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Must-have Ironing Table

When I worked in the costume shop at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis eons ago, we had ironing stations that consisted of 4-foot by 2-foot tables with padded surfaces. They were the bomb. I’m not sure why it took me until I retired five years ago to actually make an ironing table for myself, but now I can’t imagine going back to a wobbly, fold-out ironing board.

Recently, an ironing table is the first thing I did for my new sewing space. The space is part of a new way of life. Yes, I am now one of those elusive, migrating creatures, known as a snowbird, who wanders between North and South constantly seeking sun. This has been the first winter in our new abode, and I am deep into the process of feathering the southern landing spot, which, of course, means that I am creating that new sewing space. Since I will still have a sewing space in the northern nest, I am starting from scratch. The new space at the top of the house has a ceiling that follows the pitch of the roof, creating a loft-like room. I have been strategically placing my cutting table, sewing machine stands and ironing table to avoid whacking my head when standing up. It will take some getting used to.

As I have filled the space I have realized there are things I like to have, things that are no longer part of the way I want to sew, and a few non-negotiables. One of those must-have items is the ironing table.

I decided to go with the tried-and true model I had figured out already . . . with a couple of improvements.

The base

A 4-foot-long by 2-foot-wide table works well for a couple of reasons.  First, 48 inches accommodates…

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  1. User avater
    marcyharriell | | #1

    FABULOUS! I want to be a snowbird with a bomb ironing setup!

    1. User avater
      beckyf | | #7

      Go for it! You definitely have the Key West color vibe going on. Come on down!

  2. user-5428731 | | #2

    Thanks for showing the industrial shelves and the MDF table tops. What kind of tables do you have for your sewing machines?

    1. User avater
      beckyf | | #8

      I found some simple desk style tables from Target. They have cross pieces on three sides that make them more stable. So far they are working well.

  3. cgincolorado | | #3

    Love it! I use an adjustable table from Home Depot, so I can sit at it when I'm ironing a lot of little things. But I don't have all that great storage underneath.

    1. User avater
      beckyf | | #9

      I haul a stool over if I need to, but I do bump my knees! ;)

  4. user-7712393 | | #4

    Did you cut the 6" uprights in half? (I'm trying to see how you got from 2 6-foot tall shelving units to 4 3-foot tall units.) If so, did you use a hack saw and were any other adjustments necessary?

    1. User avater
      beckyf | | #10

      The ones I used came in 3 foot segments. If you wanted a 6 foot tall shelving unit you stuck them together. I only wanted the 3 foot sections so I was good to go. On my first table, I decided to put wheels on it and my husband and I did hacksaw the ends off to accommodate the added height of the casters. And we are still married with all 20 fingers!

  5. user-6908281 | | #5

    Very helpful & useful information. I am especially interested in the cutting table.

    1. User avater
      beckyf | | #11

      I was so glad to figure that out. The one that I have in my original sewing room in Michigan was one that I designed and my Dad helped me build. Not only perfect for sewing but filled with good memories.

  6. abbycat | | #6

    I like your stool. Can you tell me the company that makes it and where you got it? Is it more comfortable than a regular office style chair?

    1. User avater
      beckyf | | #12

      I found it online at Target, but I know there are other versions around. I love that there are no arms to get hung up on when getting up and down. The only little quirk is that I often end up sitting backwards on the saddle shaped seat. Not a big deal, and easy to adjust. The casters are great and it does adjust up and down so I can use it at my taller cutting table as well.

  7. msum | | #13

    Great article, thank you! Can you please let us know which type of felt you used from thefeltstore.com? The weights/stiffness and fibre contents vary. Cheers!

    1. User avater
      beckyf | | #14

      I used a 3/4" thick, the highest wool content, and firm. I can't remember if it was 2 feet wide or 6 feet wide...but I got a 2' X 6' piece. For me it is totally worth the $$$$.

      1. user-7566393 | | #15

        Do you remember what the F rating was?

  8. user-7400185 | | #16

    I've had in mind to build an ironing table for the last year - this article gave me the ideas and the motivation to do it. I used 1/2" felt which is plenty and a piece of wood instead of MDF (they didn't have MDF) - again, 1/2". I had to improvise when it came to the shelving unit - to get enough surface area, I had to buy a unit with five shelves and use half of it. I ended up using the other half for shelving in the basement, so not a problem. Like the author, I did not need to attach the top - the weight of the wood plus felt is enough to hold it down. Now all I need is a ceiling plug for my iron.... I may rig up an extension cord with a hook in the ceiling to achieve the same effect. I love my table and the additional shelves.

  9. User avater
    kvogley | | #17

    The article too motivated me to construct an ironing table that is far more useful and appropriate for sewing projects. I am delighted with the outcome. I did make some changes and additions. I used
    1-1/8” plywood (which I had) since instead of attaching the wire shelving to the wood top as per the article, I drilled a 3/8” deep hole the diameter of the vertical supports to securely mount the top onto the shelving unit. I sealed and stained the plywood, rounded the corners and made the overhangs 3-1/2” on 3 sides and 5-1/2” on one end to accommodate the addition of a pegboard to hang ironing tools. I used the F-3, 3/4” firm felt for the pressing mat. I put a foil batting under the mat, secured with double sided tape to protect the wood top from possible heat and moisture migration. I did not staple the cotton cover. I fitted the cover with a draw string so it can be removed and more easily replaced. I also used casters so I can move the table more easily. The table measures 24” wide by 56” long by 41-1/2” tall. Thank you for a great article and super addition to my sewing room.

    1. User avater
      riot203 | | #18

      This is fantastic to see!

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