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.


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

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!

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!

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

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). 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Suggested materials:

  • Doilies  (Heirloom; or Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/2nqqXxX))
  • Fabric Dye Kits  (Department store or Amazon (http://amzn.to/2n7WAPp))

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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 of 4 questions
  • 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?

  • Kathy Hall Williams
    on Jul 19, 2020

    Is this question stupid? But can I just spray paint doilies or paint them with a roller? I just want to glue the doilies onto things....any thoughts. It’s just crafting equals so many supplies! 😬 since I do a lot of different things. Thank you.

Join the conversation

3 of 142 comments
  • Bev Gastinger
    on Jan 13, 2020

    I love this and can't wait to try. Some of mine have stains on them, will that cause a problem. I have not been able to remove stains. Thank you!

    • Lisa
      on Jul 22, 2020

      Depending on the colors you use, you will see variations in color. This is not necessarily a bad thing depending on the look you are going for. I often use natural dyes from tea, coffee, flowers, foods and herbs. The colors can be more intense or they can be very subtle. The best thing to do is to just experiment on an old towel or cloth that you have around the house.

  • Donna B
    on Jan 19, 2020

    Your Grandmother would be so proud! Love this idea! Im addicted to doilies!

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