Ahhh, the gloriously coloured leaves of autumn, on trees, on the ground and creeping along a fence – the colours and shapes so bright on this cloudy dull day. A thought flashed into my mind – remembering when I was little,  those walks to the park, donned in woolly hats, mittens and gumboots, collecting leaves and pasting them on paper, or using an old toothbrush to spatter paint around them outlining their shapes. So with this version being a little more grown-up, we can still tap into our inner child, yet make something pretty for a rustic barn or shearing shed wedding.


Materials needed:

– Hessian in the colour of your chioce – the quantity you buy will depend on the length you want your table runner to be. (As hessian is quite wide you may get 2 – 3 runners per length of fabric) We bought ours from Spotlight

– Metallic Spray paint – we used White Knight Gold and Plasti-kote Projekt Paint in Copper

Autumn leaves

– Scissors, sewing pins, measuring tape

– Sewing machine or a fray stopper liquid – optional


Cut the selvedges from your hessian. Decide on the finished size of your runner. You will need to add extra centimetres on all sides for your fringing and for crooked cutting.  (We added a 5 cm fringe on all sides of the runner plus 3 cms extra on all sides for crooked cutting). Measure and cut your runner.


Take your pin and start lifting your thread until you are able to pull one thread down the length and width of your runner. This will give you a straight line to use as a cutting guide. Trim your runner – all your edges should now be straight.

Now start your fringing. Keep pulling your threads until you have a fringe that is your desired width.


Use your sewing machine on a zig zag stitch and stitch around the runner, stitching around the corners diagonally for extra firmness. Alternatively, you could also use a few blobs of a fray stopping product along each edge. Iron your runner if needed.


Take your runner into a well ventilated area, and lie it on a drop cloth on an even surface, with no folds or creases. This will ensure your leaves will lie as flat as possible. Arrange your leaves on the runner.


Hold your spray can approximately 30cm above the leaf you want to spray around. Spray in short bursts around each leaf. I kept the spray as light as I could to keep the edges of the leaves a little blurry and subtle. If you want a sharper outline keep the can at the same height but spray a again, until you get the effect you want.

Tip: Practise your spraying on a scrap piece of fabric to experiment with getting the effect you want.

Allow the paint to dry overnight.


Project and images by Ms Polka Dot