DIY Oilcloth Table Cover

March 9th, 2009


I seem to be on a mission to ruin our dinning table with all of my craft projects. In order to save our meal companion from further abuse I thought it’d be a good idea to make a work tablecloth. I wanted something that could be cute enough for an informal dinner and durable enough for a kids painting party. It took me about a half a day to make and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Below are step-by-step instructions for the whole project.


Materials Needed

Oil Cloth
Measuring Tape
Sewing Machine


Step 1: Measure the surface of your table. Determine how much of an over-hang you’d like. I left 5 inches on either side. Measure and cut your oilcloth to the table dimensions plus the overhang for each side. My table, for example, is 35″ x 35″ plus 5″ over-hang on each side so I cut my cloth to 45″ x 45″.

Step 2: To make the scalloped edge I created a template of 3″ scallops on my computer which you can download here. Print the template and trim out with scissors or an x-acto knife. On the the back of the oil cloth mark where the over-hang is on each corner. This will determine where the scallops will begin and end (see the image below). Trace the scallops pattern onto the back of the oil cloth with a pencil along the edge of the cloth. Once the scallops are drawn along each side cut them out with fabric shears.
Step 3: To stiffen up the scallops and minimize curling, stitch along the edge of the cloth about an 1/8″ in. I used a wide zig-zag stitch with a low tension level on my sewing machine so that the stitches were close together. Any decorative stitch would work here.

Step 4: For an accurate fit, place your cloth upside down and centered on your table. At each of the corners grab the extra cloth and pin it vertically and snug to the table edges. Sew shut with a straight stitch.

Step 5: To finish it off, trim the extra fabric from the corners,turn right side out and enjoy!

*If you want your scallops to meet exactly at the edges you may need to adjust the size of the scallops to fit your table. Use this formula to determine the specific scallop width for your table: Divide the length of your table by 3. Round that number up to the nearest whole number. Then take the length of your table and divide it by that whole number. That’s how wide to make your scallops. You can make your own template using your computer’s creative software. Note: If your table is rectangular you’ll have to do that formula for both the long and short side.

41 Responses to “DIY Oilcloth Table Cover”

  1. Anna Says:

    What a clever and adorable idea! I love it.

  2. Treehouse Collective Says:

    So cute! I have lots of lovely oilcloth collected from my days working at Cath Kidston in London. This will be worthy cause for a cut up! Thanks for the idea : )

  3. Lynn Says:

    I love this. But I have an oval table. Any suggestions for that…short of sawing off the curves. 😉



  4. Kathleen Says:

    Hi Lynn, I have to admit that I am quite the amateur sewer so you’ve got me stumped on the oval table. It seems like there has to be a way! If I was going to try it out I would probably cut the oval out slightly larger than your table plus an inch for a seam. Then cut a long strip for the over-hang. Cut out the scallops along the bottom edge of the long piece and then sew the two pieces together. Without having tried this I don’t really know if it would work though. :p I’m going to do a little test and I’ll get back to you. Kathleen

  5. Rachel Says:

    Aww, that is so sweet, I love it! Thanks so much for sharing this, I’ll be linking tot this post.

  6. laurel Says:

    what a great project! i love, love, love this!!!

  7. robin Says:

    i love oil cloth! i have never seen it in anything but the big funky retro type floral and fruit patterns, which i love… but polka dots are fun too!

  8. kickpleat Says:

    Oooh, this is simply amazing! I love scalloped anything…and for a tablecloth, perfect!

  9. ashlynn Says:

    Wow – I love this idea – who wouldn’t want to play a shower game when it is this cute?!

  10. Nicole Says:

    I love this idea. It looks great too. I have an extra large table (about 54″ by 72″) and wonder where I can find oil cloth large enough (and cute!) Any suggestions?

  11. Kathleen Says:

    I have only seen oilcloth come in 45″ wide rolls. I tried to find a source for wider oilcloth and didn’t have any luck. I’d suggest sewing two pieces together and having the seam run down the center. Sorry I can’t be of more help. If anyone knows where to find wider rolls of oilcloth please share!

  12. Marian Says:

    Looks great!

  13. ning fathia Says:

    I love the scalloped border!

  14. paula Says:

    love this idea. may need to try it.

  15. Treehouse Collective Says:

    Hiya Nicole – I just measured a piece of my Cath Kidston fabric and it is 60″ wide. You can order from a good selection at I’m loving the ‘Breakfast’ print!

  16. Kate Says:

    Practical and adorable! I really love how you stitched down the corners to make it fit perfectly. It’s a slipcover for your table. I’m looking forward to etching out some time to create my own.

  17. Janice Says:

    I love this idea. I did free-hand scallops on fabric once–but your template and stitching on the oil cloth is brilliant. I recently picked up a vinyl table cloth for my craft table and I will definitely follow your instructions.

    Thanks for the share~

  18. diy time « mustard and sage Says:

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  19. Jen Says:

    Oilcloth is the best! Thanks for the project.

  20. Tutorial: Pretty oilcloth cover for your table « Sewing Says:

    […] Just because a tablecover is practical doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty, too.  Take this oilcloth tablecover by Twig and Thistle, for example.  The fitted corners and scalloped edges say dressy, but the wipe-clean surface says practical.  Feeling inspired yet?  Get the tutorial from Twig and Thistle. […]

  21. Anne Weaver Says:

    Beautiful!!! I love that it’s pretty and practical at the same time! I posted a link to your project on Craft Gossip Sewing Blog:…for-your-tabletutorial-pretty-oilcloth-cover-for-your-table/2009/03/15/

  22. Auntie Jo Jo Says:

    Love this. So pretty….I am addicted to tablecovers. This opens up a whole new world for me! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Cathy Says:

    This is a great idea! Besides painting, I was trying to think of a cute way to cover a kid’s tabletop. This cover will be great to keep the surface easy to clean. Thank so much for sharing.

  24. Marie-Eve Says:

    I love these red polka dots and the form of the tablecloth! This is funny and fits very well with this more serious black table and its chairs. Good choice, made with talent.

  25. Debbie Says:

    This is fantastic! I was looking for an outdoor table cloth in lieu of the plast table cloths at the party store for my son’s upcoming 1st birthday.
    Thank you!

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  27. jessica Says:

    Love the idea! I have a very large round table though! im not crafty at all but will give it a shot. Any suggestions on how to make the tablecloth fitted on a round table?


  28. Cynthia Says:

    I love this! My current table cloth is always moving and tearing. By the way, how do I do edges for a round table?? Any suggestions??

  29. Andrea L Says:

    Thanks for the great idea!

  30. heather Says:

    this is fab! just the thing i needed for my next craft show!

  31. Karin @ MadeByK Says:

    Your covered table is beautiful! Nice job.

    I saw some of the questions about what to do for a oval/round table, as well as your “theoretical” answer. Just wanted to let you know, what you described is essentially exactly what I did for a cover a few years ago (here’s a link with a photo: except mine didn’t have scalloped edges.

    Also, I used vinyl, which was NOT easy to work with. So thick!

    Now I got to wondering what it would look like if you did “Step 4” all along the curved edges – does that make sense? So instead of doing “Step 4″ just 4 times, once at each corner, you’d do it a bunch of times. Perhaps it could even be done every 3” (or so) and then you could cut the scallops from seam line to seam line. Hmmm, wonder what that would look like? And if it would be easier than what I did…

    My red cover is starting to look beat up and I’ve been thinking about making a new one — I think I just found my inspiration for how. Thanks!

  32. Kathleen Says:

    Hi Karin, thank you so much for the insight and the link, your cover turned out so perfect! I have been testing this out on some smaller pieces but still didn’t feel confident giving advice on the best way to do it. What you described does make sense and I think that would probably be the best way to approach it. The thickness of oilcloth makes it a challenge to work with so I think the cuts are necessary. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

  33. Angela Says:

    Great project you’ve done there. My dad has used oilcloth for years on his tables.
    We use it on our patio table, but not being as creative as you, we just staple gunned it to the underside of the table! Last years piece was looking a bit faded now, so we just ripped it off and bought a new piece! Looks like a brand new table!
    Just wondering if anyone knew of a stockist of larger than 60″ wide oilcloth? We’ve just bought a 63″ round table, and don’t really wanted to have to sew 2 pieces together.

  34. kelly Says:

    OMG = that is so smart! Cute!!! Love it!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  39. Wendy Says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, I’ve been trying to puzzle out how to stop the oilcloth being yanked on the floor by my three boys. Amy husband didn’t want me to staple gun it on, so this is PERFECT! Thanks again! 🙂

  40. Midnight Hausfrau Says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thanks for this great post, idea and template. I’ve made this already twice and it never fails to impress my female friends. 😉 I’ve linked your post in my blog.

    Happy Crafting!

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