Fall Table Setting Idea: Burlap and Polka Dot Table Runner

Fall Table Setting Idea DIY-Polka-Dot-Burlap-Table-Runner

I am planning ahead… for Thanksgiving. It is only about 5 weeks away and since it is my favorite holiday, I always want to make it extra-special and get a head start on the preparations including coming  up with a new fall table setting idea to make my dining room look holiday festive.

It is also the only time of year that I love to decorate with the color brown.

I have always been smitten with polka dots, especially when they are white on a brown background. Do you remember the the brown and white polka dot dress Julia Roberts wore in the movie, Pretty Woman?

Pretty Woman Brown and White Polka Dot Dress

A classic – one that will be ingrained in my mind forever. It made an impact.

Fall-table-setting-ideas DIY Burlap and Polka Dot Table runner

Instead of making the dress, I used it as my inspiration to make a stylishly festive table runner for my Thanksgiving table.


Using burlap makes it a no-sew project.


I found the brown burlap at Michaels in the fabric aisle.


To make and cut the white fabric dots perfectly round and the same size– I used my Silhouette machine and a new product – Printable Cotton Canvas that has an adhesive back.

If you don’t know what a Silhouette machine is, it is a digital cutting machine that works in tandem with your computer. You create your design on the Silhouette software on your computer or purchase a design at their online store, download it, and then print and cut it out using the machine.  It uses a fine blade to cut paper, cardstock, fabric, magnet paper, tattoo paper, vinyl, iron-on heat transfer, chipboard and more.

My circle design is simple, but you can create very complex and detailed designs  – the machine will cut it all out with exacting precision.  There are 2 sizes of machines – Cameo and a Portrait. I have a Cameo which is the larger of the two.

The reason I like to use the machine – it makes the ideas that I create in my mind – come to life – simply.  I am a designer, I may not ever get the chance to design a line of products for Target, but having a Silhouette lets me design anything I imagine in mass or one of a kind.  Being able to cut fabric with it – truly amazes me.  It completes my DIY arsenal of tools.

Now that I have one, I don’t know how I lived without it and I have only used fabric and vinyl to make monograms with it so far. For the holidays, I am making cards, labels, tags, and more using it.   I do not have to settle on mass merchandised items that may not be what I truly desire anymore.  That makes me one very happy DIY designer.

If you are interested in finding out more about Silhouette and their products I have more information at the end of the post.  They are running a special that includes a ton of goodies and a discount.

supplies needed:

  • Burlap  – I cut two yards in half lengthwise  to make a 16” x 110” table runner to fit the extension board I place on my dining room table to enlarge it for more seating
  • Silhouette Electronic Cutting Machine
  • 1 package of Printable Cotton Canvas
  • Large Circle pattern #2701 found at the Silhouette Online Store – I didn’t print anything on the circles before cutting, I simply had the machine cut out the circles
  • Silhouette Printable Cotton Canvas –  I used 6 sheets
  • Scissors
  • Optional:  Fabric glue or sewing machine if piecing  2 short lengths of burlap together to create a one long runner

Sihouette Online Store

Instead of taking the time to make perfect circles myself, I went to the Silhouette Online Store to purchase a circle pattern. It is like downloading on iTunes, except instead of music, you download designs for 99 cents.

sihouette Online Store Large circle pattern 2701

I bought and downloaded the Large Circle Pattern #2701 to my computer.

silhouette cotton canvas interface

I then opened it up in the Silhouette Designer Edition software installed on my computer.


I then hooked up my computer to my Silhouette Cameo and placed a canvas sheet on the cutting mat and pressed upload – then cut.


The software tells you exactly what to do to print and cut.  I did change the cutting blade setting to 10 to cut the thick canvas. Since I was not putting a design on the circles, I did not have to print an image on the canvas fabric first. I simply loaded the sheets right out of the package into the Silhouette and pressed “Cut”.  For the length of my runner, I needed 6 sheets of canvas.


Once the circles were cut out, I used the Silhouette hook to remove the excess fabric around the circles and then each circle from the cutting mat.


To cut burlap straight and create fringed edges, see the post I wrote on how to do it over at Momtastic.com

Once you have the runner cut to size and fringed, align the circles on a diagonal on the burlap making sure the design is centered evenly between the fringed edges.


To ensure the adhesive sticks, I pressed both sides of the burlap using the highest heat setting on my iron.  Let cool.


It is ready to use.


If food or drink get spilled, I will spot clean it or use a home dryer cleaning bag kit to clean it.


More Dining Table Setting Ideas

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  1. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I love what you have done with your wonderful Silhouette. Seems everyone crafty has one…… guess I am not crafty…. boo hoo. And I have always loved that dress. I had a Navy with white dots dress years back and I really miss it.

  2. Krista @thehappyhousie says:

    It is stunning Diane! I LOVE the polka dots- and that dress is such a classic. I really need one of those machines. Amazing tutorial, thanks. Pinning:)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Krista – I sometimes refer to polka dots as “happy circles” since they always make me smile when I see them. It took me awhile to finally get a Silhouette. I used to use a super large commercial one to make vinyl lettering for signs when I worked in retail display. I missed not being able to make cool things when I stopped working in display. I have done pretty simple projects with mine so far, but am looking forward to using it to make more complex designs.