How To Make an Ironing Surface
I don't know how many of you sew, but there's a lot of pressing involved. Getting the seams nice and crisp gives you a great result. I find that to be true whether I'm quilting or making pillowcases or any other project. Since sewing is one of my favorite therapies (along with gardening and reading), I sew almost daily in the wintertime, and I really don't want to keep a full-size ironing board set up in my workshop all the time.
Enter the ironing surface. The ironing surface small, completely flat, very very slightly padded surface that you can iron on. My new one is only about 17" x 25" which is just the right size for me to press almost anything I'd need to and leave room on my console for other things like my made over radio cabinet and my lamp. I am certainly not the first person to create such a thing, there are tutorials all over the Internet. But I added a little twist of elevating mine off the cabinet top with "legs" and I thought you'd like to see how I did it. Read on for all the details!
First you need a scrap piece of wood. I recommend plywood if you can get it because it's dimensionally stable and wont warp, twist, cup etc., even though I'm going to be getting it hot and wet on a daily basis. I've seen other people use other things like regular wood or MDF, I just prefer plywood. In my case, I happened to have an old cabinet door that was made of plywood that I cut down to size (gotta love free).
I chose to make my surface 17" by 25". The 17" dimension was because it's a few inches smaller than my console top, because I wanted it to fit nicely on there and not stick out or slip off the edges if it moved around. The 25" is just because that's how long the cabinet door was, but it turned out to be the perfect size.
The next thing you need is some padding. I used two layers of 100% cotton batting I had on hand. I did two layers because 100% cotton batting is really thin and I was worried about it not being padded enough, but in retrospect one would have been fine. I wouldn't suggest using 100% polyester batting, because you might melt it using your iron at it's hottest setting (which I always do). You need the batting to be a few inches bigger than your board -- enough to wrap around and have enough hanging over to staple.
You also need some muslin or other cotton fabric. I used muslin because I had some laying around. Make the muslin just a bit bigger than the batting. If you lay it all out on the floor like this, you can just eyeball it and not have to measure:
Finally, for the legs, you're going to want four wooden curtain rod finials. I happened to have some in the garage left over, but you can get them at the big box hardware stores and they are fairly inexpensive.
To position them, measure in about 2" each way on each corner:
Position the screw that's on the finial right on your marked spot...
...and then screw it in.
Do that four times total and you'll have all your "legs" or "feet" attached.
Next you want to staple your batting down. I chose to staple the batting first and then the muslin separately so that I can replace the muslin if it gets grody without having to redo the batting. It also looks neater after you're done. Just like any kind of fabric project like this, start by stapling the middle of one side...
... then give the batting a gentle but firm pull and staple the middle of the other side. Do the third and fourth sides the same way, then start working your way toward the corners, again, one side then the other, then the third and fourth side, always stretching the batting so it's nice and tight. (Of course, don't pull the batting too hard or it will pull apart.)
If any of the staples don't go all the way in (I have a knack for NOT getting them in), just tap them in with a hammer.
Keep going until you have all the sides done, and the corners still lose, like this:
Next you have to take care of all that batting in the corner.
I start by folding the corner down:
Then fold one side in.
Staple it, and fold the other side in.
Have a friend help you hold it while the staple gun is being reloaded (haha!)
Then staple down that other folded side (or have a friend do it for you while you keep things taut.
Once it's all stapled down you can cut away all the excess.
It doesn't have to be perfect, there just needs to be a wee bit of room for the next round of staples. But you also don't want to cut it too close or the batting will pull out.
So. Now you have a board with feet, and batting stapled to it. It's time to add the muslin.
You just do exactly the same thing, except go a little further so the muslin covers the staples in the batting and you're not putting staples on top of staples. First the middles of the sides -- don't forget to pull the fabric tight!
Work your way toward the corners, then fold and staple the corners the same way:
Trim the muslin so it's neat but not too close to the staples -- maybe 1/2" if you can?
And voila! You have a handy, somewhat portable, completely flat and smooth ironing surface to grace your work table or console.
To keep the muslin from staining toooo quickly, I threw a scrap of cute fabric over it. I'll make it into a real cover eventually.
What about you? Do you sew? Do you use a regular ironing board or a surface like this one?
Linking to: Redoux Interiors, Katherine's Corner, French Country Cottage, Common Ground, Fine Craft Guild, Cozy Little House, JenniferRizzo.com, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Crafts a la Mode, Mockingbird Hill Cottage, Tater Tots & Jello, Be Different Act Normal, Classy Clutter, I Heart Nap Time, Sunny Simple Life, Sew Many Ways, Uncommon Designs, The Dedicated House, A Stroll Through Life, Freemotion by the River, Home Stories A to Z, Homemade Ginger