diy project: mark montano’s mat-covered table

i really enjoyed designer mark montano’s first book, the big-ass book of crafts– it was a celebration of accessible do-it-yourself projects and had some really clever (and affordable) ideas for fun weekend projects. so when i heard mark was doing a home-centric books, titled the big-ass book of home decor, i got excited.

mark’s latest book (published by stewart, tabori & chang) features 105 fun home diy projects which, frankly, blows my mind. we went a little crazy trying to do 50 projects for the d*s book, so i have the utmost respect for anyone who can pull together over 100. mark and the team at STC were kind enough to let us share a project here today and i’m so happy i got to pick my favorite: an inexpensive mat-covered table! i lived in an nyu dorm next to chinatown my sophomore year of college and i used to love collecting these colorful mats to use in our kitchen. mark has turned these fun mats into a great table covering using a little glue, a clear finish, and a pretty ribbon edging detail. it’s a great way to cover an ikea or hand-me-down table that needs a little love. [thanks mark and leslie!]

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump1


-Square or rectangular table
-Measuring Tape
-2 woven mats (often referred to as “Chinese mats” online and at home shops)
-Elmer’s wood glue
-2″ wide soft bristle brush
-hot glue gun and glue sticks
-1 roll of 3/8 ” grossgrain ribbon that matches your mat
-minwax polycrylic protective finish


1. Measure your tabletop and cut one of the mats to that size

2. Spread wood glue all over the tabletop with the brush and apply the mat. Use a nice amount of glue as the mat has to be permanently attached. Let the glue dry fully.

3. Measure the table legs and cut the other mat in pieces to wrap around the legs

4. Brush wood glue generously on the legs and adhere the mat pieces.

5. When the entire table is covered and dry, use the hot glue gun to attach the grosgrain ribbon around all the edges. Take your time and make sure you’re covering all the rough edges of the mat with the ribbon.

6. Coat the entire table (even the ribbon!) with the polycrylic and let it dry.

  1. Shones says:

    great project! i like the texture added with the mats.

  2. Melissa says:

    What a great idea! I love how he takes something slightly kitschy & makes it contemporary.

  3. Maria says:

    I love the look of this!

  4. angel o says:

    love the texture of this table. would love to create this project. have tried searching for ‘chinese mats’ and ‘woven mats’ with no luck. any idea where a country-bound girl could find affordable options online?

  5. Laurie says:

    that looks fabulous. I loved Mark from one of my only design show loves, second only to Changing Rooms. the delightfully voyeuristic My Celebrity Home.

  6. Lizabeth says:

    Try – it’s a store in NY’s Chinatown that’s fun to walk through.

  7. michele says:

    looks great!
    angel o,

  8. Angel,
    Try searching “straw beach mats.” I think there are a wide range of qualities–from $2 throw-away ones to nicer ones worthy of a table.

  9. Alisha says:

    This is would make a perfect table for a covered patio! My wheels are spinning! :D

  10. JP says:

    I saw some mats like this in Target’s dollar spot this past weekend.

  11. denise says:

    This table is so great! Definitely looking forward to picking up this book.

  12. Sharinaz says:

    I love Mark Montana!! He’s the best! In hard times like these, we still want our homes to be nice and its great when we can through budget friendly projects! Which is why design*sponge is always an inspiration and never fails to bring forward great ideas! :)

  13. I am so getting these books.

  14. Anna says:

    I gonna try with a old table!!

  15. claire says:

    What an awesome transformation!

  16. An excellent example of achieving style on a budget.

  17. Petra says:

    What a great way to transform an old table into a conversation worthy piece. Hooray for adaptive reuse!

  18. Claire says:

    a great book – I would definitely give it as a gift (to both guys and girls)

  19. Snottyboy says:

    After reading this post I bought both of this authors books and they are both excellent. Both are off beat, fun, creative and still accessible.

  20. Carolina says:

    I was thinking to do this-not with textured fabric- to my children’s bunk beds to make the look less campy. Awesome!

  21. Adrian says:

    Going to do this one tomorrow, only using a really cool zebra print shower curtain instead, since I have an animal print theme to the room and an old coffee table I got for free from the side of the road! I am so anxious!!


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