Friday, May 3, 2013

diy pressing board

i have three quilts in the quilting que, fully pin basted and ready to go. oh, and that little doll quilt i want to use to practice fmq on. so, alas, no finishes there.

this week my friday finish is my pressing board! it's not a quilt, but it's a project i've had in mind for a while and it will help with all those other sewing projects in progress. linking in with other friday finishes at crazy mom quilts.

i've been wanting an official pressing board, as opposed to an ironing board, for my quilting for some time now. when my 12 yr old son decided to use my nice ironing board as a bench press for weight lifting (and consequently busted it), i figured i really ought to get that pressing board made. i knew you could make them because Elizabeth Hartman of oh, fransson! had done so. her portable tv tray pressing board is especially cool and useful.

it's really quite simple to do. all you need are some plywood, 100% cotton batting, 100% cotton canvas, a staple gun, and duct tape.

i found a nicely sized piece of plywood in the backyard, a leftover from one of my mr.'s treehouse projects. it's about 36" sq, give or take. i don't remember the measurements anymore. since i scavenged it from the backyard, it even has some child chalk graffiti on it. but that'll be covered up.

my old, sorry, stained ironing board and the batting for my new pressing board. i'm going to have a lot more room to press those large pieces.
for the batting, i got lucky again. when i sandwiched and basted "romance in the garden" i used a prepackaged, 100% cotton, warm and natural brand batting that turned out to be larger than needed on one side. the leftovers were perfect for my pressing board. when folded in half, it was just large enough to wrap my plywood piece with a few inches to spare per side.

at this point, i was supposed to wrap the batting and staple it down with the staple gun. but our staple gun could not be found. after waiting a few weeks, hoping it would show up, i just skipped the staples and went straight to duct tape. when the stapler emerges, i'll get this baby properly fastened. until then, it is okay.
simply wrap the batting around to the back, making sure it's snug but not pulled too tight, and secure with the staple gun (or tape). repeat on all four sides, securing opposite sides first.

 check the front to ensure the batting is smooth, then lay face down on the wrong side of the canvas piece.

when i went to joann, etc to get a cotton canvas fabric, i went looking for a solid white because i like a plain surface to press on. it helps me see the pieces i'm working with much more easily than a busy pattern would. i think all those ironing board covers in cute fabrics are darling, but not practical for me. however, when i saw the selection of cotton canvases, i started drooling over the designs and changed my mind. it got changed right back when they all read "flammable" on the label. how on earth is an 100% cotton canvas fabric flammable, i wonder? any more flammable than anything else, that is. well, to be on the safe side, i went with the plain cream solid i came for. i don't need my pressing board catching fire. "flammable" and ironing/pressing with lots of hot steam do not mix. better safe than sorry. (this is why you should use 100% cotton batting and canvas - they can take the heat better than a synthetic mix would.)

so, back to the construction. lay the batting wrapped board down on the wrong side of the canvas fabric.

 fold one side of the fabric snugly over to the back. begin stapling in the middle, working your way out to the corners.
 or, like me, just duct tape that baby down.

if stapling, again work your way out from the center of the side you're securing. at the corners, make a fold in so you have a nice mitered corner. it's like wrapping a present.

 then pull that side corner to the back and secure.
this cuts down on bulk and weird corner flaps.

once you've stapled it all down, you can go over the edges with duct tape to keep it clean and prevent the fabric from fraying.
now i have a nice, large pressing area to work with. and because i used a solid cream, i also have a neutral background board to shoot photos on. i love when tools can multi-task.


  1. You are smart to cover the board in a neutral. I'd be all la la print and then it'd look bad in pictures. I want to try this project! Your step photos make it look doable. :)

  2. oh man if i had the room i would sooo be making one of these. and i hear ya about liking to "see" your pieces!

  3. This is great. I have made a tiny pressing sheet to take with my travelling iron. but this is huge!!

  4. Great idea! And duck tape to the rescue.

  5. What a great idea!! I'm always trying to figure out how to press my seams efficiently, especially when I'm working with a whole quilt top. This will definitely be a summer project for me!

  6. JoAnn carries a 'fabric' specifically for ironing boards that's meant to take the heat...has an aluminized type of finish to it.


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