Monday, October 25, 2010

Personalized Aisle Runner Tutorial

Our personalized runner was by far my favorite wedding detail. A few weeks before my wedding I wanted to incorporate something personalized into our wedding decor. I came across the Original Aisle Runner and from the moment I saw it, I knew I had to have one. Back then I didn't know of anyone else really making them and well, since they were the "originals" I went for it. These women did an amazing job in a short amount of time. They were so helpful and flexible--I really did adore the final result as well as working with them. The runner for our wedding was gorgeous.

Anyway, fast forward three years and a bride I know wanted a personalized runner but was dealing with some tight budget constraints and even less time (a little over a week before the wedding). She saw some things I had made in the past and wondered if I could personalize a runner for her. Although I had never made one before, I was so excited about the challenge! My mind raced thinking, "should I use a projector to project the image on to the runner? Or, trace the image then paint?" Then, I remembered! I should try the freezer paper technique I saw over at MADE. ( Dana gives great directions, so I suggest you go over there to get a full understanding of the process from her blog.)

There are many techniques to use, but I knew my hands weren't that steady, especially after a couple shots of caffeine and holding my cuddly infant all day. So I decided I'd rather use my shaky hands to cut out a stencil rather than paint freehand on the runner and ruin it. Below is how I used a freezer paper stencil to create a personalized aisle runner.

Poster sized Monogram
Fabric Paint
Exacto Knife
Freezer Paper
Paint Brushes
Patience (and maybe a baby sitter)

Create a monogram and have it blown up poster size. I had this done at Staples for $4.

Trace your image on the freezer paper (shiny side down). I did this in two sections. Because the middle initial and scroll would be a different color than the other initials.

While tracing the letters I wrote "save" on the inside areas of the letters I needed to keep- I also noted what letter they belong to. As you are throwing away paper these can easily be mistaken as scraps.

See why its important to keep those inside parts...those little scraps can make or break the whole thing!

Measure the aisle runner and decide where you want the monogram placed. Then unroll your runner and measure. As I unrolled one end I rolled up the other to protect it from little toddler feet waiting to trample it.

I ironed down my first stencil. And replaced the "inside pieces."

Next I began painting, being sure to place something underneath to protect my work surface (wax paper, freezer paper shiny side up, or cardboard should prevent leaks and sticking. Don't use a towel like me! ). Now, the hardest part was drying because my daughter is a cat napper I had to move quickly. I decided to use a blow dryer to dry between layers. I would suggest avoiding this if possible, I believe the dryer made the freezer paper buckle making more touching up necessary.

When it was all dry I peeled the freezer paper and did a happy dance. As expected, there were a few places I needed to touch up.
(Also, note the towel underneath my runner: do not copy ... I had to learn the hard way).

I then lined up my second stencil and ironed it on, being careful not to iron directly on the painted area.

Painted my second stencil... blow-dried, peeled, and happy danced.

The final product.

I wanted to add a little more to the runner, so I took the last part of a poem from the wedding program and painted it towards the top of the runner. I tried to make a stencil but quickly gave up because of all the small pieces. Instead, you can trace your letters SHINY SIDE UP, place it underneath your runner, tape it down and paint directly on top. This way worked out well for the smaller font but I think I prefer the stencil for the larger letters.


  1. I see that my guess from your previous post was not too far off the mark. Congratulations on another beautiful project!

  2. What a great idea. I love it! Enjoy your blog.

  3. Beautiful! The words you added at the end were a nice touch!

    And all this with 2 little ones and a husband at work!! Wait until Caleb and Chloe realize how impressive their mom is!