From Annie Sloan Paints Everything (CICO Books, $24.95; www.rylandpeters.com). Photography by Christopher Drake.

This easy custom tablecloth DIY will give your table a new shot of style

Annie Sloan

What could be simpler than a piece of fringed fabric printed with a tiny bit of paint using some found objects from my tool box?

But with a simple idea like this, the skill lies in finding a good piece of fabric of the right weight and keeping the design very simple and uncomplicated.

For my piece I chose some of my Colored Linen in Old Violet & Old White which has a tumbled look and a pronounced texture so it matches the slightly crude and unpredictable nature of the printing. The pulling of threads to make a fringe also helps to give this runner a robustness. The little dots and circles are quite delicate and restrained in contrast. The color chosen is also important so the contrast is not too great.

I had great fun finding things for printing. I raided my tool box for things that would make circle shapes. I found a metal piece from a curtain pole, a giant wall plug, an assortment of nails and screws, and a pencil – all perfect for making a range of dots, rings and spots. You can make rectangles, lines, squares or triangles with objects that are already around your house.

I made a series of lines along the width of the runner, marking them randomly and irregularly. One of the joys of hand painting is that you can make an apparently repeated pattern that is in fact be quite irregular! Some of the lines of dots are made from many dots and others are made from just a few larger circles. The lines are also not regularly placed along the length either. If it’s your first time printing a pattern, keep your design simple with just one or maybe two colors. 

From Annie Sloan Paints Everything (CICO Books, $24.95; www.rylandpeters.com). Photography by Christopher Drake.

Materials

  • Mix mat
  • Old Violet & Old White Annie Sloan Colored Linen
  • Emperors Silk Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan
  • Nails, screws, bolts etc. for printing
  • Small flat brush
  • Wadding table protector (something soft to print on)

Instructions

1. I am not a lover of measuring things, but it’s important to find roughly find the center of the fabric to keep the design well balanced and the lines straight. My method simply means folding the runner in half, and half again. Continue with this until you have the desired amount of sections. Press firmly to make a fold mark on the fabric which then act like guidelines for your design.

From Annie Sloan Paints Everything (CICO Books, $24.95; www.rylandpeters.com). Photography by Christopher Drake.

2. Brush a small amount of Emperor’s Silk onto your mix mat. The mix mat allows you to mix colors easily and can be used again and again.

From Annie Sloan Paints Everything (CICO Books, $24.95; www.rylandpeters.com). Photography by Christopher Drake.

3. Take your printing objects –I started with the fairly bold wall plug as it was not the biggest nor the smallest– and test each piece by dipping and printing it a couple of times on the mix mat to check that it has enough paint on it and that it is making a complete print.

From Annie Sloan Paints Everything (CICO Books, $24.95; www.rylandpeters.com). Photography by Christopher Drake.

4. Print onto the fabric. Using the soft wadding and table protector helps enormously to get a good print as you need something soft for the fabric to sink into as the hard metal prints.

From Annie Sloan Paints Everything (CICO Books, $24.95; www.rylandpeters.com). Photography by Christopher Drake.

5. Continue on with each of your objects. I chose the end of a screw next as it is the next size down. I printed onto the fabric using the crease as a guideline to keep my line of dots straight.

From Annie Sloan Paints Everything (CICO Books, $24.95; www.rylandpeters.com). Photography by Christopher Drake.

6. I then used the largest of the circles to make the design balanced and complete my lines.

7. Dip pencil into the paint and place small dots in the centre of the circles to give some difference to the repeated dots. Once dry, iron fabric to set the paint. Wash when necessary on a low heat.