Want to try painting a tablecloth? Here’s what you need to know, including how to choose the right paint and pattern!
We were gifted several cheap polyester tablecloths. They are basic white, very lightweight, and inexpensive. The sort of tablecloths that are used to cover picnic tables at weddings. Honestly, they’re the sort of tablecloths that aren’t useful for anything besides a wedding! (At least not at our house, where spilling tomato sauce and cherry juice is commonplace).
However, we decided they would make perfect tablecloths for our outdoor kitchen at our cottage! The only trouble is that white was never going to be my favorite. Also, they were so thin that they would pretty much blow away with the slightest breeze.
So we decided to paint them!
Tips for painting a tablecloth
We did two different painting methods: spray painting and sponging. Both options worked great!
Here are a few tips and tricks for success:
- If you are painting on a synthetic tablecloth, make sure to use paint that can stick to synthetic fabrics. Pretty much anything will stick to cotton or linen, so it’s not really an issue with those fabrics.
- Work in a large, flat outdoor space, so whatever you use as a stencil stays nice and flat. Outdoors is also better so you don’t breathe in all the paint fumes.
- Prewash your fabric to remove any chemicals that may have been used in the manufacturing and to preshrink the fabric.
- If the tablecloth is going to be used for picnics and outdoor dining, then use outdoor paint to prevent fading.
Stripes, lace, and other patterns
If you are a talented painter, someone with a lot of time on your hands, or just really interested in using a tablecloth as a canvas, then you could just get a set of acrylic paints and paint a picture. But here are a few ideas for the rest of us.
- Old lace: We had an old lace tablecloth that was permanently stained as well as burnt in one spot. No one was ever going to use it as a tablecloth… so we used it as a stencil for one of our tablecloths! It worked amazingly well. (See photos).
- Geometric stripes: Masking tape is perfect for making a striped tablecloth.
- Leaves or other found objects: Large leaves or shapes cut out of cardboard can also be used as stencils. If you have a particular pattern in mind, you can even buy stencils.
- Splatter or sponge painting: Make an artsy tablecloth with splatter or sponge painting.
- Old tablecloth
- Stencil (see section above for options)
- Paint (spray paint or acrylic paint)
- Prewash the tablecloth.
- Lay the tablecloth out in a well-ventilated area. Carefully place your stencil(s) over top of the tablecloth.
- Apply a layer of paint either using a can of spray paint or sponge paint with acrylic paint.
- Let the tablecloth dry completely before removing the stencil.
- Done! It's that easy.