How to Re-cover an Ironing Board




About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

I've had the same ironing board for about a decade now and recently I realized I really needed to change out the cover and padding.

If you're having problems with your iron dragging on your ironing board, or if you can feel the metal through the padding you should re-cover your ironing board too! :D

Keep reading to find out how I re-covered my ironing board - it should work for any ironing board you've got!

I'm super pleased with how it turned out. Ironing is not as much of a chore with nice new padding under the cover!

Step 1: What You'll Need:

  • old ironing board with cover removed - keep it if in good shape!
  • 2 yards fabric of choice (cotton is best)
  • padding (lots of choice here - I'm using 2 pieces of low loft quilt batting)
  • sewing machine
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • cord / embroidery floss
  • iron
  • safety pin

I'm using a quilting cotton by Cotton & Steel for the cover.

As far as padding, you can use lots of different things:

I prefer quilt batting because I always have it around and you can use multiple layers easily to make a well padded board.

Whatever fabric and padding you choose, just make sure you can use it in a whole piece. If you have to sew muliple pieces of fabric or padding together to form one piece, the seam lines will cause bumps in the cover. This means you'll have to work a lot harding to get wrinkle free pieces!

Step 2: Prep the New Padding

Remove the old cover and set aside.

Place your padding on the floor and flip the ironing board face down onto it. I doubled over my low loft batting so I could cut and mark two layers at once.

Take a marker and go all the way around the edge of the ironing board.

If you're only doing one layer of padding, just cut along the line. If you're doing multiple layers, pin the layers together and cut outside the lines - we'll sew them together!

Step 3: Optional: Sew the Padding Together

If you're using multiple pieces of padding, it's a good idea to sew them together so you don't have any shifting.

Sew right on the line that you drew with the marker.

Once done, take out the pins and cut right outside the stitch line.

You can put the padding on the board frame now to use as a makeshift ironing board for the rest of the time. :D

Step 4: Get the Old Cover Ready

If your ironing board had a cover, now is the time to flatten it out!

Remove the string or elastic (you may need to cut it away) and place on the ironing board. Use your iron to make the cover as flat as possible.

I laid the cover on the floor and placed the ironing board on top to see how much overlap the cover had. For best results, you really want the new cover to overlap the edges of the board by 2.5 - 3 inches.

Step 5: Marking the New Cover Pattern

Iron the fabric for the new cover and lay it right side down on the floor.

Place the old cover OR the ironing board on top.

You can either pin the old cover to the fabric and cut around it (add additional seam allowance as needed - remember you want 2.5 - 3 inches of fabric all around the edges of the ironing board.) or lay the ironing board down and draw the proper seam allowance around it.

I added maybe .25 inches all around the old fabric cover and cut it out using pinking shears.

Step 6: Fold the Edges Over 1/4 Inch

We want to form a casing to pass a string through - this is how we'll keep the cover in place!

Set up the ironing board with the padding on top again and place the new cover on top. Fold over the edges by about 1/4 inch and press well with the iron.

This doesn't have to be perfect - just eyeball it!

Step 7: Fold the Edges Again by 3/4 Inch

Now you'll want to fold over the edges again! This time by about 3/4 inch.

This can get a little tricky - the corners are weird if you've never done this before. Try approaching the corners from different directions if you can't get them right the first time. You'll kinda pleat and fold over at the same time. Just make sure you aren't pleating too much - it'll make it hard to get the string through the casing!

I was pretty quick and sloppy with this - it's okay if you are too!

Step 8: Mark the Casing Opening

Take two pins and place them a couple inches apart in the center of the back of the cover.

This will mark where you won't sew - you want to leave the casing open here to insert the string. :)

Step 9: Sew the Casing

We'll be using a 1/8 inch seam allowance all around it.

Start at one edge of the marked opening and sew all the way around.

When you come to the pleats in the casing, your sewing machine may catch on them. If this happens, stop the machine with the needle down and raise the presser foot. Push the pleated casing back under the foot and continue sewing.

Continue to the other marked edge of the casing - remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching!

Step 10: Thread the Casing

I told myself I'd reuse the cord from the old cover, which didn't go so well. Turns out it wasn't long enough! I ended up replacing it with embroidery floss. You really want the cord/string to be about 12+ inches longer than the length of the outside edge of the board.

Tie or otherwise secure the cord or string to a small safety pin and close it.

Place the safety pin into the opening and start to thread it through.

Hold the pin by the back and push the casing onto it so it bunches. Then pinch the front of the pin and push the bunched casing off the back. Repeat until you reach the other end. The cover will bunch but we'll fix that!

I recommend safety pinning the cord to the opening once it's through - just until the covers been flattened out.

Step 11: Assemble and Enjoy!

Hold the ends of the cord and straighten out the cover so it's flat.

Place the padding onto the board. If you think it'll shift, you can stitch it down to the metal base using some thread and a needle. I did this to the pointy end - it's easy because of the open grating.

Now put the new cover on and use the strings to tighten it up and gather it. I used the old cord winder (see the last photo!) that came with the ironing board to keep them secure - you could knot it too!

You might also want to invest in some ironing board straps to keep the cover nicely in place. I just found out about them oddly enough! I bought some immediately. :D



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18 Discussions


2 years ago

I've been using this re-covering method for a while, actually I've already re-covered my ironing a few times :)


3 years ago

You have really found a way to make the ironing board far more interesting, love your fabric.


3 years ago

Boy am I narrow minded. I'm a male from an IT background. When I read the title of your instructable my first thought was how would you back up an ironing board to begin with. I've never seen an ironing board listed in a contingency plan or part of a disaster recovery exercise. Then I realized, you dummy. Not that kind of recover!


3 years ago

Love your cute fabric! I use cotton quilt batting; it doesn't melt and go flat like the polyester stuff.


3 years ago

Been doing this for years. Most ironing boards here in South Africa are made from compressed chip board. I strip the material off and simply use a heavy duty stapler to staple a thick wad of batting straight onto the board. Next cut, measure and staple some happy, strong cotton material right over the batting onto the board. Then I buy a tie-on Teflon cover and Bam! Good to go for a couple years. LOVE this forum on Instructables.

ms match

3 years ago

I iron a lot and have always made my ironing board covers from Teflon utility cloth. The cotton material scorches badly if a too hot iron rests on it accidentally and clothes pressed on Teflon iron up faster. I made an outer cover to go over the Teflon so it stays nice and clean.


3 years ago

Thank you so much! Despite being a fairly skilled seamstress, I never before considered making my own ironing board cover. I have a German ironing board that is a slightly different shape (one edge is straight and the other edge does all the tapering). This is nice for long seams when I sew but I can not find a cover the right shape. How fun to have fabric that makes me smile and a cover that fits the board! I have quite a length of bright red and white cotton that may have found its purpose now.

I am not sure I would recommend Insul-Brite for this project for several reasons: it has a polyester component which may not respond well to repeated high heat pressings, its purpose is to hold heat in and I think you would be better served with something that will allow heat to dissipate and it has an odd crinkly texture. I do love it for projects that need a heat shield like hot dish pads, insulated market bags and the like.

I will probably use 100% cotton batting like Warm & Natural (available just about everywhere in many sizes)l

I hope you have better luck with the straps than I did. Not sure if it is the heat from the iron or just cheap construction, but the elastic lasted less than a year before completely losing its stretch.

I am favoriting this but will probably not have time to give it a go until after Christmas - I will post a picture when it is done! I hate to admit it, but I am excited about making a new ironing board cover :)


4 years ago on Introduction

Dear hubby wears button down shirts to work daily. I've given up on looking for the "No Ironing Necessary" tag because it doesn't matter how quickly I take them from the dryer, they still require ironing. Thanks for the great tip! Now I can replace my cover with a pattern that's fun and cheerful, something I haven't been able to find in stores.


4 years ago

These days I do so little ironing that the one I bought in 1987, is still good. However, once I have a working sewing machine, that will change. I hate the Teflon covers and sewing my own would have been much quicker than going from store to store looking for a cotton pad.


4 years ago on Introduction

Good instructable! However, I prefer my method, which is to never wear out the original cover in the first place by not doing any ironing. A little forward thinking always helps in situations like this and I feel sure the crumpled look will eventually come back in to fashion, in which case I'm already ready.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Ha! I hope that it will. I only bring the ironing board out for sewing, and even then I whine about it. ;)


4 years ago on Introduction

I think you meant re-cover. At first I thought - recover it from where? Did it crash land and there was a recovery mission to find it? ;)

2 replies

4 years ago

seriously making this weekend