IKEA Table Runner Hack

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I'm all about those IKEA finds you don't expect to get when you go there for other stuff (this is clearly how most of my shopping happens in general), and these Marknad flax linen table runners are definitely in that category. For $5.99, it's the perfect soft neutral color and a nice quality fabric. But then I thought, why not jazz it up a bit? A little fabric paint and some thread, and it becomes a unique piece with a handmade touch. You can totally make it your own with whatever color paint/tassels you want to match your table decor. Here's how you do the hack...

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IKEA Marknad table runners (washed and dried)

Fabric paint

Paint brushes


Pearl cotton embroidery floss

Needle and thread (to match the tassel color)

A piece of cardboard, checkbook, or anything that's the width of the size tassel you want to make. This piece was about 3 inches wide.

A drop cloth or paper grocery bags to lay under the area you are painting.

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To make the tassels, start by wrapping the thread around the cardboard piece until you get your desired thickness for the tassels.

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After you have enough thread to create the thickness of tassel you want, slide the thread off the cardboard and cut the end off the spool of thread. Now you have one large loop of thread. Take a new piece of thread and start winding it around the top of the perpendicular to the main loop. Leave a tail as long as the rest of the tassel. Wrap it about ten times (see below).

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Tie a knot to secure it, and cut the end so now the two tails of the knot become a part of the tassel (see below).

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Now the fun part: Cut the whole bottom of the loop so now you have a fringey tassel! You'll need 4 for the corners of the runner, but they also work great on napkins or whatever else! I'm a little tassel obsessed since my mom taught me how to make them. In fact, another tassel DIY is coming soon!

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Now that your tassels are ready, set them aside and move on to the painting portion of the project. You'll want to line the bottom with a paper bag or something to protect your table from paint soaking through. I tested a few brushes with the paint on paper first to see which one gave me the width of stroke that I wanted.

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Paint your runner! Have fun with it. I loved these simple swatches going in different directions but the possibilities are endless!

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After the paint dries, iron the runner to set the fabric paint. Then you can sew on your tassels with the needle and thread.

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You're done! There are so many fun ways to do this DIY without having to reinvent the wheel. I also did a white version below with littler paint strokes (below). One thing to keep in mind is that these runners aren't super long (55") so if you want a runner than hangs off both ends of a long rectangular dining table, you might have to sew two of them together. I also think they look fine just centered on the table and not hanging off. Or just find another cheap runner that has the length and look you want and do the same hack!

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Photography by Ashley Burns