Emily Winters: Tablecloth Upcycle

I love a nice tablecloth, although not always for the obvious purposes. When I spied this striped number at Ikea, I picked it up for a few reasons:

  • It was big. I knew I could cover a lot of ground with the Ikea GLÄNTA, a rectangle of fabric sized 57″ x 94″. It allowed me to make what you see in this post, and I still have extra for when I decide to make something else!
  • The olive green matched my color palette perfectly, while the white stripes added a new pattern and dimension.
  • It was radically inexpensive. It’s hard to find a nice piece of printed cotton canvas for just $19.99.

Getting crafty with the IKEA GLÄNTA.

Ready to see what I was going to make of it? Check out my latest project, and then tell me what you’d consider making out of a piece of pretty tablecloth.

There certainly was more wrapped in that little Ikea bundle than you’d believe:

About to get crafty with a big tablecloth.

Because the olive green color flowed so well with the rest of the colors in my home, I set out to make a few new home accents. You too should consider this challenge if you find an inexpensive tablecloth or sheet of fabric at a secondhand store; a little fabric can go a long way. In the past, I’ve used sheets like this to make bedroom curtains and shower curtains, woven rugs and casual dresses, tote bags and dog beds, but this sheet was going be stretched in a new direction:

1. New pillow cases:

This newly sewn set of shams was quick to make, and helps to pull in some of the olive green into other rooms of our home that don’t feature that specific color prominently. The pop of color serves as a nice accent amongst the grays, blues, and whites in our bedroom, and as an extra cushion in the white sunroom. And they were easy to make too.

Making pillow cases from a piece of tablecloth.

Quick tutorial: Take careful measurements, or use an existing pillowcase to form a template on your fabric. If you don’t want to deal with installing a zipper, add a few inches extra to one edge of the fabric, and then overlap the edges to create a little access hole in the back of the sham. Sew around all four edges, flip right-side-out, and stuff with your pillow form. If the flaps on the backside seem loose, adding a button or set of ties can help keep the case closed nicely.

2. New placemats:

It’s not a far stretch of the imagination, turning one table covering into another table covering, but because we don’t often use full tablecloths and usually opt for washable placemats, converting some of this already-heavy fabric into a set of 8 matching placemats worked really well.

Turn a tablecloth into individual placemats.

Using a cutting board as a template (something just a little bigger than a traditional placemat), I cut out six to match in size, and then hemmed the edges by rolling them in twice and stitching the edge straight with the sewing machine. The finished pieces look great with our dinnerware, and add a fun little pop of color to our tables both indoors and out.

Making placemats out of a tablecloth.

3. Artwork!

It would have been one thing to frame a simple scrap piece of this fabric (pretty idea!) but I took it a step further, turning a few pieces of fabric into framed canvases in two different executions:

Creating art using pieces of scrap fabric.

In one, I painted on top of the fabric to create a custom print with a cursive letter J for Julia’s bedroom, but in the other frame I decided to experiment by layering other textiles to create a scene, in this case, using paper elements trimmed from an old Anthropologie catalogue featuring Kiev Caroler Ornaments that translated nicely as singing girls on a hillside. And who wouldn’t like a little bunny?

Creating art using pieces of scrap fabric.

Consider all of the uses for such a large piece of fabric! What would you make for your home?

Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.


15 Responses

  1. Great job, I know this article gives best and additional methods to all, very enjoyable I found a lot of good and important points here. I am appreciating your content writing keep doing well.

  2. stephanie says:

    What you did is NOT upcycle as I understand the definition of "upcycle". You simply bought a piece of fabric and made some stuff out of it. Now if you had taken a tablecloth that had belonged to your grandmother for years and instead of throwing it away, made these things, THAT would be upcycle. The tablecloth in the bin at IKEA was not in jeopardy of ending up in a landfill anytime soon.

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  10. Darlene Thompson says:

    I could make a new pillow for the my dog bed

  11. Steph Knepper says:

    Sorry…use table cloth as a CURTAIN–not a train!

  12. Steph Knepper says:

    Great projects. use a table cloth as a train…simply throw over a rod..staple it at the edge, so it stays on rod, and cut napkins and place them over top of rod, as a pretty border across top.

  13. craftythriftydecoratingwifemom says:

    I got a Martha Stewart tablecloth covered with Hydrangeas in the same size. I only use a tablecloth when the old generation come over, that doesn't happen often, Would make great curtains.If I get them done (not high on my list now) I'll post on my blog.;

  14. [...] today’s post on DIY Network, I effectively set myself up for a new challenge: transforming a simple IKEA tablecloth into three [...]


About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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