Instant No Sew Tablecloth

I know there are two words that every DIY decorator loves to hear…  “easy” and “no sew“. If this sounds like your style, then I have a decorating project that will cover you on both fronts.

How to make a no sew tablecloth in under 10 minutes that needs no ironing and will last for years!

In between all the prepping and purging I have been doing the last month to ready my house to sell, I did have time to make a no sew tablecloth that is also fuss-free (in the maintenance department) for my outdoor dining table.  So much of what I have been doing the past month will stay with the house. I enjoyed making something colorful that I can take with us.

I know the summer is ending and many of you have fall on your minds, but this cloth can be used inside as well.

No Sew Easy Care wipeable tablecloth

After using a white cotton cloth on the table earlier in the summer that needed to be laundered and pressed to look halfway decent.  I decided I had to go in search of more of the same type of fabric from which I made a tablecloth for my dining room table.

I found the fabric for my new cloth at The Stripes Company. The color/pattern is called Weightlifting.

What makes it easy to care for and no-sew? The fabric is oilcloth!

What is oilcloth?

Modern day oilcloth is a canvas fabric that has a wipeable, semi-shiny, hard-wearing PVC coating that wipes clean easily. It is perfect for tablecloths. One side of the canvas is semi-shiny, the other side is untreated.

What I like best about oilcloth is that it is super durable and will last for years. Spills won’t stain it and you don’t have to iron it. :-)  Just wipe it clean, let dry and roll it up to store. It will grace many gatherings around your dining table for years to come.

The fabric got the name “oilcloth” in the days before vinyl. It was fabric that was boiled in linseed oil to make it waterproof. Oilcloth often features a printed design. Think of 50’s retro chic and visions of oilcloth tablecloths may come to mind.

IMPORTANT: If you do purchase oilcloth online and have it shipped to you. Request that it is rolled on a tube and not folded. This way creases won’t form in the cloth. Mine came folded and it had creases, they eventually go away, but I wish I had asked for it rolled.

If you do get folded oilcloth, the best way to get the creases out is to unfold it right away and spread over your table so the folds can soften.


To store a tablecloth to keep it wrinkle and crease free, roll it up on a cardboard fabric tube instead of folding. Use  painter’s tape to secure.  Stand tube on one end and place in a closet. When it is time to use again, your cloth will be  wrinkle-free and ready.

If you don’t have fabric tubes, try this tablecloth storage idea that I use to store all my cloths, not just ones made from oilcloth.


How to Make a No-Sew Tablecloth

supplies needed:

  • Measuring tape
  • Oilcloth in yardage needed
  • Yardstick
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Optional – white glue and a foam paint brush

1. Measure your table’s width and length. The oilcloth is 56″ wide.  The stripes run horizontally with the length of the cloth. You can get it cut to the amount of yardage you need. I used the whole width of the fabric and added 12″ to the length:

My table measures 44″ x 84″. The size of my tablecloth is 56″ x 96″. The extra is needed for a 6″ drop on all sides.

How to make a no sew tablecloth

2. To cut cloth to size needed while making sure your cut line is straight:  Turn fabric wrong side up.  Use a piece of chalk or marker to mark length from one end’s edge. Repeat all along edge.


3. Connect marks with a yardstick and draw a line.  Use this as your cutting line. Cut with a very sharp pair of scissors.

Optional: I did not do this since oil cloth does not ravel or fray, but if you want to seal the edges, do so with a foam brush and white glue that is slightly watered down.  1 part glue to 1/2 part water, mix well.  Brush the mixture over the cut edges and let dry.

No sew, easy care tablecloth

If you like to hear the words no-sew and easy to care for when it comes to tablecloths, check out the fabric I used. It comes in many different styles and colors.

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  1. Love your site I’ve been looking for oilcloth that is 60in wide. Do you have any ideas where I can find it?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Gaile – 60 in wide oilcloth is very hard to find. Have you looked at JoAnn Fabrics? Hobby Lobby? or online fabric stores. You may have to buy an oilcloth tablecloth to get it 60″. Have you checked here:

  2. Love this…easy and great tip for storing. Love the colors….so you Diane?

  3. Top Table Cloth Ltd. says:

    I have read you post. Thanks for sharing the awesome post with images.

  4. Another idea…. I found some heavy “oilcloth” type tablecloths with a backing, & bought one in a stripe and another in a coordinating floral print of the same colors….about $3.99 each at the time. I use the striped one on my food table on the deck….just an old hand built table of 2 x 4’s with 4 x4 legs. When I have cookouts, that is the buffet table. Then I took the floral print table cloth and sewed up some covers for some old pillows I had, and I put those on a bench. With an indoor – outdoor rug, it makes for a very colorful area on the deck & since everything is waterproof, I even leave them out in the rain if it’s not too heavy of a downpour. (Too heavy a rain and it will leak into the sewed seams of the pillows. ) I bought the tablecloths either at Big Lots or one of the Dollar Stores…. I can’t remember which, but I’ve had them now about 5 years and they are still working out great. ‘Just a tho’t for some of you…. I think Walmart had some of these tablecloths at one time, not sure if they still do. They are like the old-fashioned tablecloths we used to have years ago , waterproof for kids…. Perhaps some of you might think about that for an idea, too. My table is 6’ long, so the tablecloths are plenty long enough to make 3 – 4 pillows.

  5. If you don’t have a cardboard fabric tube, I bet that a pool noodle would work well too.

  6. Can an oilcloth tablecloth be used outdoors? Will it get mold or mildew?Is it easy to wash?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Polly – Yes, I used mine outside all last summer. I didn’t leave it out, I rolled it up on a tube when not in use and stored it in a closet. To clean it, I used a damp rag and dish detergent to wipe it clean before storing it.

  7. Karolyn Abreu says:

    Do you have other store information for oilcloths in the US? Those are very nice from Striped Oilcloth, but was looking for something different.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Karolyn –

      It is very hard to find real oilcloth anywhere in the US. I have found a few at JoAnn Fabrics and on You might want to check each. Also put into a Google search for “oilcloth in the pattern” you are seeking and see what turns up in the search.

  8. Hii Diane,
    I came across your space a few months before, and from on-wards, I must say you have became a great source of inspiration for the 21 yr old girly here: D I too have similar interests as of yours and I am learning a lot from your blog. Thank you so much. XOXO

  9. I have never heard of oilcloth before. Thank you for the lesson. I love the bright colors and stripes.

  10. Cheryl Grays says:

    Table cloth is georgrous. But I calculated a $150 cost for a vinyl outdoor unhemmed table cloth. Sounds too pricey.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cheryl – I agree, it is a little pricey but it will last for a long time so I think it is worth it. I do miss the days when high quality decorator fabrics were less expensive. I always look for sales and use coupons if I can find them. I did get oilcloth, not exactly like this, it was a bit shinier at JoAnn Fabrics. It was around $14 a yard and I used a 40% off coupon when I bought it. :-)

  11. I have always loved oil cloth, I think it must be the nostalgia. I have a tote bag made out of oil cloth and it is the most durable one I have ever owned. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Linda Weeks says:

    This reminds me of how my mom and dad used to make a special trip every couple of years to go buy a new oilcloth for the kitchen table. Back then, we’d go to the hardware section of this country store and see all the designs that were displayed on huge rolls, pick one out, (red apples! colorful plaid! Roosters! ) and they would cut it for us. It wasn’t expensive, and it would last and last. Even after it wasn’t pretty enough to be used on the table anymore, it made a great almost weather-proof cover for other things, like the wood we set out for the fireplace, or covering a load of rubbish headed for the dump… I’m glad they still make the stuff! I thought my mother was infinitely clever to use such things.