You really can do it yourself: Revamp and relax with oilcloth

[ 10 ] February 6, 2011 |

So what was going through my mind when I decided to buy a white table? It has a drawer on each end, so that was kind of practical, right? The thing is, in our small home, this is the table: our breakfast, lunch and dinner table, our homework table, our decorate-Easter-eggs table. Following meals I was either shaking out a tablecloth at the back steps or diligently scrubbing. Sometimes I would succumb and declare “What the heck!” and let scrapes and marks be. And then, I discovered oilcloth which is fabric treated with oil to make it waterproof.

Kitchen - beforeOilcloth sellers are just a Google search away but I bought from a vendor recommended by a friend. At $8 a yard for the pattern I chose, I knew this project would low-risk.

When the oilcloth arrived, I placed it over my table and wrapped the top as I would a present; making neat “hospital corners” at the edges and trimming and tucking any overages covertly beneath the overhang of the table top. Because I can be fickle when it comes to decorating, I chose to secure the under-sides with easily removable blue painter’s tape as opposed to using staples.

Nine months of dinners, spills and school projects later, the oilcloth is still looking great. It’s very easy care, has saved me lots of time in scrubbing, and best of all it is cheerful and unique. Give it a try to protect a nice table, make-over an old table, or liven up a dull one.

Tip: Use leftover scraps to cover recipe books.

Category: design/decor


Elyse Major

about the author ()

Writer and self-proclaimed “tinkerer” ELYSE MAJOR, is the author TINKERED TREASURES (CICO Books). She also contributes to publications such as Romantic Homes and Romantic Country and is currently at work on a second book due for publication in spring 2014. Elyse lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two boys. Visit her at tinkeredtreasures.com.

Comments (10)

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  1. Michelle says:

    Also have a white table and small house. Love this idea, will try it this weekend (when grandma is here to help 🙂

  2. Margaret says:

    I kid you not; last night I was sitting at my computer wondering, “uh, what’s the name of that fabric with like, you know that you can wipe off, and where can I get some?”. Beautiful!

  3. Anisa Raoof Anisa says:

    I love when answers and ideas come just when needed sometimes.

    And I have Elyse to thank for all her past home projects (http://kidoinfo.com/you-really-can-do-it-yourself-motivating-tips-from-a-mom/) to motivate me to do my own. And the picture of Margaret’s open cheerful living room (http://kidoinfo.com/the-handmade-parent-margaret-owen/) to make me finally paint and spruce up my living room and dining room after 10 years (pre-kids!): http://anisadesigns.com/2011/01/2011-home-trends/

  4. What a great idea! I’m so sick of our kitchen table and it’s so dark. Maybe I’ll try this. I wonder if you can do it on a table with leaves?

  5. Stephanie says:

    Great idea! Was just bemoaning the state of our play-doh and food-encrusted, colored-on table. Will order a couple yards asap!

  6. Elyse Major elyse says:

    jeanine – i think it could work on a table with leaves, you will just need to cover each section separately.
    anisa – you are so sweet. so glad you added the link to margaret’s post because i loved that article and forgot about it! beautiful.
    michelle – super easy to do. minutes!

  7. Trish says:

    Great idea. We have a heavy duty waterproof tablecloth from IKEA that we use the same way, but now I’m thinking different patterns… Might have to get me some oilcloth.

  8. kelly says:

    I’ve often wondered if I was the only one who can’t keep up with my Everything table. I often wonder how my childhood table was so clean. Oil cloth will be happening this week!

  9. Michelle says:

    LOVE this! I’ll be trying it out myself ASAP!

  10. Repprisa says:

    I just read that due to the use of phthalates, oilcloth is not recommended for use with young ones. I’m trying to find an alternative.

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