How to Make an Oilcloth Table Runner in Less Than an Hour

Set a stunning table with this DIY table runner that's easy to customize and even easier to clean.

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly

We appreciate the functionality of the oilcloth tablecloths Grandma used to have at her kitchen table, so we incorporated the same practicality into this DIY table runner. It has the same long-lasting wear and is so easy to clean, but we've updated the design with modern fabric and trim. Traditional oilcloth dates back to the 1800s and was originally used to make waterproof clothing. While true oilcloth is still available, modern wax-covered cotton has the same liquid-repelling qualities—which means spilled food or drinks won't stain your runner. If you're set on a specific fabric, you can use beeswax to make it water-resistant (we used this method for our DIY beeswax food wraps!), but for this project, it may be easier to purchase oilcloth or wax-coated fabric.

This runner requires only basic sewing skills and is so easy you could quickly stitch up a themed runner for each season, holiday, or special occasion.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing needle or sewing machine
  • Iron


  • Oilcloth
  • Cotton fabric
  • Decorative trim


  1. Cut and Measure Fabric

    To begin the DIY table runner, measure the length of your table and determine how long you want your runner to be. We were able to make one 18 x 54-inch runner from two yards of purchased oilcloth and two yards of fabric.

    When you've decided how big to make the runner, cut a piece of oilcloth that's one inch longer and wider than your dimensions. Cut a piece of cotton fabric the same size. Pin the right sides of your oilcloth and cotton fabric together.

    Editor's Tip: Many sewing projects are constructed with "right sides together," which means the wrong side, or back, of the fabric is facing out. Once complete, you turn the item right side out and the raw edges of your seams are hidden inside the finished project.

  2. Sew Edges

    Once the runner has been pinned, stitch around the edges with a 1/2-inch seam, leaving about 8 inches unstitched on one long edge of the runner. We found that leaving an 8-inch gap gave us enough room to turn the runner right side out later on. Trim the corners and turn the pieces right side out.

  3. Finish and Display

    When the runner is right side out, turn under the raw edges at the opening you created and pin them shut. Sew the opening closed using a topstitch. We also used a topstitch to add fringe to the ends of our runner. Simply cut decorative trim to fit the width of your table runner.

    To care for your finished runner, lay it oilcloth side up and use a damp washcloth to clean any food or drink spills from the surface. If you need to press the material at any time, do not use the iron on the oilcloth side (it will melt!). Instead, press the cotton backing.

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