Let's pretend that you're going for the gaudy look this year. Wouldn't glaring electric lights look great on your table? Sure they would! But how do you plug them in? Despite the increase in battery powdered LED lights, not all things twinkly can be lit with a Duracell Double AA. Here's one way to handle the situation.
First, focus on the spectacular, attention-grabbing photograph below. I believe it's important to capture my reader's interest right from the get-go.
1. If you possess minimal woodworking skills, you can make an extra leaf for your table. The leaf can be made from the cheapest wood available. Its edges don’t have to match the beveled edging on your present table. It doesn't even have to be stained or painted. Tablecloths and table pads make such details unnecessary.
It's pretty much just a board with holes drilled on one side and holes fitted with pegs (called table pins) on the other side. If you can't locate pins locally, you can find them at Rockler Woodworking.
The THICKNESS of the board is the most important measurement to keep in mind when locating the wood. You can cut the board to the proper length or have the lumber yard cut it for you. Remember, you will be covering it with a tablecloth, so aesthetics are of no concern.
Of course, for a fee, you can hire a carpenter. I hired my dad. He was very cheap.
My leaf is rather crude, but it has served me well for many years. No one suspects it's anything less than part of the original table. (I take that back. The lamp wire disappearing down through the middle of the table is probably a big give-away, but my guests definitely don't know how ugly it is.)
2. Drill a hole in the middle of the leaf, big enough for a large electrical plug to drop through. Screw a long block of wood near the hole on the underside of the leaf. (Mine shows two wood strips that form a right angle.) Attach a power strip to the long block.
DO NOT attach the power strip directly to the underside of the leaf. You may want to plug in those heavy adapters commonly known as wall warts. They'll fall right out if they're plugged in upside down. I discovered this the hard way.
3. In order to connect the power strip to an outlet, run an extension cord under the tabletop and down the inside of the table leg that is closest to an outlet.
Try as I may, I've been unable to come up with a way to camouflage the extension cord as it runs along the floor from the table to the outlet. So I've taken the reverse position and decided to call attention to it.
4. Grab a paper tube from a gift wrapping roll. You should have a lot of them this time of year. Make a very long Christmas Cracker with fringe at each end. Insert the extension cord before you tie the ends with ribbon. (I know that was obvious to you, but I had one end all tied up before it dawned on me.)
5. Put a very large buttonhole in the center of great grandma's linen tablecloth.
OK, I'll wait a minute while you catch your breath.
Breathe . . . Breathe . . . Now think about it for a minute. A buttonhole is not going to prevent you from using the tablecloth without a lighted feature at some other time. If you go to the trouble of ironing a linen tablecloth, you’re probably going to place some type of centerpiece, whether fancy or plain, right in the center of the table. It will cover the buttonhole. No one will ever know - especially not great grandma, because she went to heaven years ago.
6. Plug everything in. Don't forget to flip the power strip's switch to ON.
7. Sing "You Light Up My Life" while you admire your handy work.
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