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Washable, No-Mess, DIY Table Cover

Washable Mess-Free Table Cover Tutorial

I used to be very clean and tidy. Then I had a child. My standards have gone way down, but I try to work smarter and not harder – which is why I’ve been planning on making this washable table cover since my son started getting really into painting and art. Just like the smock he is wearing, it is machine washable and reusable. No scrubbing, no fussing over where the markers need to stay, we both have more fun and spend less time cleaning up.

DIY Table Cloth for Arts and Crafts

I want to be upfront – I bought this fabric wayyyy back in November, on Black Friday from Joann’s, and then made it and wrote this post in late February (scheduling content in preparation for my second child being born). Right in time to see Amy at Peek-a-boo share a similar idea! She shares a different formula and uses a different fabric, so you can check out her tutorial as well.

I thought of this also as a crib sheet for table, after making some for my son using Dana’s great tutorial on the Made blog.

Mess free kids art

The PUL fabric means that nothing will leak through, it’s water-proof and things pool on the top to be wiped up or washed off. It’s machine washable, and pretty easy to sew – much more flexible than oilcloth or vinyl.

Tablecloth Tutorial

Here is the before and after, showing you the shape of our craft table in our playroom!

Ready to make your own?


  • 2 yards of 1/2″ elastic (I used the elastic from upcycled sheet sets)
  • 2 yards PUL fabric (it is 64″ wide) – this allowed me to actually make 2 covers of the same size, with some creative piecing
  • Ballpoint needle
  • Bodkin (optional, but preferable to using a safety pin in my opinion!)


I hesitate to give you a specific formula, because I don’t know how much my table’s rounded corners affect things. But, I’ll share the measurements I used – I double checked things before I cut them to make sure it all looked good.

My table measured 36″ w X 53″ long with a 3″ lip on the edge. I cut my fabric pieceĀ  44″ wide by 64″ long – so I added 8″ to the width & 11″ to the length. PUL does have some stretch, which goes lengthwise in this pattern. I used 93″ of elastic – which I calculated with roughly a 7:3 ratio, same as the crib sheet. So I added my fabric piece measurements (44+44+64+64) and plugged it into that equation.

Step 1: Cut a 3″ square out of each edge.

Step 2: Sew the two 3″ edges you just created, right sides together, with a 1/4″ seam allowance and back stitching at start and finish.

Step 3. Create a .75″ hem going all the way around. PUL will not fray, so no need to finish the edges or double-tuck and use up more fabric. I eyeballed it all the way around. Leave a 3″ gap for inserting the elastic. I used a simple straight stitch so it was easy to pick out and fix if my ‘eyeballing’ didn’t work out.

Step 4. Thread your elastic through! I use a bodkin, which is so easy. Once you’ve finally reached the other end, overlap them by about 2 inches and sew back and forth securely. Close the gap. I went back around with a triple stretch stitch to secure the entire hem for good measure.

You’re done! Simple. So much faster than scrubbing and more environmentally friendly than using trash bags, paper, or flimsy plastic tablecloths.

Mess Free Table Cover TUtorial

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