How to Make Your Own Portable Pressing Table

One of my all-time favorite sewing tools in recent years, is my portable pressing table. It takes up a lot less room than my ironing board in my little sewing space and it’s so easy to keep right next to my sewing machine for easy pressing while I work. I love it! Did you know it’s so easy make your own portable pressing table?

Tutorial- How to Make a portable pressing table - useful supply for every sewing roomm

Today, I’m going to share how I updated my pressing table with pretty Home Decorator weight fabric and share some tips for making your own personal pressing board! (This post contains affiliate links.)


Here are the supplies you’ll need to make your own covered pressing table. First of all, a wooden TV table that you can easily find in places like WalMart or Target. Make sure it has a flat surface on the top. In addition you’ll need:

  • fabric that measures at least 3″ bigger on all sides than the surface of the TV tray
  • at least 3 layers of quilt batting (batting scraps work great) 1 1/2″ bigger than the size of the tray surface
  • a layer of of InsulBright batting – not essential, but I recommend it
  • a staple gun
  • *optional – Spray paint to paint the legs of the TV tray a fun color


When making my original tray, used the TV Tray Pressing Table tutorial from Oh Fransson.

In addition to that tutorial, I used the helpful hints (and in my case helpers) from American Quilting. They used the Oh Fransson tutorial as well, but have added the Insul Bright layer directly under the fabric – this helps reflect the heat away from the table. They also have more photos showing the steps for turning the fabric under and securing it in place – especially those tricky corners.

old pressing table

I made my pressing table a few years ago and it was scorched and starting to get threadbare and shabby. Definitely time for an update. When I made it originally, I used a regular cotton quilting-weight fabric. I’m sure that added to the threadbare status after only a couple of years. (It does look, loved, right?)

Home Dec fabric Pressing Table

And now here’s the new and much-improved version. Using the Home Decorator weight fabric instead of the regular quilting cotton makes such a difference too. I expect this to last much longer and be much more durable.


Plus, it looks cute.  I love how cheerful it looks next to my sewing machine. I used the Riley Blake Gray and White Dot from Home Dec Basics.

While the gray dot is no longer available, you can still find lots of great canvas weight prints like these Lori Holt home decor fabrics and other designer canvas fabrics

My iron is a Smart Iron from Oliso.

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  • Reply
    Allison CB
    July 8, 2015 at 6:53 am

    That is so cute! and perfec to have by the couch if you are piecing and watching the Tour de France at the same time!!! LOL

  • Reply
    Emma Robertson
    July 8, 2015 at 7:55 am

    I made one similar last year from an old piece of wood and some spare fabric, but mine’s just a table top one. They’re really useful. :0) xx

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Love these! They are so easy to transport to retreats and charity sewing days. I use lots of liquid starch so my table is in serious need of a make over. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Debby in Fanny Bay
    July 8, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    How about your iron? I had a demo on one recently. It is pretty smart! What do you think?

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      I have really liked it. I’ve had it for a couple years now and it’s still going strong. Love the weight and it does a great job. The only problem is I’ve been known to leave other peoples’ irons in the down position. Eek.

  • Reply
    Teresa Bowen
    July 9, 2015 at 3:34 am

    What a great idea. A lot of my sewing is done on the kitchen table and I keep my ironing board next to the table when I’m working. My husband always complains about it being in the way, and actually he is right. The ironing board blocks access to cupboards and is a nuisance. Now I will be on the lookout for a TV table and as soon as I get one I will be turning it into an ironing station. Thanks for this really useful post

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      I had the same experience! My kitchen felt so much tidier once I got the small table and got rid of the big ironing board that had been a permanent fixture!

  • Reply
    Catherine Robertson
    July 9, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful project. The tray table and decor fabric is fabulous. The past few months I`ve taken a second look at decor fabric expanding it`s use in my home projects.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Cute fabric, and oh, how I need one of these! Just last night, I packed up my tabletop ironing board for a class, and this would have been so much better. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Sigi G
    July 9, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Love the little ironing board. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Home Dec Fabric from Riley Blake. Thanks Amy!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2015 at 8:17 am

    What a fabulous, useful idea! I have two portable ironing/appliqué tables: One to look pretty and one to actually use! Having tried several tables (I’ve made dozens), I would recommend the Target portable table if available. They have a slightly bigger surface and are much sturdier. I know there are wonderful seamstresses that make their covers with casings. I am way to lazy for that(!) and love the change of design and color to help support my fabric obsession.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 9, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      Awesome – thanks for the table analysis too! And thanks for being the one to actually make mine in the first place. 😉

  • Reply
    Linda Rattie
    July 9, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Yes I love my little ironing table as well. I saw someone using it at a quilting retreat I was
    at and came home and made one for myself and one of my girlfriends.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Alesha K
    July 10, 2015 at 4:45 am

    I made mine a few yrs ago and can’t live without it now. I took a beautiful, bright print to cover mine, makes me smile every time I use it! Sure beats getting up and down to iron my quilt pieces.

  • Reply
    Janice K
    July 14, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    This is exactly what I have been looking for! So far, I’ve had one knee replaced and will have the other one done later this year What a step saver!!! Ordering my Home Dec fabric now!!

  • Reply
    August 17, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I did something like this also. I used a tv tray, but instead of stapling mine on, I used elastic and made it so I could take it off and wash it, but also replace it easily should the cloth ever get “burned” for instance. I had originally thought I could just use cording also then tie it, but I don’t like how ties sometimes tickle my thighs.. so I used elastic instead. 🙂

    Great tutorial!!

  • Reply
    Dawn j
    September 21, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Hi Amy, thanks for the great tutorial. While I was piecing and pressing a couple of new quilt blocks last week (getting very frustrated with my ironing board being too high and taking up so much space beside my sewing machine), I suddenly remembered your tutorial for a small pressing board along with the smart grey/white spotty fabric. So I’ve created my own one today and I think it looks great, using a cheery ‘hounds tooth’ home deco weight cotton. I’ve even got spare fabric so I can recover my ironing board to jazz it up a bit as well.
    Thanks for the tutorial and links to your earlier inspiration and advice.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      September 22, 2015 at 10:03 am

      You’re welcome! It’s so handy to have something small, close by, isn’t it? And houndstooth sounds very snappy!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    I made one of these a few years ago. I love it and my husband irons napkins while he watches TV. We use cloth napkins every day and he hates them wrinkled. My tray looks just like yours. It came from goodwill.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Absolutely! Since 1974.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    wonderful idea can’t wait to do this with our unused tv tray …you come up with the ideas of things we all need …thank you very much….

  • Reply
    February 26, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    I love this idea! Last weekend i had decided i needed a smaller ironing board. Because, though it does “fit” it makes the room feel so crowded. My only question is, how often do you have to haul out your regular sized ironing board because you’re ironing a large piece of fabric?

    • Reply
      March 1, 2019 at 10:15 am

      My big ironing board doesn’t fit in this space, so I if I have something too big that needs the regular ironing board, I just set it up in my family room and use it while I watch TV. 🙂 But that’s pretty rare.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    I was about to buy one of the new square irons and saw this. What a much better idea! I love it next to the sewing machine.

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