Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pressing Board Tutorial

I have seen several tutorials on the web for a table top ironing board, but I needed a board for something a bit different.  A pressing board...it's a hard board with little padding to press heat transfer vinyl (HTV) decals.  Since I make lots of HTV decals I decided I needed to make myself one, and it would be a perfect addition for my soon to be craft room. 

First of all, I have to explain something especially to my sister.  I'm getting a craft room finally because my husband has decided he doesn't use his study/office enough to justify taking up a whole room.  I craft enough to justify it, so he's giving me his room.  We've both spent quite a bit of time fixing up his room as a "Man Cave" with a cigar/drink décor.  My sister and brother-in-law gave him a few things...including a poster mounted on a 1/2 inch MDF board.  This poster will not go in the décor I have planned and we don't have room for it anywhere else so it's becoming this pressing board.  So Sis...it's being repurposed for something VERY useful!!! 

Here's how I did it...

  • 1/2" thick MDF board in the size of your choosing.  My board is 24" by 30" which is a great table top size as well as perfect to spread a t-shirt out.
  • 1 yard fabric to match your décor. 
  • 1 yard of 60" wide felt to match fabric.  These 2 measurements could change depending on the size of the board.
  • Staple gun
  • Good scissors
  • Hammer (not pictured)
  • Hot Glue Gun (not pictured)
  • Ruler (not pictured)
  • A couple Stick Pins (not pictured)
  • Fine Grit Sand Paper (opt.)  To knock off the edges if needed.  I just hit a few spots, but left the rest as is.
Start by cutting the felt in half so you have 2 pieces measuring approx. 30x36".  Then turn the front side of the board over and center it in the middle of one piece of felt.  It should hang over the board about 3" on all 4 sides. 

Staple one side placing the staples toward the outside edge.  Then pull the other side taut and staple again.  Do this for the remaining sides, but leave the corners free**.  I put in about 5 to 6 staples per side.  Hammer down the staples to make them flush on the fabric.

Lay the fabric out...oh, about this time I realized I needed to iron my fabric since it had all the wrinkles it normally has from the store.  So you may have to iron all the creases out first.  THEN lay the fabric down wrong side up.  Place the board on it leaving about 4" to overlap and cover all the fleece.  If your fabric has a pattern make sure the board is lined up where you want the pattern to fall on the front before stapling.  My fabric had a lined pattern that I wanted to be very straight so I actually used those lines to place the board.  Staple one side making sure to catch the fleece underneath as well as the fabric.  I placed my staples further into the board almost to the edge of the fleece to tack it down as well as the fabric.  Then I repeated the process I used with the fleece to tack the rest of the sides down but leaving the corners free.  One benefit I found to the striped fabric was that I could pull the fabric taut till I could see a line on the edge and if I did that in every spot I stapled it kept the pattern lined up and straight. 

With the top fabric I put in quite a few more staples.  If it looked like the fabric was puckering due to too much space I added a staple.

Once I had all the sides done I tackled the corners. 

I tried mitering the corners with the felt in the fabric and it was WAY too thick.  Instead I folded back the fabric and cut away the excess felt.  **If I'd have thought about this earlier I would have done this step before adding the fabric.  It would have made this process easier and much less bulky.  I could have trimmed away even more felt and made it even flatter, but we learn from doing!!!

See how the felt is sticking up...that's what I would have liked to remove.  Next time!!!

I pulled the fabric up and folded everything under neatly then stapled it down but kept the staples close to the other staples...you'll see why in the next couple of steps.  Do this for all 4 corners!

While the board is face down take the second piece of felt and cut it to size exactly as the board.  Heat up your glue gun cause you're going to need it!

Using a ruler and a few stick pins measure a hem.  I took up a 3/4" hem for my project.  The point of the backing is to cover all the staples so the work surface the board sets on doesn't get scratched up.  Take this into account when planning the size of your hem.  I didn't have any staples exposed on the outside edge so I used 3/4".  Stick a couple pins in then using the hot glue gun secure each side down leaving about an inch to inch and a half free at each corner.

To miter the corners pull up the felt and make it match from the corner to where the edges meet.  Take the scissors and cut flush to the main piece of fabric. 

Trim up the felt if need be then use the glue gun to secure it down.

This is what I should have done with the first felt, but secured with staples.  I got smart with this backing piece ;-)

Turn the felt piece over and even it out on the back.  I secured each corner down first then glued the edges down all the way around.  It was just that simple.

There it is...a pressing board.  Not too padded for ironing decals, but with just enough padding so I can still iron on it. 

I tested it out by fixing a decal on one of my son's shirts, then really broke it in with my next decal!!!

This is a 3 layered glitter decal in zebra print.  This one was fun to make but it takes a bit of careful ironing to get it right.  Perhaps I'll make a tutorial on it later...or perhaps I'll save the secret for myself!!!

I can't wait to get my craft room all set up for my new pressing board. 

Till next time,



  1. I'm actually thrilled to you know me well enough to know I'm totally fine with you repurposing our gift to make it fit in your home! If something's not working, change it so it does (that way we don't become hoarders like our sweet grandma!) Looks great!!
    Jeannine @ The Concrete Cottage