How to Make Capes for Kids from Plastic Tablecloths

Updated July 17, 2018

Plastic tablecloths are ideal for making capes for kids. The inexpensive tablecloths exist in lots of solid colours, and it's easy to cut them. Each tablecloth contains enough material for several capes for small children. Ideally, the cape should reach to the child's knees if the child is small but be shorter than ankle length so he won't trip. An older child may prefer a longer cape. Children can use the cape again and again. It cleans easily and is lightweight enough a young caped crusader won't knock things over when the cape flaps behind him during an adventure.

Measure the distance from the child's shoulders to knees and add four inches. Write down the measurement. Measure the width of the child from shoulder to shoulder across his back. Add four inches and write down the figure.

Unfold the plastic tablecloth and flatten it out on a work surface or the floor. Mark the plastic with the length measurement from Step 1 using a permanent marker. Draw the mark near the edge of the tablecloth. Starting at the top corner of the tablecloth, measure out the width from Step 1 and mark that spot along the top edge. Place the yardstick along the bottom (length) mark and mark the appropriate width with a dot from the permanent marker. This dot should be parallel to the width mark on the top edge.

Draw a thin line along the edge of a yardstick connecting the top and bottom marks. If the yardstick is not long enough, use the tape measure, keeping the tape from sliding as you draw. Place the yardstick across the length marks and draw a thin line connecting those points as a cutting guideline.

Cut out the cape along the lines. Trim away any uneven areas, making the edges as straight as possible.

Fold down the top edge of the cape about three inches to create a collar; it can be a little smaller or larger depending on the costume. Snip a vertical line 1 inch deep along the folded edge every four inches or so. Unfold the collar and string ribbon or elastic through the slits, pulling it through as if putting a belt through belt loops.

Place the cape over the child's shoulders. Tie the ribbon or elastic in a bow at the child's neck, making sure it's loose enough for comfort but tight enough so it won't swing out of place easily.


Choose a ribbon or elastic colour that matches or coordinates with the cape. To use a round tablecloth for a cape, fold it, cut it in half and gather the straight edge to be the part that goes around the neck. Follow the collar and ribbon steps as outlined above to make a tie.


Do not put a plastic cape on infant as he may choke if he rolls over onto the cape and puts it in his mouth.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pen and paper
  • Yardstick or long straightedge
  • Permanent marker or pen that writes on plastic
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or elastic, 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide and 3 feet long
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About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.