I love making get-togethers feel extra-special -- from a small dinner gathering with friends to a child's birthday party. And I love a quick and simple project that I can whip up before guests arrive to make the atmosphere really festive.
A paper table runner can do just that -- it will brighten up and customize your table. Use the colors and patterns you love in interesting combinations to complement your dinnerware and the look of your party. Instead of sewing a runner from fabric or buying one at the store, here's a great way to use old scrapbook paper or gift wrap.
-- Scrapbook paper, wrapping paper or perhaps a foreign-language newspaper
-- Clear tape
-- Double stick tape
-- Sizzix die-cutting machine with decorative strip dies (optional)
-- Decorative-edged scissors (optional)
1. Lay out the paper you'll be using end-to-end on your table to get a rough sense of how much you'll need. Save some extra strips of paper to use for decorative side edges.
2. Cut the paper to be the length and width you like. If you're using multiple sheets of coordinating scrapbook paper, cut strips in varying widths and line them up in interesting ways -- almost like a paper quilt.
3. Flip the paper pieces over and use clear tape to tape them together, end-to-end. Once they're all taped together, flip the table runner to the right side. You're almost done.
4. Gather 2-inch strips of paper in a coordinating color to the table runner you just created. I love using my Sizzix die-cutting machine to make the decorative strips for the edges, but if you don't have one, you can use scissors that cut decorative border edges. Cut out the decorative edges, leaving about a half-inch on one side so you can attach them to the runner.
5. Once you've cut enough to run down all sides of your runner, start adhering them to the edges using double-stick tape. Put some tape along the top solid edge of your border and slide it underneath the edges of your runner to create beautiful borders.
This project is really versatile -- you can even paint your own designs on sheets of newsprint -- or lay out crayons and colored pencils at the table so guests can participate in the decoration!
(Dena Fishbein is the designer and artist behind many home, gift and paper products found at your favorite stores. To ask her how to embellish anything, visit her blog at denadesigns.com.)