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.
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!
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!
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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.
I decided to keep the table runner ¾″ thick. This meant using 1×2 boards and cutting down the 2×2 or other sizes into ¾″ 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.
- Set up a stop block on your miter saw.
- Cut the 1×2 boards into 1 ½″ pieces.
- Cut the 2×2 boards into ¾″ 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.
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
Step 4: Stain
- Stain the blocks in colors of your choice.
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.
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
- Glue the blocks using the Arrow GT300 Glue gun.
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.
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.
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.
Lay it on the table and layer it with a fabric table runner if desired.
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.