A Holiday Tradition: The Heirloom Tablecloth

November 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm (Artist Musings)

My mom knows how to set a beautiful table. During the holidays, she made the table extra special by putting out photographs of loved ones who couldn’t be with us or had passed. The photographs acknowledged holiday traditions past, present, and future and inspired my first image transfer craft project.

I originally demonstrated how to make the Heirloom Photo Tablecloth on HGTV’s Crafter’s Coast to Coast. The response to this project was overwhelming, and I received e-mails from viewers all over the country.  So here it is. My holiday gift to you, a how-to create the Heirloom Photo Tablecloth. 

For this project, you will need: T-Shirt Transfer Paper, an iron, pins, a plain white or cream tablecloth  (for best result pre-wash first), and photographs (black and white or color).

First, scan your photographs onto your computer. Scanning your photographs allows you the ability to edit, crop, and even fix old photos. Once you have the photos the way you want them, use your photo editing software (most computers come with some sort of photo editing software) to reverse or flip all of the images. If you don’t have a scanner, you can  go to your local copy center. They might even be able to copy your photographs directly onto the T-Shirt Transfer Paper for you.

Next, print your scanned images onto the T-Shirt transfer paper. I used an inkjet printer. Cut out each image and pin the T-Shirt transferred photos onto the tablecloth for placement (you want to evenly distribute the photographs around the tablecloth). 

Once you have the photos where you want them, place the images face down onto tablecloth.  Set iron to the highest setting before steam (do not use steam setting) and iron pictures onto the tablecloth one at a time (following the iron on instructions on your package of T-Shirt Transfer paper). For my Heirloom Photo Tablecloth, I made coordinating napkins using the same technique.

So this holiday season, enjoy your own family traditions, past, present, and future, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.



  1. Anna Podris said,

    I love this idea Lauren! Thank you! I will be sharing this with my mom- maybe we’ll make one!


  2. ~joanna said,

    Ditto, this would be a great family tradition and family gift idea.

    Your mother has just give us all a great heirloom idea.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.



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