Craft Cottage - Birdy Branches Table Runner

Skill Level:

Advanced

Crafting Time:

3+ hours

Technique(s):

Sewing Machine
Stamping

Material(s):

Fabric
Paint

Category:

DIY Wine & Dine

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Birdy Branches Table Runner

Want to make your dining table more inviting? Spruce it up with a chirpy table runner! This runner is made with hand-stamped winter berry branches and woodland birds. Use hand-carved stamps to imprint the birds & branches and a pencil eraser to add the bright red berries atop the black silhouettes.

Supplies & Tools:

  • Printable template (download here)
  • 2 yards* white fabric (We used 100% cotton Wrinklease fabric.)
  • 2 yards* light colored fabric (for the backing)
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • 4–5 jumbo erasers
  • X-Acto & cutting mat
  • Matte fabric paint: black, red
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Large paper plate
  • Pencil
  • Large scrap paper
  • Access to a sewing machine & iron
  • Optional: fabric markers

*You can adjust the length of your runner to fit your table. If you do decide to adjust the length, make sure you add a couple extra inches to account for the length lost in the seams.

Directions:

Prep the Fabric:

  1. Wash and dry fabric. Do not use fabric softener. Press with iron to smooth out any wrinkles.
  2. Measure and cut a piece of white fabric that is 18" x 56".
  3. Measure and cut a piece of fabric (for backing) that is 18" x 56". Set aside.

Make the Stamps:

  1. Print the template and loosely cut around shapes.
  2. Trace the design onto the back of each template piece.
    Note: Hold it up to a window to see the design more easily.
  3. Place the template, pencil side down, onto the eraser. Trace over the design. When you lift the paper, you’ll see the imprint on the eraser.
    Note: Cut the eraser in half to make 2 stamps out of one eraser.
  4. Place eraser on cutting mat, very carefully cut away the eraser outside the shape with X-Acto. KEEP YOUR FINGERS AWAY FROM THE BLADE. Work slowly and with caution. If you try to work too fast, your X-Acto might slip and result in injury. Be careful not to cut into the design when cutting around thin areas like the bird’s feet or the speech bubble.
    Note: A block printing kit has blades more appropriate for cutting away the eraser, but an X-Acto works if you don’t have those extra tools.
    1. Cut along the outline with blade perpendicular to the surface.
    2. Begin carving away the eraser surrounding the bird shape, being careful not to cut into the bird. Notice how the knife is cutting next to the shape, but not into it.
  5. Repeat steps 2–4 to make each stamp.

Paint the Fabric:

  1. Squirt some black paint on the paper plate.
  2. Using the foam brush, apply paint to the stamp.
    Note: You’ll have more control over the amount of paint on the stamp if you apply it directly to the stamp with a foam paintbrush instead of dipping the stamp into paint on the plate. (We found that dipping the stamp into the paint spread evenly on the plate resulted in splotchy and uneven imprints.)
  3. Proceed to stamp the fabric. Reapply paint to the stamp each time you stamp the fabric.
    1. Branches: Stamp 2–3 times with the branch stamp(s) to create a single branch. Mix and match branch patterns as you like.
    2. Birds: Stamp birds in a few places on the branches—two on each end of the runner.
    3. Use a pencil eraser (or the end of a paintbrush) to add red berries on the branches. Cluster berries together to make it look more natural.
  4. Allow to dry completely.

Sewing it Up:

  1. Lay the backing fabric on top of the printed fabric, right sides together.
  2. Pin fabric together along the edges.
  3. Sew a straight line 0.5" from the edge all the way around the runner, leaving a 3–4" opening to turn the runner right side out. When you sew, make sure the opening is at least 5" from any given corner.
  4. Snip fabric at the corners, being careful not to cut the stitches. This keeps the corners from being bulky.
  5. Stick hand in the opening and grab a corner from the opposite side. Pull this corner through the opening first, and continue to pull, gently turning the runner right side out.
  6. Poke your finger (or the eraser end of a pencil) in each corner to get a nice right angle. Don’t push too hard because you don’t want to make a hole.
  7. Place the runner face down on the ironing board, and press with an iron.
    Note: You don’t want to iron the painted area directly because the paint will stick to the iron!
  8. Sew around the runner again. This time sew 0.25" from the edge.
    Note: There’s no need to measure when you align the fabric with the edge of the presser foot.
  9. Now your table runner is complete!

Elfy Hints:

  • If your bird stamps look splotchy, use a foam brush to fill in the area.
  • If your stamp smudges a little bit, there are a couple ways to fix it:
    • Use a small paintbrush to fill the area with paint.
    • Cover your mistake with berries if the branches are smudged.

Idea from the Elves:

  • Make matching placemats with a bird and speech bubble. Use a fabric marker to write a festive message inside the bubble.