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Before & After: Retro Card Table Redo

A couple weeks ago I met up with my friend Jamie from Home Solutions of WNY. Her client was selling some cool vintage furniture. Out of the lot I picked up this really cute (with some vision) vintage card table with matching folding chairs.

I purchased this 1960’s folding card table and chairs from the estate sale for $20. The table top and seats were covered in avocado vinyl that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since it’s last party, 40 years ago.

The way the table is constructed, the center of the table top is level with the outer rim, therefore I couldn’t substitute the vinyl with tile or a mosaic because it wouldn’t be level.  The best solution I found was laminating fabric.

To bring this classic furniture back to life, but keep it’s retro flare, I laminated funky fabric to redo the table top vinyl while allowing the chairs and table to match. Iron-on vinyl laminate was the perfect solution to restoring the retro look and retaining the functional attributes of an easy to clean surface.

To do this, take any fabric you like and cover with iron-on laminate, which you can buy in rolls at craft stores. The thing that is nice about this laminate is that it only sticks to the fabric if it’s been ironed. This makes it easy to position on your fabric.

Iron-on laminate set on fabric ready iron
Step 1: layer fabric + laminate +protective sheet – then iron
Step 2: flip over and iron
Table awaiting its new, easy to clean top

The trick to installing the laminated fabric was hammering in a thin plastic edging that fit in the table’s groove. This essentially gave it a tension fit. It’s not adhered in any other way to the table top. The edging is original, I just flipped it over because the side that had been exposed for 40+ years had yellowed. The flip side was pristine white.

I am really happy with the outcome!

Cost breakdown:
original investment $20
iron on laminate $8
fabric $15
Paint $3

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I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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4 Responses to Before & After: Retro Card Table Redo

  1. Home Solutions January 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    Just curious, how many coats of paint did it take, and did you brush it on, or use spray paint?

    • Cristin Frank January 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

      I brushed on the paint so I could work around the mechanisms that allow the table legs and chairs to fold up. In retrospect, I would have sprayed the top part of the chairs because of the intricate cut outs. After the primer, it took 2 coats of paint.

  2. Nutsy Fagan April 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Table is awesome!!! I have one just like it and want to do the same. Where did you get the plastic edging? I can’t wait to get started!!

  3. Cristin Frank April 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Hi Nutsy! The plastic edging is original to the table. If your table doesn’t have it, you could tack down your fabric with decorative fabric tacks or hide the tacks under a fold in the fabric. I’d love to see your table when you’re finished!

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