Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Securing the tablecloth

I don't really have a kitchen tip for today, but here's something I'm trying.

On our kitchen table, I have a white tablecloth covered with a big piece of clear plastic (available in the craft section of Wal-mart; ours is the thickest they sold and has lasted 6+ years so far!).

The children always manage to mess up the tablecloth/plastic, and so I had gotten 4 picnic tablecloth clips (to hold a tablecloth on a picnic table outdoors in the wind).

The clips worked pretty well, but started getting lost. I'm not sure HOW they got lost, because I have searched everywhere! We're down to only one clip now, and it hasn't been doing the job well enough for me.

The tablecloth is now secured! P

Last night, I actually taped the plastic tablecloth to the bottom of our table. Yes, I was that frustrated with a constantly-dirty-AND-lopsided tablecloth. And thankfully our kitchen table isn't nice enough to deter me from using some tape on it.

Here's my problem:

I like having a white tablecloth on the table for photography purposes, plus it lights up the kitchen a little more than a dark table top.

To keep the white cloth clean, I have it covered with clear plastic.

Having little children means that the tablecloth never stays in place, unless it's the middle of the night. ;)

How else can I keep it secured? Any ideas for me? What do you do with your kitchen table??

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Kitchen Tip Tuesdays Participants
1. The Happy Housewife ~ Cake Decorating Tip
2. Mom to 2 boys (Using Cast Iron & Stainless)
3. Lynn (eating healthier ? )
4. Kelly's Kitchen (homemade remedies)
5. Loretta @ Vegan Footprints (meatless burgers)
6. Susan (Homemade Seasoning Mixes)
7. Michelle (Ice cream bucket lasagna)
8. Passionate Homemaking (easy no-yeast spelt bread)
9. The Simple Cajun Life (Yummy Breakfast Egg Rolls)
10. Susan (Beef Stock & Homemade Bouillon Cubes)
11. If Only I Had Super Powers (Kitchen Aid mixer)
12. Lindsey (making wash cloths)
13. Michele (making the most of your freezer space)
14. Mill Musings (Help Out a Hamburger)
15. Mrs Pear (Quick, Easy, Cheap Cookies)
16. Kirstin: Vacation home kitchens and a few recipes
17. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet- favorite nourishing butter sources
18. Bunnytracks ~ popcorn tip
19. Garibay Soup (Are you having one of those days?)
20. Homemaker Barbi (Pantry)
21. Kim (Leftovers & wraps)
22. candace @ A Garden of Blessings (homemade fruit fly trap)
23. Erica (mixing fruit in cobbler)
24. DONNA (center your meals around the bread)
25. Mrs. S (Amaranth breakfast porridge)
26. Tania- Spending less time chopping vegetables
27. Mimis Jewel Box (Watermelon Aqua Fresca)
28. Carolyn (Canned Goods Tip)
29. Emily @ Little Home (substitutions list)
30. Carolyn (No-Knead Bread: Regular or Fresh Ground)



If you aren't worried about your table you could try attaching velcro. Then you could pull it off if you needed to clean it...
I like your tape idea though!

The only thing I can think of is getting a clear plastic to put over it. Some do glass but w/the little ones I'm not so sure. But it should be heavy enough to stay put.

recently switch back to a covering my table cloth with the plastic. I use to used the plastic, but then got to tired of it, so I then used a tablecloth and place mats. That worked well, but since we purchased our "new to us" table and chairs, I couldn't use the same tablecloths because they are to small. So I purchased some tablecloth material at our local fabric store and then bought the plastic to go with it. Anyway, I still don't like it, but it does save on laundry. :) The children do have a bit of a harder time with wiping it though. Before even my 5 yr old could shake the mats and tablecloth out and put them back on. I'm still not completely happy, but I do enjoy having a tablecloth on the table, makes it look so homey and also protects the table too.

I'll be interested to see what others say! :)
~Tanya - mama to 5 :)

Hello, Tammy! I was beginning to wonder if I had the right day today for kitchen tips....

I also love to have a nice table cloth. And I used them for awhile, then realized they were getting stained. Since I don't use bleach in our house, I also did the plastic cover idea. It made my table cloth last longer and look nicer. But I couldn't get over that "plastic" look.

What we do now works for us at present. We don't use any cloth or plastic. Our wood table wipes up fine. No cloth for my two year to pull off either. I make sure that I wipe up liquids or water soon after, but I'm not a worrier over things like that.

I agree though about wanting to brighten things up a bit for the room or photography. My solution for photos would be to have a white cloth or large white paper, etc... that you could pull out quickly to do the photo and then put it away before you eat, maybe?

The other thing -maybe you do this already- is to use white, like a folded posterboard or something, up around what you are taking a picture of, and snap your photo. It doesn't even need to be in the actual photo. I've even used a lamp (out of camera range) to help light things up better.

Loretta (a fan of using no flash on her camera for photos because it looks more real without) at:

Don't buy the thickest plastic. Get more of the middle weight.
Also, use clamps from the hardware section, the type that screw on - they don't pop off.
I have to replace my middle weight plastic about every three years but kids use scissors a lot and they have even been known to play with their fork and poke little holes. My WalMart doesn't carry fabric anymore so I get mine at JoAnn's.


Hi Tammy...

I inherited a small table from my grandmother when I got married. The table's surface was marred up pretty bad and we didn't have the means to refinish it then, but the legs were beautiful, so I wanted to use it. I had the same problem with table cloths slipping and sliding. Once, my tablecloth got caught on a sharp point and snagged. That was when I decided to make a cover for the table. I used an old matress cover that I had. It was a special water resistant cover and it felt like crushed velvet or velour sort of. Whatever it was, it was not woven. I got it at JC Penny when I was in college. I made it fit like a bottom sheet does on a bed. After that, my table cloths never slipped any more because the roughness of the material kinda grabbed the tablecloths and kept them from sliding. If you can find the material for the table pad, give it a try. It really worked well for me until we were finally able to refinish the top. (Now I don't use a table cloth on it at all...but we don't eat on it either!)

I, too, use the clear plastic covers on my tables today. To keep them in place, I have a lazy susan on my dinner table that is quite heavy. It is made from hand carved wood. If I take that off, I put something else really heavy in the center of the table. I go for a 'natural/country' look, so cast iron pots with plants, tiny metal buckets weighted with large gravel and flowers, crocks with flowers or weeds, mason jar clustered with flowers and fruit, sometimes even pretty stones. It works. Also, try putting the plastic outside in the sun for a little while before you put it on the table, so it will mold itself into the right shape and fit a little tighter. That helps too.


Hi Tammmy,

My sister-in-law has done this for years. She raised her children and now has a houseful of grandkids most evenings. She uses tacks to secure the cloth and plastic under the table. She changes the cloth for the seasons and the holidays.

Love, Love, Love your site!!!
Ruth, PA

I tried the vinyl on top of the tablecloth route and it frustrated me too -- it slipped around, got tears, looked smudged all the time. About ten years ago, I decided to do what many restaurants do -- I went to an auto glass store and got a piece of acrylic sized to fit my table top. It's heavy enough to not slip around but light enough for me to lift myself when I want to wash the table cloth. In between the table cloth and the acrylic sheet I've put a map of the world. Very educational for all ages.

This piece of acrylic wasn't cheap -- close to $100, I recall. But it was worth the price. It has a couple of dings in it but nothing that is really noticeable. I love it.

My mom had 8 children, and she found a plastic tablecloth that looked like lace. It looked nice from across the room, but wiped clean.

I bought that same plastic from WalMart and duct taped it to two of our children's mattresses. My 8 yo and 7 yo occasionally wet at night, and duct tape is the only way it will stay on an 8 yo's bed! It just wipes clean when we need to change the sheets.

No tablecloth- just white placemats!?!?!:-)

I like the idea of covering the table with plastic. I've tried using a vinyl-like tablecloth that is washable. It is soft and plastic like on the top and fabric on the bottom, so it wipes clean with a sponge. I found it at Walmart and they came in different prints so it looks like a regular tablecloth. You might want to look for something like that for washability.

As far as staying in place: there are "sheet straps" that are meant to hold bedsheets in place. They are basically 2 metal clips held together by a strand of elastic. This might be a great way for you to hold your tablecloth on, but adjusting them to fit under your table and securing the tablecloth to itself.

Hope those suggestions are helpful!
Homemaker Barbi

I gave up--no tablecloth here!!
For taking pictures for my recipes I put a colourful tea towel under the plate and take a close up pic:) Cheater I know!:)mama

Hi Tammy,

My mother-in-law had her heavily-used kitchen table fixed up by a cousin about eight years ago and it still looks wonderful--the tablecloth never comes off!

At Wal-mart she got that non-slip rubber mat that you put into drawers to keep things from moving around. She cut it (I think a couple of pieces) to fit my mother-in-law's round wood tabletop. Then she bought a nice piece of heavy checkered vinyl, also available at Wal-Mart, and cut it to fit the table with an overhang the way you would a normal tablecloth. She finished the edges with pinking shears.

This tablecloth stays put, is easy to wipe, could be created in a variety of patterns/colors, and still looks fresh after eight years. I would bet that if you tried the non-slip mat with any heavy plastic tablecloth, like those fake lace ones, that it would work well.

I hope that helps!

We used to use seasonal vinyl tablecloths and I'd staple them to the table using a staple gun. It was easy and very secure.

Good luck,

My aunt and uncle used to use a white tablecloth under a heavy piece of glass with smooth edges--like in a restaurant. The glass was so heavy it never moved (even if we kids pushed on it) and it wiped clean after meals.

They are really hard to find, but look for oilcloth tablecloths. They are like the plastic ones at the store, but no fabric backing. We used to buy them in Canada or from Amish mail order stores. it lasts a long time and does not slide around.

I do not use a tablecloth, but placemats.......except on a special occasions. i have had oilcloth though. it comes in gingham prints and other nice ones.

Oilcloths. I'll have to check that out. Sounds interesting. ~Tanya - mama to 5 :)

Thanks for all the great ideas about my perpetually-falling-off tablecloth!! I still have the tape on there... we'll see how long it lasts before I need to start using other tricks! ;)

no yeast spelt bread recipe: Can you substitute kefir or sour milk for for the acid medium? Do you have to have the powdered buttermilk for taste?

Do you know any "no yeast" bread recipes for a bread machine? Dana

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