May 27, 2015

big ironing board DIY

For years I've been annoyed by that tapered end on every ironing board. I mean who uses it?  Its good for clothes I guess, but any clothing of mine that needs to be ironed goes to the cleaners. There are only so many hours in the day, truly. No need to judge. But I do take my ironing for quiltmaking seriously, so I finally took action and now have a REAL ironing surface.

I've looked at the big board that is marketed to quilters and sits on top of your regular iron table. It's about $150. That option seemed bulky and somehow, seems like a bad compromise.

I considered building a big board from scratch (well actually, asking the husband to build one from scratch). There are quite a few blog tutorials out there and the materials can be acquired at a reasonable price.

Then I came across a blog with a tutorial to modify a side table from Ikea (with a table for ~$150). A side table is long and narrow and taller, so ideally more suited for converting to an ironing surface. Basically with this option, you would purchase the table, then install your own custom made wood top rather than install the top the table comes with. So you'd still need to build, or cut, the top. The Ikea in Houston did not have any side tables in stock (and wanted $99 to ship it. So forget that!) 

I started searching for other side tables and I found the one pictured above online at Walmart for $220. Target has the exact same table online for $270... um, Target, you should call the manufacturer and get a better deal.

Anyway, I recognize that $220 is not exactly cheap... quite a lot for an ironing surface in fact. But this particular table is the perfect size! The top is 60 inches long and 17 inches wide. And I have to say, it is incredibly well built, especially when compared to most Ikea furniture. And it has 2 drawers and a shelf underneath. Best of all, there is nothing to ask the husband to build. No trips to Home Depot. All done!

Here is a picture of the new table and the old iron board lined up side by side. They are both the same height, but the old ironing board is considerably shorter. The new one is very solid, no movement whatsoever.

Here's how to cover it.

First, cover the top with a layer of batting and staple it in place underneath.

Next, add a layer of Insul Bright (you can find it at JoAnn's). This stuff helps reflect heat, its used in a lot of pot holders and such. I highly recommend using a layer of Insul Bright, especially when you're using a solid wooden surface like this one - because there are no vents to release heat like the ironing board has. Staple the Insul Bright in place.

Finally, cover the top with silver "utility fabric" common to most iron boards, also sold by the yard from JoAnn's. You can staple this in place, or in my case, I sewed the edge all the way around and inserted twine to pull it taught so that it is easy to remove for washing.

Lastly, I am pretty tall... and who wants to hunch over while ironing? So I purchased bed risers and was able to lift the whole table 8 inches. These risers are incredibly steady and worth the extra $15!

I've seen some quilters cover their ironing surface in beautiful fabrics, especially home dec fabrics that are sturdy. I did consider that option... it certainly would make the room look brighter and more interesting. But, I know it will get dirty fairly quickly and then I think a nice decorative fabric would look really sad if its dirty. 

So, I opted for the practical route. I'm happy. And thrilled that there is no more tapered end!


  1. What a clever idea! Love the idea of the risers and never would have thought about that! If, if, if I ever get a spare room (move out kids) this is going to be a must have. Plus I have a funky couch table that would look better covered than not! I am also annoyed with the tapered end of an ironing board!

  2. Great pressing solution....and BTW - LOVE the zebra piece......

  3. Thank you for this tut! I'm recovering my boards and am off to JOanns.

  4. I have little patience when folks complain about the cost of things that they use everyday in the making of quilts. Really what are you forgoing? 25-30 yards of fabric..... fabric which most of us have by the hundred yards sitting in out stash.

    I have a big board on a standard work table. It sits on two boxes which gives me a place to put the cutting mats and rulers when not in use. Love it. And under the table are the three different bins for "scraps".

    You will wonder how you got anything pressed before you got the new arrangement.

  5. Hi, love your new ironing board. Want to make one for myself, looked on line and can not find the table either at Walmart or Target. How did you find it? Thanks for your help

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  7. If you want to dress If you want dress up your ironing board up and or want a change in the look just do a slip cover. Just use elastic instead of cord. Faster onand off. Love the room.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this great blog.Very inspiring and helpful too.Hope you continue to share more of your ideas.I will definitely love to read. best-ironing-boards

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  10. Aah, I need to do this. Looking for side tables now!

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