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!