Table runners are always a big hit in our house when it comes to gifts for grandparents or special Aunts and Uncles. Due to the fact that nearly everyone has a table or piano they like to keep protected, this project is bound to be a big hit with whomever you design it for. One bit of advice, make several of these at once. They are far easier to do as a multiple project and once they are finished, you will be glad you made extras as well.

This project is a fairly easy one though it does take a couple of days to complete due to the fact that the fabric paint needs to dry. Your expertise in basic embroidery will also add or lessen the time spent on this project so plan for about 3 days total time from start to finish.

Supplies needed:

Scraps of fabric for the end triangle on runner, quilt blocks if used and backing. If you desire, you can use the backs of shirts (woven not t-shirt material) of the “handprinter”. That will make the project much more personal. Or you can purchase fabric to match a décor. Approximately 1/3 yard will make this runner if you make it about 3 feet long….1/2 a yard will be needed for longer runners. If you are making several runners, 1 yard of fabric will give you enough for approximately 3 runners.

Cream/natural color muslin. About 1/3 yard again will give you enough for 6-8 blocks for your runner, plus some left over for mistakes or other projects you might want to assemble.

  • Embroidery floss in colors of choice. Embroidery needle and frame to hold fabic taunt.
  • Small picture a child has drawn, no larger than 8″ x 8″ so it will fit on the muslin.
  • Fabric paint in your choice of colors
  • Foam disposable plates (one for each handprint color desired)
  • Wax paper sheets (one for each muslin square)
  • Thread, needles and other misc.

After cutting muslin squares into 12″ square blocks, set each block to be used on a piece of wax paper to protect your table or counter. I place them also on trays so they can be moved out of the way when the prints are finished and left to dry in a safe place.

Having child hold hand with fingers apart and outstretched, dip the child’s palm into the paint and place centered on the muslin. Tell child NOT to move their hand but to press down firmly and lift STRAIGHT up. Wash child’s hand immediately to remove paint.

Do not move muslin square until handprint dries. It is on wax paper and will not stick to the point of causing trouble. Moving it may smear the child’s print.

While squares are drying, place picture child has drawn on sunny window, tape in place. Hold muslin on top of drawing, tape if possible to avoid muslin moving. With a pencil, outline lightly the picture. Remove from window the picture and muslin.

Using the outline on the muslin. Line embroider the outline of the picture using colors of the child’s choosing. I try to match them to the picture. When finished set aside.

Sew the muslin squares to the inner embroidered square using strips of accent fabric in the color and width of your choice. This will be different for each runner as tables and needs differ as well. On the outer edges of the handprint squares, sew a triangle shape (or any geometric shape of your choice.) This will be the end of your runner.

You can now sew a very narrow band approximately 1 ½ ” to the edges of the runner for accent or simply trim it to even up the sides. Placing this face down on your backing fabric, pin into place securely. I usually do not trim away the extra until I am finished but some prefer to cut the backing to match and then sew. Again that is personal preference.

Sew a ¼” seam on all outer edges leaving a small area in the center of the runner to turn. Clip seams at regular intervals and cut off excessive fabric. The closer you get, the neater and crisper your edges will be. Turn rightside out and press lightly on reverse side using pressing cloth underneath fabric. Be careful to use cool iron as fabric paint can and will melt if subjected to extreme heat. I usually only press the edges and leave the rest of the runner alone but that is personal preference. Turning under open edges of runner, sew seam shut with small stitches. Press with pressing cloth again if desired.

And your runner is done. You can at this time add a date and/or name of child under the handprint with a sharpie or fabric marker. I add my dates on the back of the runner or add them below the picture using embroidery. I think it adds a finished touch and reminds the user of the ages of the children and the date in which it was created.

This is a simple project and one that can be done with several different handprints for grandparents, aunts, uncles and even teachers if you are so inclined. The possibilities are endless and are limited only to your imagination. Good luck and happy crafting!