How To Make a No-Sew Table Runner Using Ribbon

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Boycott the tablecloth! Tablecloths mean spending time ironing and scrubbing on red wine stains, when I’d rather be cooking and celebrating with friends. Plus, if you spent as much time as I did picking out a dining table, why would you want to keep it under wraps?

Table runners bring some sparkle to the table while letting your table shine too. My problem is that our holiday decorations are purple and silver. I’ve Googled and Froogled and eBayed, but found nothing I liked in purple and silver.

With some help from Tinsel Trading, my vote for the most creative and colorful spot in Manhattan, I’m going DIY, but I just refuse to sew. Here’s the plan:

I’ll run the wide purple ribbon down the center of my table, sticking the ends under the table with strong, double sided tape. Next, I’ll carefully lay the vintage silver ribbon on top and secure it under the table too. In two or three spots down the middle of my ribbon runner, I’ll use double sided tape again to stick the silver ribbon to the purple. The extra tape will help keep the layers of ribbon lined up.

The sleek silver glass glitter sleigh ($28.00, from Wendy Addison, available in limited quantities at Tinsel Trading) will skate down the center of the table with some silver wrapped chocolates from Li-Lac. Tea lights will make the glass glitter gleam. If you have hopes for re-using your ribbon, don’t let candle wax drip on it.

To do this project for your table, make sure to take exact measurements of your table, just as you would if you were tablecloth shopping, and allow for extra to tuck under the table.

As you select colors, think about contrast. If your table is light, like mine, use a wide dark ribbon that’s sure to show up on the table. Do not use ribbon that was wire in it. The wire will crimp as guests and platters bump it.

If you’re easily intimidated in these crafty shops (as I am), do ask for help. When I explained my vision, the Tinsel Trading employees were lively and quick with suggestions on how to build on my concept. When I said I didn’t like how the silver ribbon I’d found looked, they ran to the other room and pulled out a beautiful piece of vintage silver ribbon — the kind costumer desginers use to make military uniforms for movie stars. To finish the look, I’m planning on using the Ivy League looking ribbon to hang a wreath over a mirror.

If you fall for this boutique vintage ribbon like I did, expect to pay for it. The silver ribbon was $18 a yard, while the purple was $7 per yard. One yard is three feet.

Tell us: are tablecloths banned in your place too or do you love them as much as my mom does? If you have holiday table setting pictures or ideas, please send them in.

(Thanks to Lori of Tinsel Trading for her patient help with my vision in sugarplum!)