Flip Flop Asian-Inspired Table Top

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Damp towel
Metric tool
Wood glue
Fabric pencil or marker
Staple gun
Spray paint

I have always loved Asian art and décor. I even have a room in my home dedicated to this part of the world. Unfortunately, this room was missing a table.

About six months ago, I bought a table for a mere seven dollars at a garage sale, but I had not done anything with it yet; it had been sitting in the garage since the day it came home. I first thought I would just stain it and be done with it. However, when I thought about my Asian inspired room and how it was still missing the table, I set out to create something new.

With a little imagination, I was able to create a table with design and depth. By flipping the table over, using the underside as the table top, I was able to create a sunken rectangular section great for serving soups, teas, and other dishes.

I turned this cheap table into an upcycled, flip-flopped, Asian table top, and you can do the same with your old furniture. Here’s how:

Step 1 - Prep Your Table

Examine your table, making sure the surface is even. Look for splintering in the wood or nicks that could snag your fabric. Check to make sure the table is steady, tightening any loose screws.

Clean your table. Wipe down the top, sides, and legs with a warm, soapy rag and dry well. Scrub any stubborn stains as best as you can.

Step 2 - Dismantle Table

dismantle table top from legs

Use a screwdriver to take off all of the screws from the underside of the soon to be upcycled table. This allows you to have two pieces: the wood table top and the metal framing. Be sure to keep all of your screws together so you have them when it’s time to put them back in.

Depending on the type of table you are using, this step may vary. Tables made completely of wood may require complete disassembly.

Step 3 - Paint the Frame

Turn the frame of the table upside down and spray paint it. This step will change depending on whether your table is all wood or a metal/wood hybrid. Use your judgment and improvise as needed.

Make sure to put down a drop cloth outside where you are going to spray. Be careful of wind because the spray paint may stick to other products.

Remember to use sweeping motions when painting as to avoid paint drips. If your paint does drip, wipe the drip away and repaint that section. Allow at least six hours to dry before moving to the next step.

Step 4 - Take Measurements

To be sure you purchase the correct amount of fabric, you’ll need to measure the length and width of your repurposed table top, adding approximately four inches to each measurement. This will allow room for the edges of the table, tucking the material, and any extra allowances that may be needed.

Step 5 - Iron Your Fabric

Use an ironing board and iron your material just like you would anything else. Be sure there are no lines or creases in the material for your table top cover, or it will cause an uneven table surface.

Step 6 - Line up Fabric and Table

line up fabric with table top

Place the material on a flat, clean surface. Flooring will work well, as long as it is clean and level.

Place the upcycled table top on the material. If you like the sunken look, you can flip the table top upside down like I did. If you’d prefer a more traditional, flat surface, you can place the table top with the flat surface on the fabric.

Use a fabric pencil or marker to outline the table’s perimeter on your material. Be sure to keep an extra four inches or so around the edges to allow for the extra material that may be needed. Cut your fabric around your pre-drawn lines. (This is particularly important if you have a circular or oval table top, as a rectangular piece of fabric will cause uneven tucking as you continue.)

NOTE: If your table top is flat on both sides, you may not be able to achieve the sunken look. It will depend on the depth of your table top and your woodworking skills. You may be able to carve a sunken area to achieve this look. Exercise good judgment and caution here before you attempt to do so.

Step 7 – Secure Fabric to Table Top

Use a dab of glue in about eight or so spots around the underside of the table. Attach your material to the table at the spots where the glue has been placed. This will anchor the fabric to the table. Be sure to pull the fabric tightly to reduce bubbles or creases.

You can better secure your material to the table top with a staple or furniture tacks. Just be sure not to tack too close to where the legs will be reattached.

TIP: I stapled in a diagonal pattern in order to keep the edges from bunching up too much.

Step 8- Add Cutouts for Flare (Optional)

If you want to add depth to your table, you can alter the fabric’s look. Turn the table top over and cut out a design in the middle of the fabric. Because my table had a rectangle cut in from flipping it over, this step was easy.

If you have a painted table, you could cut a circle to show the patterned fabric and solid painted wood. If your table is patterned, you could use a solid fabric and cut a shape in the middle to show off the patterned wood. This step is optional and subject to your imagination.

Glue around the cut. Make sure to use a good adhesive made for the specific material your revamped table top is made of to ensure the glue sticks. Allow glue to dry completely before moving to the next step.

Step 9 - Reattach Frame

finished upcycled asian table

Screw the legs of the restored table into the top of the table.

Attach the screws and bolts in a diagonal pattern. Do not tighten the screws or bolts completely until you have gotten all of your hardware installed. This will ensure that everything fits in place before tightening it all down.

TIP: You may need to use a drill bit to drill some holes into the renovated table top before inserting the screws and bolts into place. This helps get the screw or bolt started that it is not such a difficult feat.

Step 10 - Add Finishing Touches and Enjoy!

Decorate your new, upcycled table. I used some Japanese lacquerware my great grandmother brought back from one of her many trips to Japan, but there are so many other different décor items that will work. Try adding some Japanese coasters or a parasol lamp.

Last, but not least, enjoy your beautiful new decorative table!

Time: 2 hours work time, 2 days w/ dry time || Cost: $40-45