OilCloth covered card table

card table before

It all started when my mom found a few cheap folding chairs. Then she found a dozen free folding chairs. Her collection grew until she had about 20 chairs. I decided I needed to adopt four of the chairs and one of her three folding tables and make a cute outdoor set.

The stipulation was that she could borrow them back when she needed them for a party. (WHEN, I ask, is my mom going to entertain 20+ guests at her house? I don’t know. But she can borrow them whenever she likes. Thanks, mom!)

The first step was choosing fabric for the table. I love fabric, so settling on one option was difficult indeed. There were so many fun laminated cottons and oilcloths that it took me at least two weeks to decide what to use. A favorite from Japanese designer Etsuko Furuya, seen here, will probably be featured when I do another table.

In the end I decided on a lovely lime green oil cloth featuring colorful mums.

lime green mum oilcloth

I know, it’s worlds away from the Furuya fabric, but I had to go with something that would coordinate with what my mom would like on her tables. It was also at least half the price of the other stuff.

The first step in this process was sanding and painting the chairs and table. I unscrewed the top of the table from the legs (very easy to do), and took everything out to the garage to work on sanding. I really just focused on roughing up the surface and sanding away any rust. Please note: you SHOULD use a ventilator while doing this. About half-way through with the chairs I realized that they I was were from the 1940’s and the paint likely contained lead. Oops.

Once the chairs were sanded, I spray painted them with Rust-oleum paint in various colors. (I think they were Colonial Red, Aubergine, Paprika, and Claret Wine, all in a satin finish.)

rust-oleum paint

Spray painting was a bit tricky-I found that the best coverage came with even, sweeping strokes, never dwelling on one spot. If you stop and spray in one area, that’s when the paint starts dripping. It’s especially difficult to do this using dark colors on a light base and painting very narrow table legs. Just keep the can moving–that’s my best tip. I used about one can per chair, and another can on the table. If you are better with spray paint than I am, you probably won’t need as much.

Re-upholstering the top was pretty simple. Once the old cover was removed, I just put the board down on the back of my fabric and trimmed, making sure to leave enough fabric around the edge to wrap all the way around the edge of the table, with a couple of inches to spare so that I had something to grip when I was pulling the fabric tight.

trimming the cloth

I did use some thin quilt batting between the table top and the oilcloth to give it a bit of cushion. The batting I cut flush with the edge of the table. Instead of stapling the oilcloth onto the board, I used a glue gun to glue it down. I chose this method simply because I couldn’t find staples short enough. The smallest ones I could find were 1/4 inch, and the table top is a bit less than 1/4 inch, so the staples would have come through the top of the card table.

I glued one side down, waited for it to dry, and then pulled the other side tight and glued that down. Once that side was dry, I did the other two sides. Once everything was dry, I did another row of glue (I laid it on thick) around the whole table and then trimmed the extra fabric. Then I screwed the top onto the legs and this is what the finished table looks like:

finished table

Isn’t it pretty? Just right for a summer evening dinner.

I really love how my Fiesta Ware looks with it.

Fiesta Ware





Painted Nightstand

Every once in a while I like to browse the furniture section of our local thrift store. The selection there usually isn’t great, and I think it is overpriced. I can generally find better deals on Craig’s List or at garage sales. However, I do find some gems once in a while. I found this little night stand for $8.00, and I snapped it up.

nightstand before

I especially love the little spindle legs and the knob. In its original state, however, it was a little bit sad. I decided to paint it for Little O’s room. Turquoise, orange, and green are the dominate colors in his room and I decided to stick with those colors. I found a swatch of fabric with coordinating colors that I liked, and decided to glue that onto the back of the nightstand. The rest was a pretty easy paint job, sanding first, of course.

Here is the finished result.

nightstand finished

So much cuter! And it only cost me $6.00 in paint…those sample colors at Home Depot will go a long way, I’m glad I discovered them.

Here it is in the context of Little O’s room.

room view

Six-Sided Tepee

When I was a kid my mom made my sisters and I a tepee. We LOVED it. We set it up in the basement, dragged it out to the backyard in the summer and connected it to blanket forts we’d make with the picnic table. It was the main prop in many imagined play scenarios.

Naturally when I became a mom I felt that a tepee was an essential play item. I started looking for one and came back with a bit of sticker shock. Luckily, my mom also taught me how to sew, and so I decided to make one. I looked up a bunch of tutorials, but almost all of them were for four-sided tepees, which I thought was kind of weird. I wanted six poles to mimic the more traditional conical shape of the tepee. In the end I just decided to cut six identical triangles out of my fabric and see what I could do with it.

I spent a while trying to figure out what kind of poles to use. Most tutorials use PVC pipe or pine poles. I needed this on the cheap, and I didn’t want huge, heavy poles for a little kid to try to wrestle with. I decided that bamboo might be the way to go because it is strong and pretty light weight. I found these bamboo garden poles at Home Depot for $3.00. They are six feet long and about 1/2 inch in diameter. Six to the package. Perfect!

The fabric is actually a couple of sheets I found at a thrift store. I think they cost around $5.00 together. I made contrasting binding for the entrance of the tepee (which is just a slit cut about half way up one panel). The poles I keep together at the top with an elastic hair band.


As you can see on their faces, these kids think the tepee is pretty cool. I must admit, for around $8.00 I think it’s pretty cool, too.