Last week I decided that I had enough of struggling with ironing my quilt top or my quilt backing or my quilt batting on my ironing board. That pointy end that is great for ironing clothes? Not. Designed. For. A. Quilter. The soft, squishy top of the ironing board? Not. Designed. For. A. Quilter. So, I talked to Mister about an idea I had to convert it to a pressing board instead. He said it would work, and off to the hardware store we went!
I figured I would write up a brief tutorial about our process in case anyone else is interested. After running around getting all of our supplies, it took about an hour and a half to put together. If you decide to do this, please let me know! You can find me on Instagram and I’d LOVE it if you tagged me in a picture there so I can see your new pressing board!
Convert Your Ironing Board To A Pressing Board
1. Metal Ironing Board Frame
2. Piece of wood cut large enough to fit. This one is 16″ wide x 56″ long. You can use OSB, or any type of flat wood that has not been chemically treated. Be sure it is not warped, and that it doesn’t have any knots along the edges. We found a piece of 3/4″ thick Fir that was 16″ by 6 feet long at the Hardware store. After measuring my ironing board, he used a Skill Saw to cut it to 16″ wide by 56″ long. If you aren’t handy, don’t have a handy-person around or a Skill saw, typically the Hardware stores WILL cut the wood to size for you… For free! Just ask them.
3. Cotton Canvas and 100% Cotton Batting cut 2″ larger on all sides than your wood piece. My board was cut to 16″ wide by 56″ long, so I cut my fabric and batting pieces to 20″ wide by 60″ long. You want to be sure to use only natural fibers here, NOT synthetic. You don’t want to melt your fibers with your iron, and your pressing board will be having to withstand high temperatures. I used Warm & Natural for my batting.
4. Four 1/4-20 1.5″ countersunk machine screws with matching washers and nuts. We used machine screws because the ironing board was metal. You can use ANY type of bolt/washer/nut combination that fits. Just be sure that you countersink them so that the screw head is even with the board.
5. Drill, drill bit & countersink bit (if you have no countersink bit, you can use a much larger drill bit to perform the same function… carefully)
6. Staple gun and Hammer (for getting those pesky staples that don’t seat properly)
Optional (for rounding corners of pressing board):
7. Round template (we used a peanut jar lid!) and pencil.
8. Jigsaw or handsaw
9. Palm sander or sandpaper
- Cut board to size or have hardware store cut board for you.
- Optional: Use round template to mark corners of board.
- Use jigsaw or a hand saw of some sort to cut corners. This part does not have to be perfect! Don’t stress, just round the corner!
- Use palm sander or sand paper to smooth edges.
- Lay your ironing board frame on the wood piece and mark the holes on the bottom of the board (the side that wil be against the metal ironing board frame).
- Use your drill and a drill bit that corresponds with your screw size (our bit was 1/4″) and drill the holes.
- Flip the wood over to the top side, and find the holes you drilled. Use your countersink bit, or a larger bit (a half inch bit in our case) and ream out the top of the hole. This will help your countersink screw to stay even with the wood. BE SURE YOU ARE REAMING OUT THE TOP SIDE OF THE BOARD, not the bottom!!
- Screw the screws into the wood. OPTIONAL: Put a little glue on the screw before screwing in. This helps to hold the screw when you tighten the nut on it later.
- If you haven’t cut your fabric and batting, do so now. Remember: 2″ larger than your board on each side; 4″ total to length and width. My board was cut to 16″ wide by 56″ long, so my fabric/batting was cut to 20″ wide by 60″ long.
- OPTIONAL: You may serge or zig zag the edges of your fabric if you wish. I didn’t think that was necessary. If the fabric ends up fraying later, I will put some fray check on it, but I don’t think that will happen.
- Lay your fabric wrong side up. Put batting on top of the fabric, and then lay the wood top side down on top of your fabric. The screws should be sticking out of the wood facing you. If your fabric is directional, be sure the fabric is going in the direction you want!
- Start by stapling the fabric and batting down in the middle of each end and side. Then do the corners. Add additional staples along the sides and ends as necessary to keep the fabric taut.
- Use the hammer to seat any staples that don’t sit flush with the wood.
- Lay the wood face down and put the board frame on it, being sure to put the screws in the same holes you used to mark the board.
- Add a washer and nut and tighten over each screw.
- Stand back and admire your work!
I hope you liked this tutorial and found it helpful! If I made anything unclear, or if you have any questions please leave a comment and I’ll address it as soon as possible!