DIY Table Runner Using Scrap Wood

Learn how to build a DIY table runner using scrap wood with the step by step instructions. This wood block table runner can be easily customized in any color you like.

Scrap wood table runner with text overlay

Adding a table runner to your tablescape can elevate the experience.

Although table runners are mostly decorative, I think everything on the table should have a function.

This table runner is:

  • made using scrap wood
  • Acts as an insulator between the hot pots and the table top aka works like a trivet as well.
  • Can be easily customized with colors and length to match your visual style.
  • It can be rolled up for storage as well!

I made this table runner short (12″ x 36″) to sit on top of a fabric runner because that’s the amount of scrap wood I had but you could easily make it as long as you need!

close up of table runner

You will not believe how easy this project is! It does take a little bit of patience but the end result is totally worth it!

***This project is sponsored by Arrow Fastener. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible to bring you new projects.***

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Material Needed

Tools Needed

How to Make the Wooden Table Runner

The best thing about this table runner idea is that you do not need to stick with exactly the boards I used. You can make these with any size board.

Step 1: Identify the Boards

I went through my scrap wood pile and sorted the boards by type. I realized that I had many 1×2 and 2×2 boards that could be used. I also briefly considered using the 2×4 and 2×6 boards I had.

collection of scrap wood on floor

I decided to keep the table runner 3/4″ thick. This meant using 1×2 boards and cutting down the 2×2 or other sizes into 3/4″ thick pieces.

Step 2: Make the Cuts

Be sure to use a good blade for this step to eliminate a whole bunch of sanding later on. I use an 80-tooth miter saw blade which produces a 220-grit sanded equivalent finish.

cutting scrap wood on miter saw.
  • Set up a stop block on your miter saw.
  • Cut the 1×2 boards into 1 1/2″ pieces.
  • Cut the 2×2 boards into 3/4″ thick pieces.

I was low on the 2×2 boards so I ripped up some 2×4 scrap boards to make the 2x2s which I then cut down for the blocks.

cutting 2x2 board on miter saw

VERY important: A safety precaution:

  • Always let the miter saw come to a complete stop before picking up the blade. If the blade is still in motion, it will kick back the tiny pieces, nick them and they will fly off creating a hazard.
  • Do not cut shorter than 3″ pieces on the miter saw.

Step 3: Clean up the Blocks

If you use a good quality blade to cut, this will be a very short step.

  • Clean up any splinters
  • Give it a light sanding with 150-grit sandpaper.
  • Wipe down with a tack cloth
cleaning up pieces of scrap wood with a sanding block

Step 4: Stain

  • Stain the blocks in colors of your choice.

I chose to go with ebony, natural walnut, and gold and created a gradient from black to light brown.

staining scrap wood blocks in black and brown

Additionally, the end grain and the face grain take stain differently. This is a great way to also create variations of color.

I stained and arranged the blocks as I went so I got an idea of how many blocks were needed for each color. I was running low on the blocks and didn’t want to end up staining it a color I didn’t need.

staining and arranging scrap wood blocks for table runner

I did not stain the sides of the blocks but I later realized that it would have been good to do so. When you pick up the runner, you can see the unfinished edges.

Step 5: Glue the Blocks

Woman using Arrow glue gun to apply hot glue to block

Once the blocks were arranged, I used a nice dab of hot glue and glued them to the bottom fabric.

The GT300 is a high-temperature glue gun with a glue control knob making it easy to use. I used the Arrow Glue sticks with the glue gun.

Applying hot glue to another block

The hot glue has a very strong hold. In fact, I had made a test glue-up with a scrap 2×2 and I could not take it off without ripping the canvas.

Step 6: Top Coat

  • Clean and apply top coat

Once all the blocks are glued, clean up to remove any hot glue webs.

Wipe down with a tack cloth and apply the top coat finish.

woman applying top coat on table runner

I used a brush on the finish but in retrospect, I should have gone with a spray sealer. It would have made it so much easier to apply the finish.

And done!

wood block table runner on table with greenery

Lay it on the table and layer it with a fabric table runner if desired.

CLose up of the wood table runner

It makes a great statement piece to have on your table or a family meal. The face grain and the end grain absorb stain differently which leads to a natural variation of color. Plus, I like to see the various orientation patterns of the end grain.

Learn how to build a custom DIY table runner using scrap wood with the detailed step by step instructions.

DIY Scrap Wood Table Runner

Yield: 1 wood table runner

how to build a DIY table runner using scrap wood with the step by step instructions. This wood block table runner can be easily customized in any color you like.



  1. Gather an assortment of scrap boards in 1x2, and 2x2 sizes.
  2. Set up a stop block on your miter saw. Cut the 1x2 boards into 1 1/2" pieces and the cut the 2x2 boards into 3/4" thick pieces.
  3. Lightly sand the blocks using 150-grit sandpaper. Wipe down with a tack cloth.
  4. Stain the blocks in the colors of your choice. I used ebony, natural walnut, and gold.
  5. Glue the blocks using the Arrow GT300 glue gun.
  6. Clean and remove any hot glue webs, wipe down with a tack cloth and apply the top coat finish.

Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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