Printed Table Runner from my newest book Annie Sloan Paints Everything

This is probably one of the easiest projects in the book and fun to try out with kiddos! It is simply a piece of fringed fabric printed with a little bit of paint using objects from my toolbox. What could be easier? However, the skill lies in finding a good piece of fabric of the right weight and keeping the design simple and uncomplicated. For this piece I used my Annie Sloan Coloured Linen in Old White and Old Violet. This has a tumbled look and a pronounced texture that matches the slightly unpredictable nature of the printing. The little dots and circles are quite delicate and restrained in contrast. The color chosen is also important, so the contrast is not too great.

I had fun raiding my toolbox for objects to make circular shapes, including a piece from a drape (curtain) pole, a rawl plug, pencils and an assortment of nails and screws – all perfect for making dots, rings, and spots. So, choose to make rectangles, lines, squares or triangles and find suitable things for printing. Kid-friendly in this case! I made a series of printed lines along the width of the runner, marking them randomly and irregularly. One of the joys of hand-printing is the way you can make an apparently repeated pattern look quite irregular!  So some of the lines are made from many dots and others just a few larger circles. To keep the design simple, use just one or maybe two colors.

You will need:

Chalk Paint®  in Emperors Silk

Annie Sloan Coloured Linen in Old White & Old Violet

Small flat brush

Annie Sloan MixMat

Selection of circular objects, such as rawl plugs, tips of pencils and pen caps

Batting (wadding) – i.e. the type often used for quilting- or something similary soft to press into

Table protector (such as an olicloth), to stop paint going onto and sticking to table

Iron and ironing board

How to Do It: 

1. Tear your fabric to size so you get a straight edge. To do this, make a small cut then tear.

2. Create frayed edges by pulling away threads until the fringe is 2.5cm all around. You can do this by hand or use a seam ripper to help you.

3. I am not a lover of measuring things, but it’s important to find the approximate center of the runner so that you can keep the design well balanced and the lines straight. My simple method involves folding the runner in half and then in half again. Continue folding this way until you have the desired number of sections. Press firmly to make a fold mark in the fabric – this will give you guidelines for your design.

4. Brush a small amount of Emperor’s Silk onto the MixMat. The mat allows you to mix paints and can easily be used again.

5. Take your printing objects – I started with a fairly bold rawl plug, since it was not the biggest nor the smallest of the pieces. Test the piece by dipping it in the paint and printing a couple of times on the MixMat to check that it has enough paint on it and is making a complete print.

6. Print the circular shapes on the fabric. Using the soft batting (wadding) and table protector beneath the fabric helps enormously to get a good print, as you need something soft for the fabric to sink into as the hard metal prints.

7. I then chose the end of a screw because it was the next size down, printing onto the fabric and using the fold as a guideline to keep the line of printed dots straight. I worked along the crease.

8. I then used the largest of the circle-making devices to ensure that the design was balanced, and continued making the lines.

9. Dip the pencil into the paint and place small dots in the center of some of the circles to give some variety to the repeated dots. Once dry, iron the fabric to set the paint. Wash as necessary on a low temperature.


Annie Sloan Paints Everything CICO Books, $24.95; Photography by Christopher Drake