Paper Tablecloths

yellow tablecloth
Paper is perfect for parties.

Paper tablecloths are an inexpensive and practical addition to any linen closet. These useful pieces may come in quite handy on certain occasions.

About Paper Tablecloths

A paper tablecloth is a disposable alternative to a traditional cloth or vinyl tablecloth. Since they are so convenient and require no special care, they are quite popular for special events. Despite the fact that it is made of paper, this effortless tablecloth is actually quite strong and reliable. The new breed of paper tablecloths is built to withstand basic usage, and there are many varieties that are decorative, elegant and colorful. They are also extremely affordable and available in a number of sizes and for all table shapes.

When to Use Them

Fancy tablecloths certainly have their time and place. Elegant dinner parties, weddings and galas typically call for very formal linens that capture the spirit and special feeling of the occasion. Paper may not evoke the same decadence as fabric, but it is still appropriate to use in certain situations, including children's birthday parties, holiday and office parties, casual lunches, relaxed dinners and outdoor events.

Not only that, but they also make perfect standby tablecloths when your usual choice just isn't up to the task. For example, you may discover that your favorite fabric tablecloth has a stain, or that your oft-used vinyl tablecloth is starting to show signs of wear. It's a good idea to have a few paper alternatives on hand, ranging from simple and nondescript to fun and colorful. That way, you'll always have something appropriate for any given occasion.

Versatile Styles

Believe it or not, these tablecloths are surprisingly versatile. Sure, they certainly suit certain occasions better than others, but there are so many styles available today that, in a pinch, one could surely work if needed at a fancier event. Look for these details:

  • Colors: White tablecloths might be suitable for some occasions, but don't be afraid to experiment with something bold and beautiful. You'll find everything from soft pinks (perfect for little girls' birthday parties) to neon green (ideal for 1980s party theme).
  • Linen look: Although they are just as convenient and effortless as basic paper, "like linen" tablecloths are a different breed altogether. They are simply pretty and classy, usually available in crisp white or soft shades of ivory, and feel magnificently soft. "Like linen" tablecloths are constructed of a heavier stock paper and the backing may be coated with plastic for extra stability.
  • Prints: A bit less common than simple colorful tablecloths, some paper varieties are printed for a fun, different look. If you're attending a picnic, you might consider a classic red and white checkerboard tablecloth made of paper. This particular pattern is readily available. Since paper is so common at kids' parties, expect to find several child-friendly prints, too, like princess motifs and airplanes. Holiday patterns are also abundant.

Important Details

Paper tablecloths are extremely convenient, and require no special care other than simply being handled and stored properly. However, it's still a good idea to focus on some key details when shopping for one:

  • Since paper tablecloths are favored for some special events and may need to cover a great number of tables, they are often sold in rolls. Essentially, these are extra long strips of paper that can be cut to custom fit your tables. Pay close attention to the width to ensure it will completely cover your tables and the length to determine how many rolls you need.
  • Don't be fooled by the word "paper". Sure, it isn't exactly silk or cotton, but it is made to be durable and easier to handle with the presence of a backing liner. Usually these are made of polyester plastic. For the most efficient type, look for tablecloths that are made with two-ply paper and have a liner.

Where to Purchase

Paper tablecloths are readily available at party stores, mass merchandisers like Target and Walmart, and even card stores like Hallmark, especially during the holiday season. If you're seeking a themed tablecloth, you might have some luck on eBay.

As with any tablecloth, proper measurements are essential so bear that in mind whether you're purchasing a cutting roll or a pre-cut cloth. With the right size and a variety of styles at your disposal, you'll find plenty of uses from this simple table covering.

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Paper Tablecloths