Custom Ironing Table

After suffering from what appears to be muscle strain in my right shoulder and neck for a couple of days after an extremely minor fender-bender, I decided that ergonomics in my sewing room should be more important to me.

The first thing that I realized needed attention was the ironing table I was using. It was too tall, but otherwise worked well. (It was a 2’x4′ board covered with Insulbright and silver ironing board cover fabric, placed atop wire shelving from Target.) I created the original one from this tutorial.

The height of the shelving was right, if I hadn’t then needed to raise my hand higher to grab and move the iron. As it was, my hand was above my elbow when ironing, which was causing me to hike up my right shoulder.

So I set out to locate similar shelving or some other sturdy item to place under the existing board.

My requirements were:

  • At least 28″ tall
  • Less than 4′ wide
  • Less than 2′ deep
  • No taller than 31″ (because I needed to add my existing top).
  • Must not decrease storage
  • Not ugly

I considered looking for some kind of cabinet (recycled cabinets from a kitchen remodel would have worked well). But found that I would encounter a transportation and portability issue. (I REALLY like to rearrange the furniture!)

Then I looked through pinterest boards to see what other people were doing. I didn’t find anything of particular interest that didn’t require me to have access to, or purchase, many power tools.

Also, who has a garage full of “scrap” lumber?!? I don’t. I don’t know anyone who does. And yet! And yet I see posts and articles all over the internet from women who “found” lumber to build their dream project in their garage or barn. I don’t know about you, but I have cars in my garage and we don’t have a barn…. ANY way… 

Then I drove past The Container Store near my house. (Who am I kidding? I was going there for fun, and then remembered that I could actually justify purchasing something there because it was “for my health.”) 

When I went inside, I saw that their Elfa sale was on. 30% off?!? Yes, please! I have an unholy love of all things Elfa. I dream of someday redoing all the closets in my house with Elfa.

I found that they have a number of drawer units that would work for my purposes, if I added wheels to them. Without wheels they were 29″ tall, and with wheels? 31″ PERFECT!

I bought 2 medium width units and one narrow width unit in platinum mesh. Each has 4 drawers, one shallow at the top and three 2-rail deep drawers.

To be honest, it didn’t go that smoothly at first. To begin with, I only got the two medium units and I bought the translucent drawers. They were CRAPPY, just say no. They wouldn’t stay on the rails like I knew the mesh drawers would. (I use 6 of the wide 3-runner drawers in my cutting table to store my stash, I will post about that soon.)

So I placed an online order for the replacement drawers and the narrow unit and took the offending ones back.

Once I put together the units according to the included instructions (super easy, but noisy and requires a mallet), I popped the existing ironing board on top. It slid around a bit. And then I remembered that I had an old IKEA desktop upstairs in the closet (I take back what I said before about people with a stash of lumber in their houses, a little). 

The desktop is like this one, and was super cheap. ($10-$15, if I remember correctly, though it predates this house, it moved here from the old house and then when it wasn’t in use any longer, I got lazy and shoved it into the closet in what was then the guest room, it’s now my office.)

So I took some sticky-backed velcro and used strips of that to attach the desktop to the top of the elfa units (which are held to each other through the use of cable ties (aka zip-ties). I then repeated the process with the ironing table (which has a frame of 1x2s underneath it to keep it from sliding around on top of the old shelving).

The only other thing that I have on my ironing table that you might want to consider is this delightful thing. It is shown on the right hand edge of the table and holds the cord for the iron so that I don’t get as tangled in it. Totally worth $12 if you ask me, since I would get tangled and want to throw the iron. (This seems like a bad idea, but what do I know? I don’t even have a lumber stash.)

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