How to Repurpose Old Tablecloths

By Chantel Alise ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Old Tablecloths
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery Needles
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Craft Patterns
  • Craft Stencils
  • Craft Paints

The fabrics that are used to make most tablecloths are both sturdy and of good quality. For this reason, tablecloths that are properly cared for can last for many years. It is also the reason that tablecloth fabric can easily be re-purposed into a variety of other useful things, once their time as tableware is complete. You will need to know how to sew by hand and operate a sewing machine to act on the suggestions given below.

How to Repurpose Old Tablecloths

Use the fabric from an old tablecloth to make chair pads for the same or another area of the home.

Cut old tablecloths into squares that can be used to make a quilt that will be passed down in the family. Embroider information about how the cloth was used, like for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, and the years that it served that purpose.

Use the tablecloth fabric to make a valance and/or tiebacks for curtains or to make utility curtains to hide a storage area.

Cut the tablecloth into several pieces to be used kitchen towels. Embroider, paint, or stencil a pattern onto plain towels if desired or take advantage of the cloth’s pre-existing embroidery or pattern.

Make a table runner out of the fabric, adding decorative trim like lace, braid or tassels to spice it up, if desired.

Utilize the cloth's fabric to make table napkins. Embroider, paint, or do a craft transfer design onto each one for decoration, if desired.

Apply a craft or handmade pattern to the fabric to make a Halloween or play costume for a child.

Use the fabric for craft items such as making scarecrows for the fall or doll clothes for Christmas gift to a child.

Dye white or light-colored tablecloths, using a tie-dye method or some wild flouresecent color and use it as decorator fabric in a teen’s room for a wall piece, curtains, to cover a chair or any other way desired.

Make aprons from the cloth for children to use during craft time or to assist parents in the kitchen.

Utilize old stained tablecloths as tarps to protect furniture.

Cut up old tablecloths to make dust cloths for cleaning.


Examine tablecloth for stains before deciding how to recycle it. While some stains may come out in the wash, others will not and could interfere with recycling plans. Dye the cloth's fabric another color if needed to recylce. Be certain that the fabric is washable before deciding to use in a manner that could be expensive because of dry-cleaning needs.

About the Author

A business and education specialist for 30 years, Chantel Alise also owned a management and marketing training company. She has written newsletters and training manuals as well as business articles for Enid News and Eagle's Business Journal. She is principle writer for Beauty Biz. Alsie attended Thomas Nelson Community College (Virginia) and Phillips University (Oklahoma).