Have you ever had this happen to your beautiful table linens? Or, have you ever done this to someone else’s beautiful tablecloth? It’s a horrible feeling. Some things, like spaghetti sauce, grape juice, mustard, etc. can leave permanent stains.
This is why my mom started using clear vinyl over her tablecloths. It was a “brain wave” that really solved a problem. It also made it possible for her to use her fabric tablecloths despite her four less-than-perfect children’s presence at the table. :-)
Because I had a clear plastic tablecloth over my cloth one and my beautifully embroidered centerpiece (a gift to me and made in West Africa), it looked like this after I wiped it:
Yes, there is a shine on the surface, but to me it’s a small price to pay to be able to use my nice things without having them ruined and without making my family or friends stressed about spills. :-)
They are also useful for preserving fine word work on a table surface, covering tables that have grooves that collect crud, glass tables, etc. I like to put one over flat placemats too so that I can use them without the monkey fuss of wiping them off all the time. My mom has a slight indentation in her table and so she has put puzzles on her table and then covered them as a table decoration. You could also use this to protect table runners. Be creative – this might make you decide to use that beautiful old quilt you have on your dining room table! It’s a great way to add color to your table too.
A few suggestions:
1. Buy the heaviest clear vinyl you can afford at a local fabric store. (I got mine in the fabric section at Wal-mart.) It will last much longer than the lighter weight stuff. I inherited one from my mom that was so heavy the corner just wouldn’t give out, even though it’s the corners that usually go first. I finally gave up on it just because it became stained, scratched and had some holes.
2. Measure your table first to make sure you get enough!
3. They will develop holes eventually, just from use and “events”. Be careful of things like using a rotary cutting mat and cutter on top of it. Keep your eyes open for holes so that you can avoid having things you especially like soiled by a leak.
4. From time to time you will need to wipe down the sides where drips have escaped eaters. :-)
5. I don’t recommend covering a “special” vinyl tablecloth (the type with the “flannel” backing). I did this with one and when I took off the clear vinyl some of the color from the other one came with it.
6. You will probably need an extra pair of hands to center it properly over another tablecloth or other flat décor you’re using.
Here I used two flat plastic placemats as a “table runner” and laid artificial maple leaves cut off the stems at the corners over a lace tablecloth.
Here is my mom’s table decorated with paper snowflakes on a blue tablecloth for a weather themed birthday party we had for my brother.
Hopefully, this will give you some good ideas and give you the freedom to use those lovely cloths you’ve been “saving”, as well as other décor, on your own table. :-)