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Tablecloth without a Table Answered

This tablecloth has been stiffened with starch or epoxy or something to keep its shape so that it can stand alone without a table below it.

It's pretty fun for a picture, but unless you're right there on the ground like in the main pic below it's not too obvious. Well, maybe it's just not my style, but I'm sure that anyone else here can replicate it if they were interested.

So how about it? Want to take it on? First person who does an Instructable about this will get... something. A custom patch and maybe something else.

Link via bbgadgets


I was thinking if you wanted a regular sized table you would need a ginormous piece of fabric. Glass on top of the surface to protect it from spills? Would you put it on a real table to dry? But then how would you take it off? Maybe PAM? Just thinking out loud :)

I've been trying similar things. I don't have a cloth like that shown. It's extremely difficult. I'm not sure I can make it with regular cloth.

The cloth used is crocheted, some kind of open V-stitch. It's probably a light-weight rayon or something. If you tried it with regular fabric, try a light-weight muslin or similar. Use a cotton or other fabric with good absorption properties. Soak the fabric in the stiffening solution long enough to make sure it completely saturates the cloth. Muslin wouldn't hold much, but you could probably use paper plates on it to hold light-weight food like potato chips.

I see, thanks for the information! :-)

Cover the table first with plastic wrap to protect it from the stiffening solution. That would also make it easy to remove once the stiffener dried. Make sure the plastic is pulled tight and smooth so wrinkles don't stick up into the tablecloth mesh.

Here's a ridiculously extravagant chair by Marcel Wanders for Droog Design. The rope (aramid and carbon fibre) is soaked in some sort of epoxy resin and left to set. Perhaps we all could learn something from Marcel. I think that liquid resin is relatively cheap to buy and once you get the shape correct with fishing line or a small frame you're in business.


Wow, that is impressive :)

Seems to me that if you used clear acrylic sheets for legs and a top to which the tablecloth was affixed, it would give the illlusion of suspension. A bit of creative folding would disguide the support system.

wait so how'd you make this again?

One could even use stiff wire to hold it up or help hold it up.

Of, if you want to get tricky for a not so up close-up illusion just hang it from the four corners with nylon fishing line ;-)

I'm not sure how well that would hold...anything. Or even be flat.

It wouldn't hold much, no (twas why I called it a illusion), but if you had the lines out at an angle from the cloth, it would hold shape

Better yet, since it has holes, you could just have the string be horizontal with it all.

my grandparents used to have a little knitted "bowl" type thing it was "petrified" using sugar

My mom crochets stars and angels and things for Christmas and then she dips it in a sugar solution so they dry stiff. It's probably the same as your grandparents' bowl. I should ask my mom for the recipe.

i remember licking it.. i was 5 years old

it tasted sweet

Diluted white glue like Elmer's works also. You can make lace lamp shades that way. Because the glue is water soluble, you can even drop the shade in the washing machine from time to time, and just dip it and shape it again after it comes out. If I had a lace doily, I'd demonstrate it, but I'm fresh out of lace doilies. I was talking to my Mom about something like this (I don't remember what it was). My Mom was born in 1940 so her teen years were the 50's. She told me that back in the 50's the girls in her school stiffened their crinolines with Coca Cola. Crinolines are the slips made of layers of fabric worn under 50's skirts - like the poodle skirts - to make them stand out in a bell shape. She said starch didn't hold up as well as coke. She'd dip the crinoline in coke and then hang it, fluff it up and let it dry. She said the girls just left their crinolines standing in the corner at home. They couldn't hang them in the closet because they would get crushed. She also said it was a problem if it was hot out, and your legs were sweating, as the crinoline would get sticky, and glue itself to your legs. When a date picked her up in a car, she'd step out of the crinoline, and stand it in the back seat before she sat down. If the girls sat on the crinoline during a long car ride, they'd end up with a flat backside, and more likely than not, it would be glued to the back of their legs. She dated a guy with a convertible once, and had to put the crinoline in the trunk because it would blow out of the back seat. On the first date, she tried to leave it on, and they only got a couple of blocks when she realized it needed to come off. The air blowing through the car kept her skirt pasted to her face unless she held it down. Girls would make their boyfriends stop one block away from the destination, so they could put their crinoline on and arrive all stylish and poofy. Mom was very fashion conscious, and never wanted to look less than perfect. I'm sure she wasn't the only teenage girl that went to these lengths to look good. It was a goofy conversation. We laughed a lot. I'd never heard anything about coca cola crinolines, or all the problems they had to work around. Now they are made of synthetics that don't flatten down.

I love this post! Seriously, that's so cute. Also very interesting information. I think I want to try stiffening some fabrics now. :D

Thanks. I always worry a little about my long posts. It was just so funny I had to share it. Did you know anything about the crinoline issues?

I didn't! I actually don't have anyone in my family that was in fashion during those years. My grandmother was from the Great Depression, mom really only remembers the early sixties. :P

That's sweet. And awesome.


9 years ago

Wow, not even a sheet of plexi underneath? NEAT!!