DIY: Tablecloth Play Tent
January 21, 2013
My children have the day off from public school today (Happy Martin Luther King, Jr day!) and one of their favorite things to do is to make forts – what kid doesn’t?
Knowing how much they love them, I made them a play tent in our dining room in the shape of a white tablecloth, complete with delightfully sweet curtained windows and a door for access too.
Who says dining rooms are just for eating? Not so at our house!
I cannot take credit for this creative plan… my kids have been making tents out of tabletops for years (yours too?). But then I saw a made to order custom playhouse tablecloth from a shop in South Africa and I thought now that is a totally brilliant idea!
I came up with a DIY version and gave it my own twist. I loved the curtains on the “windows” but I wanted a more discreet opening on the side and colors that would complement our home. I made the tablecloth and door with white fabric and the window panels from kitchen towels found at Target and it turned out sooo very cute!
To recreate it, all you need is enough fabric to cover the tabletop and the surround, and accent fabric for windows (or doors) plus a sewing machine and thread. And a few hours of time!
I’ve made tailored tablecloths before and I prefer not to buy the more expensive linen/cotton cloth, instead I use drapery liner because it’s thick, affordable, and is 54” wide. Drapery liner is rather heavy and you can buy it for $4-5 a yard if you find it on sale – I bought mine from Joann’s with a coupon.
You need enough to cover the table and wrap around and every table’s measurements are different. If you’re lucky and your tabletop is no more than 26” tall, you can cut the drapery liner in half to save a lot of dough, but mine is 29” tall so I had to buy yardage to wrap all the way around – a total of 8 ½ yards.
The construction is pretty basic… first cut the top piece and then hem the additional fabric to the edges of the top, turning it at the corners – I use pins to mark them.
When it was all stitched together, I pinned the bottom and hemmed that next.
I saved a scrap for the door, cutting open a doorway with scissors, hemming the edges of the scrap, then stitching a flap to the finished tablecloth tent.
To make the window panels, I cut each towel in half and pleated the upper portion of the curtain with the sewing machine, tucking the edges on both sides as I sewed.
Once they faux panels were pleated I cut out a hole for the windows.
Then I sewed the panels to the tops of the cutout windows – imperfectly sewn to the tablecloth, but oh well!
It turned out so darn cute, there won’t be any rush to take it down . . .
… and it will be perfect for those many rainy winter days when we’re all stuck indoors!