Dress Up the Table With an Autumnal Table Runner

Spray paint sassafras leaves to make an easy table runner that'll last through the season.

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Make a lush, leafy table runner or colorful centerpiece — this runner, though delicately constructed, is durable enough to last the season and is a colorful accent for any fall tablescape.

Metallic painted leaf table runner.

DIY Fall Table Runner

Table runner made of painted leaves.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

What You’ll Need:

  • fresh, flat leaves
  • spray paint
  • contact paper

Collect Flat Leaves

Start by collecting an assortment of leaves off branches within reach. One thing to test is how different leaves dry and shrivel. Big sassafrass leaves have a tendency to stay flat once they fall from the tree, whereas maple leaves curl and coil as they dry out. It’s easier to work with leaves that lay flat.

Spread the leaves onto a big spray paint-friendly surface.

Sassafras leaves for DIY table runner.

DIY Fall Table Runner

Table runner made of painted leaves.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Spray Paint Leaves

Pick an assortment of fall colors — we went with metallics and pumpkin. Coat one side of the leaf with a thin coat of spray paint. Allow it to dry, then go over it one more time until you achieve good coverage and let dry.

You're safe to handle them about an hour later, but let them ventilate outside overnight before putting near food (make sure to secure them so the wind doesn't blow them away).

Cut Contact Paper

Cut a piece of contact paper to fit your table at 12” wide.

Cut contact paper for painted leaf table runner.

DIY Fall Table Runner

Table runner made of painted leaves.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Lay the contact paper sticky side up, and peel back a small section. Stick the leaves individually on the adhesive surface. Overlap them to cover any stems, and organize and integrate the colors to create a flowing effect.

Peel back small sections at a time, and build upon the cascade until you reach the other end of the contact paper. Once you reach the end, trim off the remaining stems or leave them as part of the design.

Metallic painted leaf table runner.

DIY Fall Table Runner

Table runner made of painted leaves.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

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