo runner flexible. If you have any gloppy paint bits between the bamboo, you can sand them off later when the paint is completely dry.

Next up... Stars!  I did a little math and found that if I alternated 4 rows with 8 stars and 3 rows with 6 stars... I would end up with a total of 50. Woo hoo!

So I created two star templates using a 1.75 inch star paper punch-- one template had a row of 8 stars (spaced at about 1/2 inch apart) and the other template had a row of 6 stars (spaced at 1 1/4 inch apart).
I can't say that I measured everything... I just eyeballed it and it's not perfectly aligned, HOWEVER I'm pretty picky about visual balance... and it looks fine!

I roughly pounced on the paint to get a textured, imperfect look. Make sure to dab the sponge applicator on a scrap paper before pouncing it onto your project. You don't want the paint to seep under the template.

Last Step! Seal it. Spray on a thin coat of clear sealer. I meant to use matte, but goofed and used glossy. Not a big deal. It's actually not that shiny and the colors seem so much richer. Let it dry...

Then your flag runner is ready for display!

View from the bottom--

And from the top--

Ready for the Fourth of July!

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