In preparation for Saturday's Applique class at The Old Country Store, I decided to make a batch of pressing boards so each student can try one out for themselves.
At my last Applique class, the students commented on what a difference they made in their pressing results. I was teaching the Freezer Paper and Starch method, and indeed, it does make a difference if you have a firm surface to work with!
I love these pressing boards - they are perfect indeed. I first learned about making them here.
One you get used to the perfect surface they provide you with, you won't be happy with any other pressing surface, trust me!
The problem with conventional ironing boards is that the surface just isn't firm enough for quilt-related pressing, and often the padding is a polyester fiber, or the cover is made out of that nasty aluminized silver stuff.
I made several boards for myself three years ago as well as a big board pressing surface and absolutely love using them.
(Note - I had just painted my quilt studio and tidied up - it's never been that neat since!)
These boards are so simple and inexpensive to make. I simply got some scraps of plywood at the lumber yard and had them cut down to the desired size. The 10 x 13" size works nicely for small projects and is easy to transport if you are quilting away from home. The larger 14 x 19" size always sits on my big board ironing surface and helps to protect it from the scorching that results from routine pressing. And, I have an 18" square board that is perfect for fusing interfacing when making T-shirt quilts. Of course, you can make them any size you wish!
Here is the supply list in case you are interested in making your own:
10 x 13" 1/2" OSB or good quality plywood
14 x 17" 100% cotton duck fabric
(I got mine at Good's for super cheap.)
2 pieces of 11 x 14" 100% cotton batting
(Warm & Natural or Warm & White works just fine even though it's only 87% cotton. And, it's the perfect project for using up batting scraps.)
9-1/2 x 12-1/2" piece of felt
You'll also need:
coarse sand paper (I used 60 grit)
staple gun and 1/4" staples
Sobo or craft glue
Round the corners of the wood with coarse sand paper (50 or 60 grit works nicely).
Lay the wood on top of the fabric and 2 layers of batting.
Notch out the corners of batting to eliminate bulk.
Pull fabric nice and taught and staple.
Glue the felt to the back to give it a finished look.
You can certainly use a cotton decorator fabric if you prefer something a little more snazzy, but I prefer to stick with the plain duck fabric so there's never any worry about any dye bleeding onto my fabric if I'm using starch or steam.
Of course, with regular use, you'll end up with a surface that looks like this, but you can easily recover your board from time to time, something I definitely need to do!