The Dons (my husband and father-in-law) built a framed piece of 1/4 inch thick solid plywood for me that measured 4 feet by 6 feet, just slightly smaller than our farmhouse style dining table. They attached mitered pieces of 1X4 plywood to the back of the front piece of plywood so that the wood won't warp over time. I painted it with black enamel, and once that dried, I painted over it with a coat of Martha Stewart's Metallic Glaze in Black Coffee, which I bought at Home Depot for less than $6. Painting this massive piece of plywood only used about 1/3 of the paint, so I feel like that six bucks was money well spent. I hadn't planned on putting a metallic sparkle over the black paint, but I happened to see it when we bought the plywood and I thought it would give the background a nice sheen.
I let the glaze cure overnight, and this morning I adhered the doilies to the painted wood using 3M spray adhesive, which you can find in the spray paint section of Home Depot. I completed this step outside because the spray adhesive gets in the air and it's not safe to breathe in. It's also super tacky, and I ruined a bath towel making this project. I was in a rush to complete this and didn't take the time to find our drop cloth.
I have to say, I love it! I plan on eventually covering the entire surface with doilies and lace, and then using a light gloss spray to give everything a subtle sheen and tie it together, but I love it as it is, too.