I love taking something that was once deemed useless, and bringing it new purpose!  My card table has been used in so many DIY projects that it no longer looked like a card table at all.  However, I’m glad I didn’t throw it away! 

Paint has the power to transform something old into something new.  This pathetic card table was the prime candidate for such a transformation.  I had a lot of fun refurbishing this card table and the best part is that anyone can do it!  If you are new to DIY and want to start with an easy project, this one’s for you.

Step 1 Gather Supplies   

  • Philips screw driver
  • Pliers
  • Fabric for Tabletop: 1 1/8 yard
  • Clear Plastic Vinyl (table cover): 1 1/8 yard
  • Fabric for chairs: ½ yard per chair (I did four chairs so 2 yards)
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Spray paint (4 cans will paint 2 coats on 4 chairs and a table)
  • Clear Coat spray paint
  • Staple gun
  • ¼ inch staples (to use in your staple gun)
  • Tube of “Liquid Nails” adhesive or other strong adhesive
  • Caulk gun

Step 2 Disassemble

Begin by unscrewing the back cushions from each chair, using a standard Philips screwdriver.  Keep those screws in a small bowl or baggie, you will need them to reassemble the chair later.  The seat cushions can be removed by cutting the tips of the plastic fasteners off with pliers. 

Be careful not to pull the plastic screws.  They are “T” shaped and if they are pulled through they will rip the masonite board which anchors the cushion to the chair.   (If you do rip the board, you can replace it with some masonite board found at just about any hardware store).   

I used a white and yellow fabric and didn’t want the existing grey fabric to show through, so using a standard size staple remover, I removed the old fabric.  

If you are reupholstering the chair with a dark fabric you can skip the step above and simply place your new fabric over the existing cloth.   

Next, you will pull apart the table.  Simply unscrew the L shaped hardware found under the table, and keep those screws in a safe place for later use.

My table top had been “loved” by many DIY projects and needed to be completely replaced.  I removed the fabric and batting using the same staple remover, as I used on the seat cushions.  If your tabletop is in good condition then you can keep the existing covering.  


Step 3 Prep

Take a minute to wipe down the chairs with wet rag, so your paint adheres to a clean surface.  If you are painting a smooth metal chair you will need to give them a light sanding with 120 to 150 grit sand paper.  You need to sand them just enough to get a rough surface for the paint to adhere to.  My chairs were originally powder coated from the factory and didn’t require any sanding because they came with a textured finish.  If you are missing any plastic/rubber feet off your chairs, this is a great time to replace those.  I got a pack of 4 at home depot for a few dollars.  Wipe down the table making sure you clean the hinges and the corners.  


Step 4 Painting!


Now to the exciting part! Set up your chairs so they are not completely unfolded so you have access to the entire surface of the chairs.

 Spray paint chairs and table with first coat of paint.  While spraying, keep your spray can upright and about 8 to 12 inches away from the surface of the chairs and table.  Come back to your chairs after about 30 minutes for a second and final coat of colored paint.  Make sure every angle of the chair is covered.  


Step 5 Reupholster


While the paint is drying we will cover those chair cushions!  Cut the fabric for your chairs leaving an extra 3 inch border.  If you have a pattern like I did (large stripes), make sure your pattern lines up correctly before you cut.  Grab your staple gun — this will be fun.  

For the seat cushions, lay your existing cushion and masonite board on the backside of the fabric.  Stretch the fabric over the board, and while pressing the staple gun against the board, pull the trigger.  Staple all four sides of the cushion making sure your fabric is pulled tight each time you staple.  Don’t be stingy on the staples, just have at it!  The corners are done last by pulling the center over the board and folding the fabric over each other to get a nice pleated corner.  Take a minute and look at the bottom of your seats, there is a front and a back to them.  The front is more rounded than the back.  You will need to remember this when you assemble them.  

The back cushion has a plastic backing and is too narrow to staple, so a hot glue gun is required to adhere the fabric to the plastic.  Place the cushion and plastic back on top of your fabrics backside.  Begin hot gluing on the center top pulling the fabric taut and hold it for a few second to allow the glue to cool.  

Hot glue the bottom edge, going slowly around the corners.  Fold the fabric on itself as you go, working one inch at a time until the cushion is complete.  Make sure you do not cover up the existing screw holes, you will need access to these when you reassemble the chairs.

You can use several different fabrics for your table tops: laminated fabric (about $8 per yard), vinyl fabric (about $8 per yard), a plastic coated table cloth (at the dollar store) or you can use a regular fabric and cover it with a clear vinyl covering(about $8 per yard).   My local store didn’t have a very large selection of the vinyl or laminated fabrics, and I’m picky, so I used a regular fabric and a clear vinyl covering.  The clear vinyl covering is also thicker than any of the other options so if you want something durable, use clear vinyl.  

Next you will staple the table fabric to the back of the masonite tabletop using the same method you used to staple the fabric to the bottom chair cushions.   You do need to be careful of the “L” brackets.

 Cut a slit in your covering right in the center of the L brackets, and then staple the covering on either side to secure it.  As you staple, make sure your L brackets are facing the correct direction, as they can swivel on their own.  

Once your tabletop is covered, set it aside, and spray the chairs and table frame with a final clear coat.  This will help prevent dings and scratches.    Allow the clear coat to not only dry but cure, for 24 hours before you reattach everything (annoying I know but well worth the wait).


Step 6 Reassembling


To reattach the tabletop to the card table frame, simply screw it together the same way you took it apart.  The seat back cushions are assembled by screwing the plastic backs into the existing holes using the original screws.  The bottom seat cushion can be attached using liquid nails or other strong adhesive.   Squeeze 4 dollops of liquid nails or other strong adhesive on the frame of the chair, place your cushion with the front rounded corners in the front, and the more squared corners in the back.

Add some extra weight on it while it dries, your Harry Potter collection will do nicely if you don’t have dumbbell weights lying around.

To avoid nicks and scratches, let your card table and chairs sit for 5 to 6 days to allow the paint to cure fully.

A few hours of work and your table has a new life!  Doesn’t this card table just scream summer fun?  If you have any questions please comment and I’ll be sure to answer you quickly.  Also, I’d love for you to share your before and after pictures with me. Good luck on your card table, you’ll do great!