I use a larger pressing table in my workspace, but a small, portable pressing table like this one is perfect for taking to sew days and retreats. If you don't have a dedicated sewing room, a small table like this can also be great for putting next to your machine during repetitive pressing tasks.
Materials and Supplies
- Inexpensive Wooden Tray Table
- Natural-Fiber Batting: 4 pieces, about 1-1/2" larger than the top of your TV table. I used scraps of Warm & White and Warm & Natural.
- Home-Dec Weight Cotton Fabric: 1 piece, about 3" larger than the top of your TV table. I used a print from Denyse Schmidt's County Fair. If you want to use regular quilting-weight cotton, include a layer of canvas or twill underneath.
- Staple Gun
- Pinking Shears or Pinking Blade in Rotary Cutter (optional)
- Tack Hammer (optional)
- Helper (optional)
Note: My table's top was about 3/4" thick. You may need more or less fabric and batting, depending on the thickness of the table you're using. However, it isn't necessary to be precise. You just need the fabric to be big enough to wrap around the table top and staple in place. Remember that it's always possible to trim away excess batting and fabric.
Let's Get Started!
Because they will continue to be raw, I pinked the edges of the fabric I was using. This isn't strictly necessary, but may prevent future fraying.
Press fabric and lay it, wrong side up, on a table. Center your stack of batting pieces on top of the fabric.
Center your tray table, upside-down, on top of the batting and fabric stack. (It will be easier if you keep the legs open, as they would be if the table were standing up.)
Starting in the center of one side, pull the fabric to the underside of the table and staple it in place. If you find it's difficult to simultaneously hold and staple the fabric, ask a friend to do one while you do the other (much as you might ask someone to hold ribbons in place while you prepare to tie a bow).
Move to the opposite side, pull the fabric to the back, gently pulling to make sure that it is stretched, but not strained, across the table top. Staple in place and repeat, alternating sides and moving out toward the corners, until the fabric has been pulled to the back and stapled on all sides.
Tables like this (including mine) are often made of very hard wood, which can be difficult to staple. Apply pressure as you staple. If you find that your staples aren't going all the way in, use a tack hammer to pound them in.
At each corner, pull the fabric toward the table bottom, stretching but not straining it, Staple in place. Now, fold each side toward the table bottom and staple in place, as shown above.
Once all corners are secure, make a quick inspection of your stapling. If there are any large stretches without a staple, add more until there are no staple-free stretches of more than about 1-1/2" If necessary, trim away excess fabric.
That's it! Your pressing board is done and ready to use.
Note: When I first made this table, I fully expected that the steam from my iron would eventually destroy the tabletop but, after several years, the damage is minimal at best. Even if it does result in damage to the table, I recommend using natural fiber batting and not a heat-resistant product like Insulbrite to make a pressing board for quilting. The batting will allow for superior steam circulation, resulting in a much better press.