This project uses two plastic table cloths of contrasting colors (dollar store or party store), layered over one another. This idea is inspired by the art of Kirigami, a Japanese art of cutting and folding paper into decorative or representational forms. The design is cut out on the top layer and the bottom layer shows through. Adds a fun element to baby showers, bridal showers, or any semi-formal party event.
For this Instructable, I have used two table cloths that are 84" round to be used on a 72" round table. All step-by-step instructions are for this size. It can easily be customized for square, rectangle, or oval table cloths of varying sizes as well.
Step 1: Materials Needed:
Two plastic table cloths (84 inches round used in this Instructable) in contrasting colors of your choice.
Step 2: Supplies Needed:
Scissors - you may need to try out a couple different type of craft scissors to see what works best.
A sharp edged knife (X-Acto or any other similar knife)
Cutting board to protect work surface.
Hole punches (optional) - Flower and heart-shaped hole punches used for the scallop border in this project.
Thin cardboard (cereal box) to make a stencil of the design.
Step 3: Prepare the Design:
Decide on a design. Remember, in this project you need to draw and cut one half of a symmetrical design. Also you will be cutting through several layers of the plastic. Over-detailed or over-complicated designs will be difficult to cut out. So, make sure you take your time and create a design that will be relatively simple to cut, yet renders well. The other consideration is to not have the design go all the way to the edge of the table so as to allow for place settings.
To use the design in this Instructable, you can download the attached printable design and print to a 8X11 sheet of paper. The design is on one edge and the cascading template on the other edge.
In this Instructable, there is a cascade of diamonds in the center. This allows for a centerpiece on the table without interfering with the design.
Step 4: Fold Table Cloth Into Eighths:
Remove plastic table cloth from packaging and unwrap until it is a semi-circle (do not open completely). Straighten out any wrinkles. Valley fold the straight edges down to the middle. Then mountain fold along the middle. Folding this way gives the optimal thickness at the joints where the design will render the same through all the layers. It is important to remember that each edge is a folded edge and you will cut one half of a symmetrical design which after opening will make the complete pattern.
You could simply fold into a quarter and then into an eighth, but this will make the edges thicker and may cause the design to be unequal through the layers.
The outside circumference of the plastic table cloth may not always be even but that will be fixed with the scallop cut in the next step.
Step 5: Scallop the Edges and Punch the Border Design:
Depending on the size of the table cloth and the number of scallops you want, create a cardboard template. Lay the template over the folded table cloth, mark, and cut the scallops.
Use decorative hole punches (use a thin paper backing underneath the layers of plastic) and punch out in a pattern along the border.
This step could be repeated on the underneath layer as well, in which case the bottom layer should be longer than the top layer. In this Instructable, the bottom layer was trimmed to 83 1/2 inches (not removing more than half an inch while cutting the scallops). The top layer was cut to 81 1/2 inches. The table it was used on was 72 inches round.
Step 6: Trace and Cut Out the Design:
Place a cutting board underneath to protect work surface.
6a) Measure 2 1/2 inches from the center and line up the cascading diamonds template. Using the knife, punch out a dotted line along the design making sure it goes through all the layers of plastic. Remove the template and using scissors cut along the dotted pattern.
6b) Measure 2 inches from the largest diamond and line up the design template. Hold firm while using tip of the knife to punch a dotted line along the entire design template while making sure the knife goes through all the layers. On the inside design, using the knife cut two small slits as indicated by the light blue lines in the second picture in this steps - so that a scissor can be inserted through these slits to cut the design.
6c) On the other edge of the folded table cloth, about 12 inches from the center, cut the second set of cascading diamonds. Below this cut the design one more time using the template as in step 6b.
Step 7: You Are Done....
The table cloth is now ready for use. Set the base color table cloth on the table. Place the designed table cloth over it. Make sure to align the two and center them on the table.