How To: Cover a Ruined Table Top with Recycled Paper

How To: Cover a Ruined Table Top with Recycled PaperHave you ever come across a really cute table at a thrift store or garage sale, but the top needs way too much work? Have no fear– you can make it look pretty again with recycled paper!

I bought an adorable metal table at a garage sale with the intention of quickly painting it and selling it at my craft booth. However, when I started working on it, I could not get the top to smooth out. The paint kept chipping in some places and wouldn’t budge in others. Instead of stripping the paint, I chose another option: covering the top with recycled paper.

What You Will Need:

1. A table

2. Recycled Paper. I used sheet music.

3. School glue. If you can, use eco glue.

4. Scissors

5. Sandpaper

6. Polyurethane or other sealer

7. A small paint brush

8. A bowl

How To Do It:

1. Prep your table. If you plan on painting the bottom half of the table, make sure you do that first. Sand the top of your table simply to rough up the surface (this will help the glue adhere better). This is what I started with:

How To: Cover a Ruined Table Top with Recycled Paper

2. Mix school glue and a little bit of water together in a bowl. You will want it to be the consistency of soup.

3. Use the glue mixture and your small paint brush to glue the recycled paper to the top of the table. Then, brush some more glue on top. Make sure you smooth out any ripples or air bubbles (which I obviously hadn’t done before I took the picture below).

How To: Cover a Ruined Table Top with Recycled Paper

4. Once the paper has dried, cut off any excess paper. Cut as close as you can to the table.

5. Then, use sandpaper on the edge to remove any extra paper. Move the sandpaper in a downward motion so you don’t pull up the paper. The sandpaper will give it a clean edge like so:

How To: Cover a Ruined Table Top with Recycled Paper

6. Carefully clean the table of any dust left behind.

7. Seal the sheet music with polyurethane or any sealer of your choice. This will prevent the sheet music from getting ruined by everyday use.

How To: Cover a Ruined Table Top with Recycled Paper

Now when you see a ruined table top at a second-hand store, you should be inspired instead of scared– your beast of a piece could become a beauty!

Looking for more furniture redos? Check these out:

Written by Bonnie Getchell

Hello! I'm Bonnie -- a craft nerd, musician, writer, furniture and vintage lover, crafter, and diyer!

If you would like to learn more about me, I also have my own blog, Revolutionaries, where I write about more craft projects, furniture redos, and my faith! You can also find me on , Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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  1. Adorable! Love the use of sheet music. Very easy to follow directions for beginners, so I imagine we’ll see lots of upcycled tables.

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