How To Make A No Sew Burlap Table Runner

Are you planning a wedding, party, or shower and in need of a few dozen burlap table runners?  Burlap table runners can be expensive, BUT there is a way you can save some serious money, even if you are a novice DIY’er and can’t sew.  I’m going to show you how to make these simple, no sew burlap table runners. In a later tutorial I will even show you how to take those used table runners (if they aren’t stained) and make a burlap wreath.

First, let’s measure your table (or tables) so your table runners are the perfect fit. You will need to measure both the width and length of the tables you are using.  I’m going to use a 3 foot wide by 6 foot long table as an example.  If your table is 36 inches wide, the table runner needs to be about 1/3 of the width of your table… or 12 inches.  Opinions vary on length.  Your runner will need to hang over the edge of your table, and it needs to have enough length so it doesn’t poke out.  You want it to lay flat.  If your table is 72 inches long you need to add at least 12 additional inches to the length which will give you 6 inches of overhang on each side. Some designers think 24 inches should be added to the length which would give you 12 inches of overhang on each side.  The important point to remember is to make the ends even and if you are creating multiple runners, you want to make sure they all have the same length for overhang.  For our tutorial we will be going with an additional 24 inches of burlap which will add 12 inches of overhang to each side. For our “theoretical” 3 foot by 7 foot table we would need a 12 inch wide by 96 inch long piece of burlap.

Now, let’s get the 411 on burlap.  Burlap Fabric is my go-to, online store for all my burlap.  If it’s burlap, they sell it and they have bolts of unfinished burlap very reasonably priced.  Their bolts generally come in 50 yard (150 feet) and 100 yard (300 feet) lengths and the widths vary from 10 to 24 inches and up.  This tutorial works with any width.  All you need to do is figure out how much you need.  If you need fifteen 12 inch by 96 inch runners you will need 120 feet of burlap.  Because there are imperfections, your best bet is to go ahead and buy the 50 yard roll of 12 inch burlap.

Whew… math lesson over!  But fair warning… burlap is itchy (or it is to me), and the fibers can be tortuous when they get embedded in your clothing.  I always wear old clothes and jump in the shower right after working with burlap.  If I have 25 runners to make, I normally cut all the runners one day then sew the next.  Burlap also sheds fibers like crazy. It’s a good idea to have something on hand like a swiffer duster and a swiffer sweeper to quickly gather up those pesky fibers.  AND don’t forget to put a trash can nearby to dispose of them.


  • A bolt of burlap.
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Painter’s or masking tape is wonderful if you are making multiple runners


Find an area long and large enough to roll out your burlap.  If you can’t find a table large enough, a hallway will work (just make sure you sweep and mop the area really well before using).  If you have multiple runners to cut you can use masking or painter’s tape to mark the the length. Then roll, cut, and repeat until you have the number of pieces you need.

Measure length you will need with measuring tape.
Cut burlap.

Now we need to fray all four edges on the piece of burlap you just cut. Burlap has a very loose weave which makes it easy to grab the long fibers. You will take one of the burlap threads/fibers along the edge which runs the length of the fabric and pull.  Keep doing this until you have about a 1/4 of an inch of frayed edge on the side.  Then repeat the same process on the other side.  For the end edges pull the fibers or threads until you have about an inch of fray on both ends.

Fray both side edges.
Fray both ends.

Voila!  You now have a no sew burlap table runner.

Frayed burlap.
Frayed burlap.

To keep creases to a minimum, roll your table runner into a tube. Use some of those burlap fibers/thread as ties, to keep the runner from unrolling.  Rolling it up makes it super easy to transport, especially if you have a few dozen you need to carry to your wedding reception site. Another plus… you can unroll it right onto the table!

The finished, no sew burlap table runner.