Coffee & Side Tables

Published on January 29th, 2013 | by Jules Yap


Faux Gator Coffee Table

Materials: LACK table, faux gator upholstery fabric, staple gun, sewing machine

Description: My poor IKEA LACK coffee table has been through a lot. Originally black, I attempted to paint it silver (big mistake), then painted it white, then covered it with a white and gold patterned contact paper. For year€™s I’€™ve wanted to cover it with some sort of reptile skin. I never imagined it would turn out THIS fantastic.

Here’€™s what I did:

I ordered about 3 1/2 yards of this awesome Faux Leather Gator fabric in Pearl White from It’€™s upholstery fabric with felt backing, but it’€™s not too heavy.

After I disassembled the table, I laid the large pieces on top of the fabric and cut around, leaving about 2 inches around each side.

One of the problems I face was figuring out how to make the finished product look as smooth and seamless as possible. I ended up cutting a diagonal line at each corner and then hand-sewed together from the inside.

Enter the staple gun. I pulled the fabric as tight as I could so that it would lie flat on its top and stapled along all sides on the bottom of the table. For the bottom shelf of the table, I didn’€™t sew the edges. It’€™s much thinner than the table top, so it was far easier to simply fold and staple underneath to get the effect I needed.

The legs were the most difficult part! I wanted to make sure the legs looked clean, so I decided to sew the fabric here as well. The leg is 8 inches all around, so I measured and cut the fabric accordingly, then sewed together with a sewing machine. There’€™s a screw on the inside of each leg that the bottom shelf sits on. I had one hell of a time getting the fabric tight enough not to sag once on the leg, but not too tight that it wouldn’€™t slip over that screw. Only a few cuts on the hands and several broken nails!

To make the legs look more finished, I stapled the fabric to the top and bottom of each leg.


See more of the faux gator Lack coffee table.

~ Catharine, New York, NY

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

13 Responses to Faux Gator Coffee Table

  1. Alice says:

    I’ve been having a devil of a time deciding between the pearl ostrich, or silver ostrich and the white or silver alligator for two (painted) silver French wood chairs. Did you find it this difficult to decide?

    Funny, I had considered doing my coffee table the same way but the style would make it more difficult to do. I’d even bought the alligator fabric but white wasn’t available at $1.00 yds. so I figured I’d paint it. Now, I’m doing French style chairs/ I used car spray paint, a silver acrylic lacquer made for Hondas at Ollie’s for .99 and it was so easy to paint. I’ve been reading that lacquer is fast drying and if you get a run, spraying over it will absorb it and in my case, it did! If your interest go to “acrylic lacquer” in your browser.

  2. Lamis says:

    Can you show a picture of how the under sides of the table looks like?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just love this! Now that’s thinking out of the box.

  4. Anonymous says:

    YHL ;) Love them and I love this too! Great job!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    fantastic doesn’t even come close! it is fabulous! smart and sassy! nice choice in material and color …….

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that is fantastic! Well done!

  7. I never knew there was such a thing as faux gator upholstery fabric! It looks fantastic!

  8. Love the look of the gator skin on furniture. It really gives a room a strong chic look.

  9. Sue Marrazzo says:

    nice Idea…black would look cool…TOO!!!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Beautifully done!

  11. Wow! This is one serious LACK upgrade! The end effect is impeccable. I don’t usually like things made with animal skin, but this looks subtle and quite elegant. Can’t imagine how much effort all that sewing took, especially with the table legs. It’s definitely not recognisable as an Ikea piece any more ;)

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