CRAFTY: Craft/Card Table

Mar 26, 2013 by

We live in a little house, coming in just under 1200 square feet with one bathroom, things can get a little tight with four people and a big dog.  Mind you, I'm not complaining.  We are fortunate enough to own a home in Los Angeles, in a neighborhood in where neighbors actually we say hello by name and kids play together.  So when I mention our  small house it certainly isn't for sympathy, there's a lot of grateful going on over here.

Why I do bring it up is because unlike friends in big homes with extra rooms and basements, our small house doesn't have a room, or even a corner, dedicated to messy crafts.  Messy crafts typically happen at the dining room table, and I don't care how much newspaper you put down, some of the glue/paint/markers/glitter ALWAYS ends up on the table - enter the Vinyl Craft Table Cover!!

Now, if I'm going to be honest, and I am, I have to tell you that I probably would have toiled away for years and years using newspaper and gradually scrubbing the finish off my table one splotch of paint at a time.  So before I tell you how, I feel the need to tell you why.  You see, the inspiration for this table did not come from my love of my children's crafting time, but rather from my love for Mommy's poker game.

That's right.

P   O   K   E   R

THIS Mommy loooooooooooooves poker.  But I had a problem, well, an annoyance really.  My somewhat regular poker games have always been played on a joke of a card table.  A warped, stained, felt covered octagon P.O.S. that never stayed in place and only partially covered the table.  Play without it, you say?  I scoff at you as you are clearly not a serious card player.  One does not play serious cards on a wooden table with cards and chips sliding all over the place.  And besides, this girl loves the feel of the felt under her fingertips as she flicks her chips or throws her cards.

Enter the happy idea for a felt cover for my table.  Just a big piece of felt with it's edges fastened around a band of elastic.  It will hug that table like a perfectly fitted diaper cover.  

I shall take my bow now as the internet explodes in applause.  Yes.  I know!!! IT'S GENIUS!

It really was only an afterthought that I could make the other side vinyl and use it as a craft table.

Does that make me a bad mommy?  Probably.  But the good news is that you will benefit from this brilliant idea regardless of my motivations, so keep your judgements to yourself and just say, "thank you."

How to:

First of all, you need to have access to, and know how to use, a sewing machine.  No, I am not available for sewing lessons, but your local JoAnn fabrics is OR you can probably rope a seamstress friend into this simple endeavor in exchange for babysitting or baked goods.  It's really not very difficult to make.

1. Measure the length and width of your table top.  Also measure the circumference where you expect the elastic to go.  Note that you'll want the elasticized band to be able to slide UNDER something.  My table has a lip like the one pictured here

However, if the edge of your table drops straight down like this, you're going to need to add that vertical distance to the length and width of your table top so the elastic has something to slide under.  

2.  Add at least 6 inches to your table top (and side if necessary) dimensions to leave room for rolling the fabric around your elastic

3.  Time to head to your local fabric store to buy some fabric.  I used vinyl and felt, but there's a little room to play here.  My only suggestion would be to avoid stretchy fabrics unless you are a fairly experienced seamstress - they are extra tricky.  Ideally you'll want to avoid any seams on your table, so make sure the width of the fabric is at least as wide as the width needed to cover your table.  If your table is wider than the widest roll of fabric you can find, then you'll have to add seams.  The simple way would be to have a seam going down the center of the table.  However, if you're handy with the sewing machine and want it to look just purrrrrrrrfect, then I'm sure you'll come up with a clever way to keep the seams at the edge of the table.  Purchase 3/4 to 1" wide heavy duty elastic that will run the circumference of your table.

4.  Back at home, get out your sharpy.  Place the Vinyl on your table fabric side up, making sure the material is centered on the table.  Trace the top of your table with the marker.

5.  Leaving the vinyl side down, place the felt on top, smoothing out any wrinkles.

6.  Now this part is important, trust me here, you MUST pin the fabrics together along the line you drew.  Not only will this keep your felt from puckering on the vinyl, but it'll tell you where to sew.

7.  Sew the fabrics together right over the outline you drew of the table top.  Yes, I know you can't see the line anymore, but if you were careful how you pinned it, you should be able to suss it out pretty easily.  It doesn't have to be perfect, just close.  This round of topstitching will help define the tabletop area and keep it smooth once you start gathering the material around the elastic.

8.  Once you've sewn it together, lay it on the table, felt side up to make sure you don't have any big wrinkles.  It should lay there pretty smoothly.

9.   Here comes the tricky part, because this is where YOU have to make a judgement call.  Decide where you want the elastic to go, and then trim the fabric about 3 inches below that line.

10.  Depending on the size of your table, you may need some help for this part.  Take your 3/4 to 1" heavy duty elastic and run it around your table approximately where you want it to rest when the cover is on the table. The elastic should be on there tightly, it'll stretch over time, so either A) Pull it tight, pin it where you plan to sew the ends together and cut off the excess  OR B) measure it to fit the table then remove about 6 - 12"  (6 for a small table, 12 for a larger one), pin it and sew the ends together.

11.  For this step you're going to have to sew as you go.  Just roll the edges of the fabric up over the elastic and top stitch the fabric (being careful NOT to sew through the elastic).  The fabric should be somewhat longer than the elastic, so it will gather a fair amount in order to get all of the fabric to fit around the elastic.  

This gathering is essential to allow your non-stretchy fabric the ability to stretch over the edges of the table. 


You now you have your very own craft/card table cover that rolls up and can be hidden away in the linen, game or craft closet.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Felt can shrink but vinyl doesn't so if you wash and dry this item expect to be unhappy with the result.  Spot clean or dry clean the felt.   

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