Sunday, July 13

DIY Ironing Board & Cutting Station Tutorial

- by Lara & Jim B.

DIY Ironing Board & Cutting Station

Are you tired of your too low, too wobbly, too thin old ironing board?  Does your back ache after long sessions of ironing?  Even the largest, store bought ironing boards are rarely more than 18 inches wide.  Have you ever thought about making your own bigger and better ironing board?

After putting our heads together to do just that, we decided to make our new ironing board as comfortable and multifunctional as possible.  We wanted the board to be at least 24" x 48”: long enough to accommodate the whole width of quilting fabric and wide enough for a big cutting mat - so the board would make a nice height for a cutting station as well.  We also wanted the unit to serve as a bookshelf and to hold supplies, so we started with a 36” tall bookcase for a base.

This is how we built our own, homemade ironing station:

·       1 bookshelf or other sturdy base, in your preferred ironing height. 
·       1 quarter sheet of 3/4 inch thick plywood (24" x 48")
·       1¼ yards of 45” wide Insul-bright fabric
·       2 yards of cotton batting (Do not use polyester batting – it melts!)
·       1½ yards of heavy cotton duck or canvas fabric
·       2 yards of silver ironing board fabric with an aluminized coating (we found it at JoAnn Fabrics)

Tools and Supplies:
·       Two pairs of scissors: one pair for fabric and batting and the other a not so nice pair for cutting through the fabrics with a metallic layer.
·       Staple gun and staples
·       White school glue
·       Drill
·       Four to six 1 inch long screws
·       Hammer (I always have my trusty hammer at the ready)


1.  Measure the top of the bookshelf.  This size will become the shelf’s footprint. 
2.  On the underside of the ¾” plywood, center and draw out the shelf footprint.
3.  Cut a whole piece of Insul-bright to fit exactly on the top of the plywood.  Set aside.
4.  Flip the plywood over to the topside and lay a fine line of white school glue around the perimeter. 
5.  Lay the piece of Insul-bright on top of the plywood, shiny side up, and aligned perfectly with the edges of the wood.  Let the glue set for a little while.
Diagram of Layers

Each of the next layers will need to be cut consecutively larger as you staple each one around the plywood.  The method to use for applying each layer is as follows:
6.  Place the material wrong side up on your work surface.  Smooth it out, so that it lies perfectly flat. 
7.  Center the plywood over the piece, padded side down.
8.  Wrap the material up and around the edge of the wood.  Staple gun the material onto the underside of the plywood.  Work in a symmetrical pattern around all four sides, make sure that the material is pulled very tight, yet not stretched so much that it distorts, and keep your staples in nice straight line, parallel to the edge of the plywood.  Do not staple past the bookshelf footprint that you drew on the underside of the plywood earlier.  The only layer that should extend over the footprint is the silver ironing board fabric.
9.  Miter the corners as if you were gift wrapping a box.

This is the order in which to apply the layers (after you have applied the Insul-bright)
·       2 layers of cotton batting.  One should be approximately 28” x 52” and the other should be approximately 29” x 53”. 
·       1 layer of heavy cotton duck or canvas approximately 30” x 54”
·       1 layer of silver, aluminized ironing board fabric, cut large enough to extend slightly past the shelf footprint when folded around the edges. 

Once all the layers are stapled to the plywood, it is ready to be attached to the base.  Predrill holes near each corner of top shelf of your base.  Center the ironing board over the shelf.  Hold in place and screw the plywood top to the top of the bookcase from underneath.

We are both thrilled with the board. It cost far less than buying a large, premade ironing and cutting station.  It has made a very big difference, not just in how long we can work without backache, but its size speeds up so many processes and the padding materials help the iron remove wrinkles much more quickly. 



  1. I don't know what happened to my comment so I'll try again! This is a great idea! I will be making my own in the near future. Thanks for your excellent tutorial!

  2. This is a great idea and a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. This is AWESOME!! I really want a husband to make me cool necessaries like this!!! Is there such a thing as rent-a-husband? j/k I'll probably be making this myself as I've needed/wanted a bigger/wider board for quite some time. Thanks for this fantastic tutorial.

  4. This is exactly what I need for my little sewing space! Thank you for the info.

  5. Yes! This! Very nice, thanks for the tutorial. I'm putting this on my wish list as I rearrange my sewing room!

  6. This is a must-have! The tutorial is great, and the diagrams are super helpful! Thank you, thank you, both!!!

  7. What a fantastic idea! I have a small bedroom that I used for sewing and I am getting tired of kneeling on the floor to cut fabric. Going to be on the look out for a bookcase, so I can build something like this.

  8. Back with an update. I used your idea to make my own cutting/ Iron table. Thanks for the wonderful helpful idea! Hugs, Heide

    Here is my link.

  9. Great idea! Where do we buy the aluminized fabric? Posssibly second hand shop will have something for bottom

    1. Hi Leslie! Thank you! You can buy aluminized fabric from JoAnn fabrics, either in store or online. I've also seen it on eBay.
      I hope you check back here for the answer - you are a no reply commenter and I was unable to answer by email.

  10. What a fabulous idea! Saving so I can make one!

    1. Thank you Pam! It's a real back saver. :)

  11. Love your ironing and cutting station! Please tell me, what is that you have your iron leaning on? I've not seen one before. Great idea!