There is a reason tablecloths come in every color for every season — they add so much to a festive table setting! Have you seen this pin? I loved the idea of using something as utilitarian as bubble wrap to print with. And I thought a tablecloth — something I can use all summer long — was the perfect surface to try it out. Isn’t it fun to make art you can use?
It’s a perfectly imperfect print. You can coordinate colors to your needs and you can use the same technique on a whole list of items — napkins, wrapping paper, the wall, clothing, pillows or lampshades, to name a few.
Printing with bubble wrap takes some patience and attention to detail. But don’t worry, I have tips below. And your fingers are sure to get a little painted as well, but the outcome is well worth the effort. I think the hardest part of this particular project is saving an unpopped sheet from the happy bubble-popping feet of my kids. : )
Let’s get to printing!
– tablecloth (pre-wash it if it’s new)
– paint (the tablecloth pictured used 7-8 craft paint bottles)
– smooth, wipeable surface like plexi-glass or counter top, or a disposable smooth surface like wax or parchment paper
– bubble wrap
– rag towel to wipe fingers
Decide how wide of a print you would like and cut the wrap accordingly. You can use and print with any length of bubble wrap strip, but a shorter piece is better. It’s rather unwieldy covered in paint!
Take time to cut away any deflated or halved bubbles because they can still hold paint and will make a messy print. Note: If you prep a strip of bubble wrap and then accidentally pop one like I did, the misprint can be fixed as I’ll explain below.
On your chosen smooth surface, add the paint. Use the brayer to smooth the paint onto a surface area large enough for your piece of bubble wrap.
A paint-loaded brayer or brush can be used to apply paint right to the bubble wrap, but, when printing on cloth, the paint color isn’t dense. The paint-on method does seem to work on paper.
Press the piece of bubble wrap into the paint, making sure all bubbles are adequately painted.
Carefully transfer the paint ladened bubble wrap to the tablecloth and press it down. When all parts of the bubble wrap have been pressed onto the tablecloth, gently pull it off.
Repeat the print around the tablecloth, making note to line up the edges for each new print.
I found that the bubbles lined up differently depending on the angle so if you turn a corner, the outer edge might be different from one side to the next.
If there is a misprint or missing bubble, simply cut out one bubble and use it to correct the missing print.
One last note: I highly recommend you practice on paper first, just to get a feel for the printing process before you print the actual tablecloth.
Allow to completely dry. Then get the tablewares, prep the meal, and enjoy!
P.S. — We love making things! Find lots more fun tutorials here.
Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom.
28 thoughts on “DIY: Bubble-Wrap Print Tablecloth”
What a fantastic use of bubble wrap! Thanks for the idea of using trash to make a treasure.
Only for you would I attempt making a bubble wrap tablecloth, but just don’t ask me to ever use a glue gun. The last time I did I hot glued the pads of my fingers off. Now I can commit bank robberies with our fear of prison as I no longer have fingerprints. An example of how arts and crafts can lead to crime.
I love your comments so much, Shannon. You always leave me laughing!
I love it – such a simple pattern, but with individual differences in amount of paint on each one.
this is perfect! simple, with tiny differences and so sweet! i love how you can make them for every occasion with different colors.
darling idea! it’s always hard to resist polka dots…however they are made. this could be fun for my kids for the summer!
This is genius Amy! I love it and I’m totally doing this for the summer birthday parties!
Would be fun to come up with some colour combinations that really pop — like fluorescent pinks and greens on the white.
xoxo PARIS BEE kids blog
Clever and good looking!
Amy, Thanks for the awesome idea. I love this! I think I might try this with my kids :)
very cool. and simple. a perfect combo.
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So fun, Amy! I LOVE how this turned out.
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What a great idea and looks fairly easy to do.
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Hi, I love this! And I immediatly relinked it on my new blog: http://www.einkleinesbisschenglueck.wordpress.com. I hope you do not mind. For this just started summer season I have to do this. It will be a great upcycle for my gran`s tablecloth.
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