Introduction: Fix a Torn Card Table

My vinyl-topped card table got all torn up on the top, allowing the wood to show through. I used a dollar-store tablecloth to recover the top, and now it looks better than new.

You will need:

Your card table

Flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth, in a colour or pattern you like

A screwdriver (check the screws that hold the top of your table on to the leg assembly)

Sharp scissors

A stapler and staples (note: you will be tempted to use a staple gun. Unless the top of your table is a lot thicker than mine was, this will not work. My first attempt sent the points of the staple right through the wood and out the other side. You just want a regular stapler, but it needs to be one where you can open it out flat)

Marker and ruler or other straight edge (optional)

Step 1: Remove Top of Table From Leg Assembly

Sorry I don't have a clearer picture of this. This picture shows the top already separated from the legs.

What you want to do here is turn the table over so the legs are sticking up in the air. Then look to see how the top is attached. In this case, there were screws going through those little metal tabs and into the table top. I just removed the screws, making sure to put them in a little dish so I wouldn't lose them.

Step 2: Cut Tablecloth

Spread your tablecloth out face down on the floor.

Now is the time to decide which direction you want the pattern to go. This will be more important with stripes than it would with a pattern such as polka dots or flowers. I opted to have the stripes run diagonally, so I wouldn't have to worry about lining the stripes up perfectly with the edges of the table.

Place the table top face down on the table cloth, aligning it with the pattern however you like. Then use your sharp scissors to cut the tablecloth parallel to the edge of the table, leaving a margin of around 4-5 inches. This doesn't need to be super precise, but if you're more comfortable drawing a line with a ruler before you cut, then do that.

Cut the corners off your square of tablecloth so that the corners of the table are about 2-3 inches from the edge.

Step 3: Attach Tablecloth to Table Top

How neatly you want to do this is up to you. It is, after all, the underside of the table. I opted to fold each edge under before stapling the tablecloth down, but it's not really necessary.

The trick to getting the top nice and smooth is even tension. Fold the tablecloth over one corner of the table top, towards the centre, and then staple it down. Then repeat with the opposite corner, pulling the tablecloth nice and tight around the table top.

As you start to staple down the sides of the cloth, you may want to mark where the screw holes are for attaching the leg assembly, as the cloth will be going over these holes. If you forget, as I did, then you'll just need to feel for them with your finger and use your screwdriver or the point of the scissors to poke a hole so the screws can go through.

Use as many staples as you need to get the tablecloth pulled nice and evenly around the table top. I spaced my staples about 6 inches apart. Be careful not to staple over any of the screw holes.

Don't worry if some of the staples go in crooked or look like they might not hold for long. The screws that attach the top to the leg assembly will help to hold everything in place.

Step 4: Reattach Leg Assembly

We're doing step 1 in reverse now. With the table top still face down on the floor, align the leg assembly with the top.

If you haven't already done so, use something sharp to pierce the tablecloth where it covers the screw holes in the table top. Then use the original screws to reattach the leg assembly.

I find it best to put all the screws in and tighten them a little bit, then go back and tighten them all the way.

Step 5: Rejoice in Your Completed Repair

Turn the table back over so it's standing up on the legs.

Ta-da! Your previously torn up card table is now pristine and new-looking, and with a snazzy new colour or pattern, to boot!

Gather some friends to play cards or eat snacks or whatever it is you use this table for, and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Weekend Projects Contest

Participated in the
Weekend Projects Contest