How To Convert A Regular Ironing Board Into a Quilter's Ironing Board

Picture of How To Convert A Regular Ironing Board Into a Quilter's Ironing Board
quilter's slab.jpeg
My wife and some of her friends are avid quilters. The blocks they make as they create new quilts need to be ironed along the way and a regular ironing board is a bit too small for their tastes.  They wanted something wider that also has a consistent width along its full length (no more pointy end for them).

I've seen a few plans floating around the internet showing various solutions, but I didn't like the way they attached the new bigger top to the old ironing board.  Velcro, clips, grips…too bulky, too unsightly, and difficult to store during those rare moments the pointy end of the original ironing board is actually needed for normal laundry.

My wife's ironing board is a fairly new model, so the top is made from plastic…that ruled out the bulky clamping approaches.  Using velcro just didn't seem sturdy enough to keep an oversized board in place.

Fortunately, when I peeled back the cover on her ironing board to see what might work, I discovered the plastic top had a great pattern of holes…and a simple solution was inspired!  You can see her ironing board, minus its original cover, standing next to the new top in the first picture.  The second picture shows the new top in use.

I've made three of these at the TechShop in San Jose.  For more info on TechShop, see their website at:
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cmorissette11 months ago
Turns out my Bo Nash covers were padded. I used a 1st layer of cotton batting and topped them off with the Bo Nash cover! Gifts are finally done, now to make one for myself =)
TimS124 (author)  cmorissette11 months ago

Glad to hear it worked out! Enjoy the one you make for yourself. :-)

I will look locally for foam. I'm definitely getting the batting, so maybe that will be enough. I'm making two boards for my in-laws as a gift - i want to get it right! I'd rather stick to your advice. Thanks!
TimS124 (author)  cmorissette1 year ago

There should be a fair amount of deviation from what I wrote that will work just fine. I hope your in-laws enjoy their gifts. :-)

I accidentally ordered the Bo Nash cover without the foam padding. Should i return it for the foam cover or can i make do without it? Thanks =)
TimS124 (author)  cmorissette1 year ago

It really depends on how cushy you want your ironing surface to be… The foam is optional though without it, the ironing surface will be very firm.

If you can get thin foam in a long enough piece locally, that's likely much easier than sending back what you have…I dislike doing returns so if it were mine and I didn't want it overly firm, I'd look locally for a thin padding.

I would expect that normal quilt batting could also be used instead of the foam.

robinkoenig2 years ago
Mine's made and I love it! I should have read your comment about size more carefully. Mine is 18" x 60" which is probably a bit too long for stability. Also WRT cover. I didn't want to use the BoNash stickum product, so I just went to JoAnn fabrics and crafts and bought a couple of yards of iron board cover fabric.($10/yard before sale or coupon price). I only used half the width of fabric. The rest I'll save for trivets or potholders. I love,love, LOVE my board. Thank you so much for the tutorial!
ps. I not sure why you sanded, because it's all covered up.
TimS124 (author)  robinkoenig2 years ago
Congrats! Glad to here you're enjoying it!

I've made one that was wider than 18", but I placed the holes slightly towards the front instead of along the center. That way, more of the excess would be against the wall and there'd be less sticking out towards the user. In theory that should help avoid a wider board being easily tipped (though I had to ask them which end of their ironing board faced the wall so I'd get the wholes towards the front and not make things worse by having them biased towards the back).

Thanks for the tip on the ironing board fabric at JoAnn's. I'll look for it next time my wife has me tag along to the fabric store. I used the BoNash because I found it at a quilting store last year and used some for a different (much smaller) project. It was the only ironing board fabric I knew of… :-)

As for sanding, that was partially to make the sticky bits stick better. Bare wood oxidizes over time and nothing sticks well to oxidation. A quick sanding exposes fresh wood which should stick better (unless the sanding dust doesn't get wiped away - I've made that mistake a few times).

I also sanded to ease the edges slightly and because some of the bottom isn't covered, so it gets seen by the folks I've made these for…and handled by them when they're installing or removing their cover. Sanded feels nicer to the touch, so it's also part of trying to make a good impression on the customer.

Thanks again for the tip on JoAnn's. Enjoy your new board!

Tim S.
Hi Tim,
Another board cover you may want to look into is the Miracle Ironing Board Cover. I read it's made of Nomex and I'm trying to find yardage, but meanwhile you can look up the specs on their site
TimS124 (author)  robinkoenig2 years ago
Thank you! I like having choices and will try one of the alternatives next time I make one of these big boards (which I already have a request for…but I have some other projects to finish first). :-)

I like that the Miracle Cover also has large sizes…

Great find.

Tim S.

Ninzerbean3 years ago
I love this idea but I thought the holes in the ironing board were to let out the steam. With this wooden top I can't see how that will happen. I use a LauraStarr iron that only works when it is steaming, the lack of vent holes, if I made yours, would make my quilt squares pretty wet I think. I too hate the pointy end when I am working on a quilt but I don't think this would work for steam ironing. I still love your 'ible and it is very well written and documented. Can your wife maybe comment on how well this is working for her in terms of soggy fabric, because I really would love to make this.
I don't use steam when I piece because I'm afraid it will distort the squares. Using the hard wood surface helps make a super crisp crease.

But, that said, I just took a class in simple curves and for that particular method you use steam and "bully" the fabric into laying flat...and it gets skewed and it's okay.
I know you shouldn't use steam when you iron quilt-y things, I just can't help myself and my LauraStarr only has one option - the steam one. But my quilts are pretty nice, they are more art-y than precise. Maybe that is why.
I'm sure your quilts are beautiful. I'd love to see some pix! I love using steam, so when I'm making more precision pieces I have to empty my iron to keep myself from steaming. I keep spray starch handy in case I just can't stand not to hear that zzzzzzzttttzzzz.
If you look at some my 'ible on applique you will see one of my quilts at the end, I am running out the door so don't have time to put a link, it's the one on making a monster applique t shirt. You are so funny, I really understand the seduction of the evil addictive steam zzzzzzttttzzzz too. But unlike you, I can't control myself. Anyway as soon as I get settled I am going to make this ironing board.
TimS124 (author)  Ninzerbean3 years ago
I asked her and she said she doesn't use steam when pressing blocks. She didn't think it would be an issue though - she felt the holes were there to facilitate drying if the padding got soggy but didn't think enough steam would get through the reflective material for that to matter.

When you iron, do you see steam coming out the bottom of your board? Or, are the holes just to help the padding dry between ironing sessions?

The plywood I used is exterior grade so if any steam left it damp, it wouldn't make the layers come apart (which could happen with interior grade plywood though you'd need a fair amount of trapped moisture over a non-trivial amount of time).

star folder3 years ago
And to make the crafty or home ironing board even more useful, my husband installed a metal electrical box under the original wide end. I plug in the iron directly into it. The box has a really long iron type cord that allows me to plug in far from the original outlet. When I fold it up, I wrap the cord around the folded legs.
TimS124 (author)  star folder3 years ago
I like the long cord idea! Thank you for sharing it.
You could probably mount a power cord underneath
TheDoze3 years ago
What a great idea. I made a cabinet with a two sided board, one side for ironing and the other side for cutting. I glued a cutting mat to the bottom and I simply used some canvas for the ironing surface.
I would love to see a picture of your cabinet with the two sided board. Does it swing up into place on the side?
TimS124 (author)  TheDoze3 years ago
Sounds like a great cabinet and cool ironing board!
Thank you! I am going to send this link to the Quilting Board!
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TimS124 (author)  saitaiable child3 years ago
Cool. I hadn't heard of them before…I'll pass the URL on to my wife. She's not a fan of online discussions, but the site looks like it has some great info.
I am returning to quilting after about thirty years of hoarding fabric because I knew I would someday use it. The Board has been a great help. There are so many new tools and methods available now. And I needed a refresher course on the very basics.
TimS124 (author)  saitaiable child3 years ago
Welcome back…enjoy the cool new uses for your fabric collection. :-)
MsJaxFla3 years ago
I have to remember this for when I can get the supplies.  Great job.
TimS124 (author)  MsJaxFla3 years ago
Thank you.
CrystalDyes3 years ago
I have seen the finished boards offered for sale at $100+ as well as patterns for making your own. This is one of the best ones I've seen. I have 4 ironing boards for my home/fiber arts use. I found a Polder board at a thrift store for $8 that has a triangle that folds up and makes a rectangular shape instead of a pointy end. Then I wanted one bigger than that so back to the thrift store for a board that has feet that are a Tee shape. Adding some pieces of PVC to widen the feet helped stabilize it and I could use a 24" x 60" board. It stays up in my studio all the time. Then I bought a "fat" ironing board at WM that is 18 x 54 but has a pointy end for home laundry. My 4th board is an old wooden one that needed the wood replaced. I made a 7.5 inch board out of it for ironing long seams such as pant legs, sleeves, etc. Much easier than the little portable ones that aren't long enough. I guess I'm just lazy . . . I want everything to be as easy as possible so I don't have to think too much!
TimS124 (author)  CrystalDyes3 years ago
Thanks for the info. I like the triangle concept that folds into a rectangular shape…interesting approach!
MaryT8M3 years ago
I can't tell you how timely this is! I was just complaining to my DH about my ironing board "point"! I'm getting ready to start a new quilt, so can't wait to show him this. THANK YOU!! Great Instructable
TimS124 (author)  MaryT8M3 years ago
I should mention that anybody who doesn't have access to a panel saw or table saw, can probably get their plywood cut to size at a big-box home store. Out here, Lowe's will cut for free but Home Depot charges fifty cents a cut (last time I checked).

They won't promise exact dimensions but they'll likely be within 1/8", probably within 1/16", of what you requested. That's plenty accurate enough for this project!

Enjoy your new un-pointy quilting board. :-)
MaryT8M TimS1243 years ago

thanks, DH is very handy and enjoyed your instructable.....he says "nice job, makes my life easier"
TimS124 (author)  MaryT8M3 years ago
Thank you for passing along his comments! I'm glad to hear the writeup is useful.
Oh goodness I am going to need to make myself one of these.
TimS124 (author)  jessyratfink3 years ago
Cool! Post a note if you find anything unclear as you create yours. Though I doubt you'll have any problems…they're much simpler to create than to explain how to create. :-)