How to Paint a Tablecloth

head table at wedding image by Paul Retherford from

Things You'll Need

  • Stencils
  • Fabric paint
  • Several small sponges
  • Solid-colored fabric tablecloth
  • Paper plates
  • Paper towels
  • Painter's tape

Tablecloths are enjoyable accessories that can add flavor to your tabletop decor. Because they are particularly attractive, hand painted tablecloths are highly desired by many home decorators. Although these specially made tablecloths can sometimes be found for sale through artisans at craft shows, they often come with an inflated price tag. Painting your own tablecloth is an inexpensive and enjoyable craft, and you can create it to match your home decor. Your painted tablecloth may become one of your favorite home decorating pieces, and possibly a treasured heirloom.

Lay your tablecloth on the floor, right side up, and flatten out any wrinkles in the fabric. Place your stencil on your tablecloth, along the bottom edge, and tape the corners to the fabric. This will be the beginning of the tablecloth's painted border.

Pour a small amount of fabric paint onto a paper plate. Dip a small sponge into the paint. Dab the sponge onto a paper towel to remove excess paint.

Tap the sponge over the openings in the stencil, using a light touch. Dip the sponge back into the paint as necessary, and continue tapping the sponge onto the fabric until you have reached the desired level of coverage.

Move the stencil directly beside the area stenciled in step 4, lining it up carefully along the border of the tablecloth. Tape the corners into place. Repeat steps two and three to complete this new stenciled area.

Repeat steps two through four until you have created a stenciled border around the entire outer edge of the tablecloth.


  • A canvas drop cloth works well as a tablecloth, and can be purchased fairly inexpensively from most hardware stores.

    You can easily create your own stencils, by drawing shapes on poster board and cutting them out with scissors.

    Although this article suggests painting a stenciled border around the edges of a tablecloth, you can just as easily paint any free handed or stenciled design on any area of the tablecloth.

    A simple, painted tablecloth design can be created by laying several long strips of painter's tape along the length of the cloth. Paint should then be applied in between the pieces of tape. When the tape is peeled away, the clean edges of paint are revealed.