May 17, 2020

How to Make a Simple Ironing Board (Tutorial)

This is completely random, but I made a small project yesterday that I thought I'd post.

As I've been making face masks by the ton, I've been using my iron a lot. I never, ever iron clothes, so I don't even own an ironing board. I've only ever used the iron for sewing purposes.

In order to use it, I would place a folded towel on my dining room table. It was super frustrating, because it would never stay in place and it would pucker near the embroidered parts of the towel.

I finally got to the point where I thought "How hard can it be to make an ironing board?" and I used some scrap materials I had to make one. I LOVE how it turned out, so I thought I'd post a tutorial in case anyone else is tired of using towels interested in making one.

I had a scrap piece of 1/2-inch thick plywood, so I figured I could use that as the base; then I could add a padding of some sort and a decorative fabric on the top. Here is what I ended up doing...


*1/2-inch thick plywood, 16 inches x 24 inches
*A piece of fleece fabric, about 18 inches x 26 inches
*A piece of felt fabric, about 18 inches x 26 inches
*A piece of cotton decorative fabric, about 20 inches x 28 inches
*Heavy duty staples (upholstery staples)

I used a pneumatic staple gun, because I'm borrowing it from my brother for the insulation in the garage, but a manual staple gun (like this one--Amazon affiliate link) would work fine.

I chose a piece of fabric from the huge assortment that Sarah, one of my blog readers, sent to me. It looks like a bunch of measuring tapes--I thought that would be perfect for an ironing board used for sewing! I had some scrap fleece and felt, so I didn't have to buy anything for the project.

First, I cut the plywood to size. I didn't want anything huge--I basically wanted something the size of a bath towel that's folded in half (because that's what I was used to using on the table). After some measuring, I ultimately cut the plywood to 16 x 24 inches.

Then I rounded off the edges with a router so they wouldn't be as sharp. Not necessary, but nice.

To put it all together, I laid out the decorative fabric (face-down) first; then on top of that, I laid the felt; and on top of the felt, I laid the fleece. I smoothed it out really well, making sure there weren't ANY wrinkles, and then put the board (face-down) on top.

I cut the decorative fabric larger than the other fabrics to allow for folding over the edging (which will make sense in the photos). Once I had it laid out and everything was smooth and even, I cut the corners of the fleece/felt layers like this:

Cutting out the excess fabric will remove bulk so that the board will lie flat when it's done.

Next, I folded the decorative fabric over the fleece/felt fabrics along a LONG edge of the board.

Then, take the fabrics as a whole and fold them over the board. (The double fold is to keep the raw edges from being visible underneath.) Place a staple in the center of the long edge. You'll have to do staples alternately on each side to make sure that the fabric is taut without wrinkles.

Place a staple on the opposite side, pulling the fabric tightly (but not super tight to where it'll pucker or rip).

Staple along the entire edge, alternating sides and pulling the fabric kind of tight as you go along.

Now, for the short sides... In order to keep the corners from being too bulky, cut a small square out of the fleece/felt layers.

Once the corners are cut out, it removes most of the bulk. Next, you'll fold the corners of the decorative fabric over like you're wrapping a gift box...

Then you'll fold the decorative fabric in half, just over the fleece/felt, before finally pulling it over the board and stapling.

Do this with both edges, again pulling it taught before stapling. Reinforce all the edges (and particularly the corners) with staples.

When you flip it over, it'll look nice and smooth--and be the perfect ironing board for small sewing projects! (I texted this picture to Jerry to show him what I made, and he thought I literally took measuring tape and wrapped it around a board, haha)

The bottoms edges will all be nice and even so that the board doesn't wobble--it'll be very sturdy on the table--no legs needed.

This is SO much nicer than using a folded towel! ;)


  1. It's so funny because it does look like a bunch of measuring tapes laying across your ironing board. I love that fabric!!! I'm very jealous (in a good-spirited way) of all that fabric you received from a reader...Also, wanted you to know that I received your facemask on Saturday! Thank you and I LOVE the colorful fishes fabric. You did a wonderful job on it, and I appreciate it much. I am paypal-ing you because it's a small things to do as many years as I've read and enjoyed your blog, along with all the tutorials and inspiration, you have provided. Thank you!!!

  2. That is super cute!! I need to make one of these to take to quilt retreats with me! Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial! What Jerry thought when he saw the picture you sent made me laugh! Sounds like something my husband would think/say.

  3. Great idea! I use a board about that size for when I press my vinyl designs on T-shirts! The fabric you chose would make me bananas because I'd forever want to straighten and flatten out the measuring tapes! Haha!

  4. Mask received today! Thank you so much and for the note too! Yes someday!!! xoxo

  5. What a good idea! I love your how-to posts...


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