Kelly Fleming Smith
Kelly Fleming Smith
  • Hometalker
  • Mountain View, CA

Dyed Vintage Doily Table Runner

My grandmas' and great-grandmas' fingers worked countless hours to make these doilies to add beauty to their homes. They were yellowed and coffee-stained, sitting in a drawer at my parents' house. My mom offered them to me to re-purpose.
I LOVE seeing their beautiful handiwork highlighted and revived in my Dyed Vintage Doily Table Runner.

dyed vintage doily table runner


Dyes/Dye Kits
Large trays/cookie sheets
Protective Gloves
Squirt bottles/ Mixing bottles

dyed vintage doily table runner

Mix your dyes in squirt bottles according to package directions. If some of your doilies are made of synthetic fibers, add a little vinegar to your dye for color sustainability. 

Lay out your doilies on trays. Large ones can be folded in half to fit.  I recommend taking everything outside. It was raining throughout this project, but I didn't let it stop me!

dyed vintage doily table runner

One color at a time, slowly squirt the dye on layers of the doily designs. This part was super exciting for me. I loved how the color contrasts really made the beautiful designs of my grandmothers' handiwork come to life!

dyed vintage doily table runner

Don't worry about the colors bleeding into each other. That should happen. It will soften up the look of the final product. 

dyed vintage doily table runner

Gently squeeze out excess dye from each doily and place them in individual baggies.  Let them sit for 4-8 hours (depending on how bold you want your colors). 

dyed vintage doily table runner

This was an exciting load of laundry to remove from the dryer!

Remove the doilies from the bags straight into your washing machine. Wash with a little detergent and cold water on a gentle cycle. I threw a couple of old towels in with mine as "padding" for the roughness of the machine's agitator.  Tumble dry on low.  Remove and iron. I used spray starch to stiffen mine up a bit. 

dyed vintage doily table runner

dyed vintage doily table runner

Lay out your doilies and decide how you want to arrange them for your table runner. I ended up not using 2 of mine. They may become pillows in the future. 

dyed vintage doily table runner

Pin pieces and sew. If you look closely, you can see my straight pins holding together the pieces. 

Use a ziz-zag stitch in coordinating thread to sew the pieces together. It will be virtually invisible in the finished product.  I ironed it one more time after sewing. 

dyed vintage doily table runner

dyed vintage doily table runner
dyed vintage doily table runner

Suggested materials:

  • Doilies  (Heirloom; or (
  • Fabric Dye Kits  (Department store or Amazon (

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Kelly Fleming Smith

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Angela Stevens
    on Mar 18, 2017

    Love the ideas! After they were died, did you wash them in the same load? I would worry that they would fade on each other,. I have many and would love to do this.,
    • Kathy
      on Apr 13, 2017

      As a quilter, I can suggest a product called Color Catcher made by Shout and available at many grocery stores in the laundry aisle. You just put one sheet in the washer, and if there is any excess color in the water the Color Catcher absorbs it and keeps it from bleeding onto the other items in the wash. I love this idea, and can even vision the doilies being used in quilts!
  • Nira Flatley
    on Mar 19, 2017

    How did you get them from baking sheets to plastic bags without the colors running to other parts of the doilies?

    • Kelly Fleming Smith
      on Mar 20, 2017

      The dye grabs pretty well where it is first placed. I was surprised how little running occurred.

  • Olivia
    on Jun 6, 2018

    I love this project. Was wondering if you could use fabric paints mixed with water to color the doilies? Or if you think the dye would hold better?

Join the conversation

2 of 136 comments
  • Arlene Ellerbrock
    on Apr 3, 2017

    That is such an exquisite idea for those beautiful art pieces from 'yesteryear.' At first, when I saw the bold colors, I thought ugh! ...then, when I saw the beautiful wonderful lovely pastels, oh my! I'm going to be looking for some of those items at those funky thrift stores that have all the very old stuff that isn't really found in Goodwill anymore....Again, what a beautiful reuse of something very much an heirloom...
  • Kim
    31 minutes ago

    I love this! Rather than using dye, I found colored doilies. So easy and beautiful!

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