How can I reuse or recycle plastic tablecloths?

After last month’s straw placemats and coasters post, I got thinking about plastic “disposable” tablecloths – the type people buy as a cheap way to decorate their table for children’s (and other) parties.

They’re usually thin sheets of plastic, either brightly coloured or covered with character pictures – so they seem like ideal candidates for upcycling — any specific ideas?

They’re also good as table/floor/everything covers for during messy crafts sessions – or use a no sew poncho pattern to turn them into splash-proof ponchos for very messy art activities!

Of course, it would be better to reduce in the first place – buy multi-purpose washable textiles or easy-clean oilcloth ones. Or if you don’t want a bunch of 5 year olds to ruin your best linen, cover tables with cheap blank newsprint/sugar paper and let the kids decorate it themselves — the best bits can be cut out and kept as a memento and the rest can go into your paper recycling.

As for actually recycling plastic ones, they’re usually made from HDPE (resin code 2) like carrier bags – so can be recycled alongside shopping bags.

Any other ideas for reusing and upcycling them?

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Christmas, Easter, Halloween, household, items, kitchen

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13 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle plastic tablecloths?”

  1. Dani says:

    How about using them to line small wicking beds?

    Or, with a bit of sewing, turn them into shopping bags / chair bags for the back of childrens’ seats? Being plastic they should withstand felt tip pen leakage :-)

  2. They fuse fairly well, too. We’ve used plastic tablecloths to decorate plain fused shopping bag sheets for crafts.

  3. carol says:

    I buy them at yard sales and use them over the chicken coop to keep the wind out in the winter. Looks a little “tacky” but iti is what works.

  4. The material should be the right size, weight an strength to be converted into a childs kite.

  5. Petra says:

    Together with some old cotton cloth, I turned them into anti-leakage cloths for on my childrens mattress.

  6. Rondee says:

    Would work for wrapping presents.

  7. I find them less suitable for reuse due to poor quality. They are meant to be disposable, anyway! An alternative would be to have a good linen tablecloth over the table, and then put colourful posters (e.g. High School Musical, Ben 10, cartoon characters etc — you can buy poster mags in any newstand) on top of the tablecloth, as you would a placemat, and then put a sheet of heavy-duty plastic covering over the tablecloth and posters. At the end of the party, children can bring the posters home as favours.

  8. GreenMom says:

    Yes, sure! It can be used for baby cloth diaper covers. You can put inside the cotton fabric of a diaper cover to control leaks. May this can help someone with green mind. Thanks!

  9. Medeea says:

    They would make a picnic blanket waterproof.
    Or cut into rectangles and sewed at the back of new table mats (also as waterproof layer)
    Fused with sturdier plastic (like detergent bags) to make shopping totes. Great for kids too.

  10. Yeah! plastic tablecloth are excellent material to make homemade poly mailers… with sewed edges.

  11. Kim says:

    I have used them as drop cloths to paint or spray paint on.

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