Make your own ironing board that fits anywhere

April 12 | Guest post by Kim

I hate ironing. Don't we all? I've avoided buying everyday clothes that have to be ironed because, ultimately, they end up at the back of the closet. It's also tough when you're used to apartment dwelling without enough space for a full-sized ironing board. A few years back I bought an upright steamer which made the situation a little easier to manage. However, with frequent sputtering, I think the life of my steamer is coming to an end. So I needed a new solution. I immediately thought of making a new ironing board. I could control the size and had a lot of the materials on hand already.

First things first, I needed slab of wood. I set out to Home Depot where I found a 2 ft. x 4 ft. board and had them cut it down to 2 ft. x 3 ft.

The rest of the materials needed:

  • 2 ft. x 3 ft. piece of plywood (1/2 in. thick)
  • 1 piece needled cotton batting, folded (88 in. x 124 in.)
  • 1 piece of cotton muslin (34 in. x 46 in.)
  • 1 piece of top fabric (34 in. x 46 in.)
  • 1 roll grip liner
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun

I contemplated batting options for a long time in the fabric store. I started with loose batting but thought it might clump and wasn't sure if it was heat safe. I looked at felt too but didn't like the texture. Finally I found this natural needled cotton and it was perfect. I bought about 3.5 yards and used it folded in half.

To start, spread out the batting on a smooth surface, lay the wood on top, pull tight, and begin to staple the edges down.

Staple down two opposite sides first and then the other two sides. I had a lot of excess fabric (which I recommend) so I pulled the cotton very tight and started with a middle staple to hold everything in place.

The excess fabric is only problematic at the corners. My solution was to cut a square out, tuck the straight edge into the board, fold the corner back over, and staple the heck out of it. I hope this makes sense and that these pictures help to visualize what I'm talking about.

When the batting is done, flip the board over to make sure everything is smooth. Pulling the fabric tight as you go will really help prevent wrinkles or bunching.

Next, take your cotton muslin layer, lay it out flat, pull tight, and staple down over the batting. I wanted a thin muslin layer between the batting and top fabric just to provide extra support and structure.

Finally, take your top fabric layer and repeat the same steps again (lay it out flat, pull tight, staple down, and check your work). I had some extra fabric from my DIY ottoman covers project and it worked perfectly here because it is heavy and very sturdy.

The final step is to line the back of the ironing board with grip liner. You can omit this step if you want. I decided to do it because I will be using my new ironing board on top of our dining room table and I wanted to avoid it sliding around or scratching it up. The grip liner is amazing – the board will not budge. The grip liner also doubles as an extra step to cover up all the staples on the back of the board.

I rolled out the liner and measured and cut two panels to cover the back. I cut enough to cover the back and to go up the 1/2 in" edge on both sides.

I started with the edge, stapling the liner up the side, making sure the panel stayed flat.

I used a double staple in the corners for extra hold and to secure down any corner fabric that had peeked out.

I repeated the same steps for the panels as I did with the fabric – pull tight, staple down, and smooth as you go. I also used 3 staples in the center of each panel for extra security.

The finished product – In action!

The best part is that I already had the perfect place to store my new flat ironing board. There is a 5-6 inch gap between the washing machine and the wall in our laundry area. The ironing board is the perfect fit and is right next to the dining room table. Easy access!

Imagine taking this project to the next level with custom fabric! Ooh

  1. I bought a teeny tiny one in ikea that has a hanger so that I can put it in my wardrobe. Very handy! If only I ever used it. .

  2. This is now going on my projects list. I have a regular big ironing board that I never use because it is a hassle. I've considered getting rid of it several times, but I don't because I'm supposed to need it. This I would actually use and it wouldn't be in the way when stored! Brilliant!

  3. I have one of those store bought compact ironing boards, but hardly ever use it. It doesn't seem big enough for ironing the things I need to iron (usually craft projects). This DIY ironing board is a fantastic idea!!! I can make it big enough to suit all of my crafting needs. I love this project! Thank you for sharing how you made it!!! :)

  4. I have one of those store bought compact ironing boards, but hardly ever use it. It doesn't seem big enough for ironing the things I need to iron (usually craft projects). This DIY ironing board is a fantastic idea!!! I can make it big enough to suit all of my crafting needs. I love this project! Thank you for sharing how you made it!!! :)

  5. very cool. your laundry "room" looks just like ours – including ironing board storage. except that we have a full-size board which has been trapped by the washing machine, which has rocks so much when it spins that it has closed the gap beside it a bit. of course, i never used it anyway because of the screech it's metal parts give off when you fold/unfold it. this no-parts model might be the way to go.

  6. This would be a fantastic project for ppl who sew! I'm always struggling to iron huge swaths of fabric yardage after prewashing & before cutting out a project, & that's a PITA to do on an average-sized ironing board. I figured making a custom board would be super complicated & then omg, where would I store it in my already cramped sewing room. But hey, I could totally make this board, put it on top of my cutting table to iron yardage, then slide it behind a door or somewhere when not in use. And keep my regular ironing board to iron clothes. Brilliant! Thanks!!!

    • agreed! I'm already thinking of the huge costumes I've been helping my sister make that would be so much easier to press this way…

  7. I don't know what the laundry arrangements are for student halls outside of the UK, but this seems like the perfect portable ironing board for students!

    Also, hair straighteners make a great emergency iron :)

  8. Cool idea. Two ideas: first, muslin will show wear faster than a thicker fabric like twill or lightweight canvas. Second, you can make the cover removable by essentially making it a "bottom sheet" for the board. Use elastic or a drawstring. That way you can take it off the wash it.

  9. Thank you, this is great. I have been looking for a full size ironing board to put on top of my laundry bench but have not been able to find one, neve thought of making it myself. Will use my existing ironing board as a template for the wood as tht way I can buy the coversfrom the shop to fit (am lazy).
    Thanks again!

  10. So here is my master/devious plan:
    I have a bedside table/cabinet/bottom-half-of-a-bookcase that I'm cutting a side hole into in order to turn it into an incognito litter box (THANK YOU OffBeatHome for showing me how!!!) and figured I'd dual-purpose it as a nightstand (stinky opening facing the other way haha)….

    but now? Oh glorious thriftiness, I'm totally going to turn the top of said furniture piece into an ironing board!!
    Gah so happy!
    *flies away to the fabric store*

      • Aww thanks :)

        This is all just a theory for the moment, but due to the level of work involved (read: tools and supplies and stuff), I'm going to try and build (er, get my brother to build?) it before I move….so once it actually happens, I will try and submit it!

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