Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Do-it-yourself Pressing Station

I have long yearned for a larger pressing area to press my quilt tops in the making. I had never seen anything that quite fit my needs, until recently.

In the new August 2014 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine, fellow Henry Glass designer, Jill Finley, is featured, and she shares her tips for studio storage. One of her wonderful ideas is a fabric-and-batting covered board atop a bookcase on wheels.

Her moveable pressing station was perfect for my needs. I have a small studio, and storage is a must for any new additions - my ironing board had a lot of unused space underneath, so a bookcase was perfect! And to have a pressing station on wheels, so that I could move it out of the way if need be, was another plus!

The first step was to find a bookcase that would work - the right height and on casters if possible. After much hunting on-line I never really found anything I was happy with.  I decided to go to the local antique mall to see if I could find a second hand bookcase that fit all of my parameters.

I was in luck! I found a beautiful solid maple cabinet that was perfect. And I liked the fact that it had doors, because I prefer to have everything behind closed doors to keep my studio calm and uncluttered. And it has two drawers, too! Here is the cabinet after the casters were added to the bottom:

The cabinet after casters were added

A look inside
Next, I needed to create the pressing surface. I purchased a 24" x 48" piece of poplar at the hardware store that was 1/2" thick. First, I sealed the wood on one side to make it waterproof for steam pressing. Then, I glued two pieces of 16 1/2" long pieces of wood (the depth of the cabinet top) to the bottom of the wood, so that the pressing surface would be more secure on top of the cabinet (actually there are 3 pieces because I made a mistake, but I only needed 2). The pieces are spaced the width of cabinet apart.

I bought 1 1/2 yards of cotton flannel for the padding, and 1 1/2 yards of lightweight cotton twill for the cover. I used a staple gun to stretch and staple the two pieces around the wood separately.

Bottom of the pressing surface after the flannel and fabric was stretched and stapled around the wood

The pressing surface can be removed at anytime, such as when not being used and I need the extra space, or if I ever want to revert the cabinet to being a piece of furniture.

Here is a view of the top of the pressing station. One of the first things I pressed after it was all put together was some recently pre-washed yardage. What a difference it made!

I'm so excited to put it to further use in my quilt making this week! And I haven't even loaded the shelves yet ... it won't take long, I'm afraid.

Until next time,



  1. Replies
    1. I am really enjoying it and wish I had made one a long time ago!

  2. I have a Big Board measuring 20" x 60"that sits on top of my ironing board. Great for ironing the larger pieces of fabric. But I will definitely be looking for a cabinet because like you said the space underneath an ironing board is just wasted. Thanks for the great idea !

    1. You're welcome and I hope you can find the perfect cabinet to go under your Big Board!