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Uses for Plastic Tablecloths

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Using a plastic tablecloth as a picnic blanket.

Plastic tablecloths have a wide variety of uses in addition to their intended one. These range from craft projects, to decorations, to use in the garden. This is a guide about uses for plastic tablecloths.


Solutions: Uses for Plastic Tablecloths

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Tip: Speed Up Tomato Growth with Tablecloths

Red tablecloths over soil.Instead of spending $12 on a roll of red plastic to put around our tomato plants (to speed up growth) we purchased 2 red plastic tablecloths from a Dollar Store. They worked great!

By Ellen from Ware, MA

Tip: Use Plastic Tablecloth Under a Decorative Tablecloth

I put a cheap plain white flannel back plastic table cloth over my dining room table then put my nice decorative table cloth over it. The white cover does not show, but protects my table from spills and warm items. Plain white flannel back plastic clothes are hard to find. I usually find them at Dollar General store.

By eiw from Lancaster, PA

Tip: Use Plastic Tablecloths to Make a Ribbon Wall

I am decorating for my son's wedding. He is having his buffet tables and dance floor in a very large shelter area. (60 x30) It is made of a metal roof and lots of poles. The view from one side is not the best (playground equipment). I wanted to block that view, yet let in air circulation, but on a budget. This is what I have decided to do. I am ordering rolls of high quality plastic tablecloths. I will cut the plastic in 6 inch wide strips by 8 feet long and attach them to the roof line. This will look like flowing ribbons. The cost to cover the 60 ft span? $32.00 dollars!

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Here are questions related to Uses for Plastic Tablecloths.

Question: Rubber Stamping a Vinyl Tablecloth

What kind of paint can I use on a vinyl tablecloth that, when I wipe, it won't smear, or take off the paint?

By Misty


Most Recent Answer

By Mary Lou [14]01/14/2013

Try paint made for plastics.

Question: Making Large Bows from Plastic Tablecloths

How do I make large bows using plastic table cloths?

By Sandra from Springfield, LA


Most Recent Answer

By Keeper [58]11/16/2010

We cut ours in long strips and tied them as you would any bow. A few years back I went to a party supply store and bought a roll of red plastic tablecloth like the ones used on banquet tables and decorated the porch posts and all in bows for Christmas. Weatherproof and reusable.

Question: Uses for Plastic Tablecloths

There are many uses for the cheap plastic tablecloths. How do you use them other than their intended use?

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By Omar L. (Guest Post)11/15/2008

I used them to make a bow for the holidays. I made that big bow from plastic tablecloths and put on the garage doors, instead of buying some for 20 dollars.

By Veronica (Guest Post)06/24/2008

On the back of my SUV I use the table cloth as a plastic Liner on the original carpet, then I put towels (or you can use an old sheet, on top of the tablecloth because I carry food sometimes. If any spills I can wash the towels and my carpet still looks new. You can also use the plastic tableclothe as a liner on your dining room table and place a cloth table cloth on top when you have an formal dinner. That way if someone makes a spill your table will not ruin.

By Lourna [7]09/11/2007

My friend gave me some plastic and vinyl tablecloths. I sew them into beach tote bags, picnic bags with pockets, decorate them with vintage beautiful laces,buttons or pearls and gave them back to my friend and some friends ,ralatives.instead of throwing away ,"recycle" is the word.

By Tami (Guest Post)02/23/2006

I use a plastic tablecloth to cover the bench seats in my van where my kids sit. When the kids make a mess it is on the tablecloth, not the fabric of my seats.

By guest (Guest Post)07/30/2005

I plan on covering some thin chair pads I found at a dollar store with some vinyl tablecloths. I am going to use them in my first grade classroom for students to sit on when reading on the floor.

By oner. (Guest Post)07/24/2005

I use them under my christmas tree stand during the holidays--This protect my floor from the water that is sure to be spilt while watering the tree

By B [1]06/15/2005

we had a halloween party one year and i covered our couches with the cheap plastic table clothes from the dollar store. they worked perfectly to prevent anyone from spilling on the couches and all i had to do was roll them up and toss them when it was over.


make them into sit upons to use to sit on while you are camping and picnicing

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]06/13/2005

We find these indispensable at our house. They become playdough mats, paint mats, mostly used for any messy activity. We use them indoors and out. I usually keep my eyes open for them on the clearance racks. I found a bunch for $0.30 ea and loaded up. I try to get the largest rectangle I can find but any size will work.

And when I find them so cheap - it doesn't bother me to toss if they get too ragged. Otherwise I wash then on gentle when needed.

These really make saying yes to messy activities much easier!

By Mary

By suzi homemaker (Guest Post)05/10/2005

My neighbor puts one down on her son's bed so that if he has an accident, she doesn't have to go through the trouble of changing the whole bed. I use them when the kids paint or do playdo.

By Jron7667 (Guest Post)05/09/2005

We used to cut holes in them and use them as smocks too when we were crafting. you can use them as craft clothes too to protect tables or whatever,

By Dana Sipe [39]05/09/2005

I use my old plastic table cloths for covering my bar stools in my kitchen. When the table cloth gets a hole in it I just cut out enough to cover the top of the bar stool and use a staple gun to fasten it on. It's kid-proof too. If they spill on it or get it dirty you can just wipe it off.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]05/09/2005

I carry an old cheap plastic tablecloth in the trunk of my car. If I ever need to change a flat tire, I can spread the tablecloth on the ground to keep from getting dirty and/or muddy.

An old plastic tablecloth can be used as a drop cloth when painting.

An old plastic tablecloth can be used as ground cover when picnicking, attending outdoor concerts, fireworks displays, etc.

An old plastic tablecloth or shower curtain can be spread under newspaper to use when housebreaking puppies -- less cleanup!

When you see decorative plastic tablecloths on sale cheap, grab them! They are terrific for wrapping large gifts, rather than using rolls and rolls of expensive gift wrapping paper!

By Becki in Indiana

By Dee [3]05/02/2005

Use the flannel back tablecloths for sewing new outdoor cushions for your furniture. cant beat the savings.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]05/02/2005

I don't know if you've had this tip, but we use it often. Vinyl table cloths - we use them for playdough mats, painting or doing most anything messy. They can be wiped off, they can be shook out, and it saves my carpet, floor or whatever. We even take them outside for messy activities. I usually try to find them on clearance and look for the rectangle as they are the largest, but any will work. My DH thought I was nuts when I found them for $0.30 each and bought a dozen - we still have them and use them regularly. I've even tossed them in the washer on gentle!

By Mary

By fayth8111/08/2001

I have many uses for plastic flannel back table cloths. too numerous to mention, but I have use these tablecloths to decortate a bedroom and a kitchen. I caught tablecloths on sale 1$ or 2$ a piece. so I would buy the biggest oblong size and stock up on the same color. I bought already to use wall paper paste and there i went. My walls and ceilings in my kitchen,bathroom, sewing room, are all redecorated. cut the corners to square them apply paste to wall and work it like wallpaper . so easy to clean. so pretty. Left over, I have made covers for those items that sit on our kitchen shelves that collect dust and all. made roads for children to play on. also painted a hopstoch on one for children to play inside on. No side walk here at grandma's house.So many ideas just use your immagination


I save the good parts of plastic table cloths for putting on the table when I am doing my acrylic painting or crafts where I have to glue things or where I might spill small items like pins or beads (these two items it's easy to grab the edges of the small cloth and slide them funnel wise back into a container.) I find the best size for me is two or three times the size of a place mat. The flannel back side up for bead work and plastic side up for painting or glue.

- Pat


Use them as room dividers for your garage sales. Hook up a clothes line and use clothes pins to hang the table cloths to divide of the things that aren't for sale.

You can also divide off a little area for a dressing room so your customers can try on clothes without going into your house. Lean a full length door mirror against a wall, or mount it to the wall if possible.
- Jana


Ness posted the Daily Thrifty Tips to the Wastenothing group and here are some additional ideas that they came up with:

Draw roads and town on them for Matchbox cars.

Use under the car to lay on while working on it.

Make childrens aprons from them.

Make a hair cutting cape from a round tablecloth. Just cut a slit and room for the neck.

Use to line a car trunk to keep it clean.

Use under bird cages to catch the seed and stuff they throw out.

Use as a photo back drop.


Use as a play floor mat. Great for crafts, cutting projects or play dough playtime, etc. Quick cleanup!

Place in bottom of trunk or back of van to keep surface clean when hauling items.
- Pamela


I use the remaining table cloth as food dish liners for my two cats. One is a kitten and they can be very messy! When I feed them canned food and water, I don't have to worry so much about the spills. And because I cut sections off at a time, when that one is messy, I replace it with another piece of the cloth.
- Kate Krick


Use as drop cloths for painting; use for vapor barrier; use as garden mulch barrier; use under leaky autos; use to make kids' forts.

Cut a hole in the center to use as an emergency rain poncho. Keep one in the car for changing tires, putting on chains, or use as a drop cloth when hauling something wet or dirty.
- Mary


I like to put Holiday Plastic tablecloths on my bed at Christmas time. I have leaky pets and this still protects my bed but looks nice and festive. Helps save furniture too.
- Linne

By kimdedo09/19/2001

I used a thick black tablecloth to cover a chair(it looks like black leather). You can also use it to make matching accent pillows. It's much easier to clean and cheaper than those expensive leather accent pillows.


One person writes that she uses the vinyl ones with the flannel backing as protection against bed wetting, and then washes them. I'd like to know here method to wash them; when I have tried to launder them, the flannel layer has come off the vinyl, and not only is it annoying, it would not be any good for a mattress pad anymore!

I've used plastic table cloths as temporary substitutes for shower curtains once. It is not as effective, because they are so light and tend to billow inwards, but much better than soaking a carpeted bathroom.

I have also used them more than once as cheap curtains on a house I was moving out of; bare windows are a dead give-away that a house is unoccupied, and an invitation to housebreakers and squatters. For this, you want to choose a pattern or solid color that is reasonably in fashion, not something blatantly cheap.

Another use of table cloths as window curtains. My mother lives in a trailer, and it gets so hot during the summer -- think about sunshine on a big aluminum can. To reduce some of the heat, we selected a quantity of matching vinyl table cloths to be hung as curtains, flannel side outwards -- we hope this side, which is white, will reflect away some of the sun's energy. In addition, because we chose ones with a white background, the rooms don't look as dark when we have to turn the lamps on.

I have used a plastic table cloth to make a decorative cover for my mailbox. I wanted something to look Christmassy, and I had extras on hand, so I cut pieces a bit larger than necessary, and taped them in place to cover the door, the main part of the mailbox, and the back. I had to cut a slit on one side to accommodate the flag. With the remaining parts, I made a small bow that I put on the post of the mailbox, and a large one that I tied to a big wreath on my front door. I made these bows by first shaping pieces from a brown paper bag, and then covering with the plastic. You could also cover the whole front door with a seasonal tablecloth, or tie one around a rosebush that has been protected with a cage of leaves. I think a pink or blue table cloth could be used in these ways to announce the birth of a baby.

If you have a flannel-backed vinyl table cloth in a red plaid or similar Christmassy color, you can cut out holiday shapes, punch holes in the edge, and let a child whip stitch them with contrasting yarn for decorations. I've seen this done to make really cute stockings. One was done with the vinyl facing out, but with a white cuff of the flannel side, and the other one was done in the reverse look. To make the cuff, just cut the top extra long and fold down; stitch through all four layers at the cuff portion, and just through two layers at the remaining part.

I have used various things, including cheap table cloths, to cover over shelves or boxes of stuff that was NOT included in a garage sale. If they don't see it, they don't ask to buy it, saving embarrassment. The same cheap plastic can be used as a temporary cover for a table of merchandise in a brief shower; be sure to hold it down well, because they do tend to blow around.

Rose B, mother of three, in NC

By lmlhlinc [10]09/18/2001

Carry an old plastic tablecloth in your car trunk for emergency use. If you have a flat tire, or need to crawl under the car, you can spread the tablecloth on the ground before you kneel or crawl, and protect your clothing.

Becki in Indiana


Easy clean up when used as a drop cloth when giving hair cuts.

By KayDmail [1]09/10/2001

This is not exactly a use for plastic tablecloths, but some info on buying them. There are 2 ways to buy them cheaply.

1. Go to flea markets, garage sales, yard sales, church sales and anything like that.

2. Most dollar stores carry new plastic, felt [cloth] backed table cloths, in a selection of colors and sizes.

By margi2109/10/2001

I buy at the end of each season and can sometimes buy them for less than a dollar! I use them for drop cloths when painting. they are much stronger than the drop clothes in the paint store and can be reused many times.


1. To make a design wall for quilting, I tack a felt-backed tablecloth with the felt side out to the wall. The quilt blocks stick to the felt and I can move them around to see which arrangement I like the best.

2. Old tablecloths are great to cover the woodpile to protect it from rainy Northwest winters.

3. They can be put under a highchair if a baby is visiting and likes to fling food.

4. They are great to spread out to protect the carpeting when having an indoors picnic on the floor.
- Lynn


Plastic tablecloths are cheap cover-ups for painting jobs.

Use them on the table or the floor under the table when children are painting or doing crafts

Use them as a wrap for a large gift basket.

We do not let our children eat in the (newly carpeted) family room. However, once in a while it's fun to sit in front of a movie (even for us grown-ups) and have a snack. Spread a plastic tablecloth or two on the floor and everyone sits on that.

They can also be used as a mattress liner for those "potty training" days for little ones.

- Marsha R. Lynch-Falcon, Williams County Extension Secretary


We sometimes use them to put beneath our tent when we go camping. It gives a little insulation, and prevent moisture from getting beneath your tent. They are also good as a makeshift "tarp" for unexpected showers on camping trips.
- Brandi


I use them for bedwetting accidents. The plastic cloths that have the flannel backing works best. You place it over the mattress and place the fitted sheet on top. If a child was to have an accident, it would never touch the mattress! Just wash the sheets and table cloth.