DIY Pressing Board: portable ironing boards or padded printing boards for thermofax

IMG_0734Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been gathering supplies and preparing fabric for my upcoming classes. For my Tea & Ephemera class I make faux tea stained fabric for my students to use as a base for their collage and mixed media techniques.

This begins with tearing fabric to size, mixing a bucket of watery golden brown textile paint that I immerse all the fabric in, then crumple up and leave to dry on a plastic tarp. This time the weather was so cool and humid that it took 3 days to dry!

As I looked at this sea of wrinkled fabric, and my standard size ironing board, I really began to miss the oversize pressing board I left behind in Chicago and decided I needed to make a new one.

I went to Home Depot and walked down the sheetrock and plywood aisle in search of homasote wall board. Homasote is a lightweight cellulose pressed fiber board that is used for acoustic insulation. You can use it for bulletin boards and it makes a great base for design walls since you can easily pin into it and iron on it.


I found some at Home Depot labeled ‘Sound Board’ in 4′ x 8′ sheets, too big for my present needs, but with a little more searching, I came across 24″ square boards with cork on one side for just under $8 each.


I bought 2 pieces and decided to cover one with canvas and the other with an oversize silicon pressing sheet.


Cut a piece of batting about an inch larger than the homasote and a piece of canvas large enough to wrap around the board by a couple inches. I happened to have an extra black cotton batting in the cupboard that I have no intention of using for a quilt, since I’m a wool only girl, and cut it about and inch larger than the board all the way around and trimmed the corners to eliminate bulk when wrapping the canvas around the sides.

Start by wrapping the canvas over the edges to the back and place one staple centered along each side of the board to secure it, pulling the fabric taut just before stapling.

IMG_0728Fold the corner up first and then pull the side up making a 45 degree tucked fold.

IMG_0730And staple at the edge. The place a staple every couple inches from the corner along the edge until you get to the center staple, making sure to pull the canvas taut as you go, until it is secured all the way around.



For the silicon sheet pressing board (on the right) I used a layer of sturdy buckram between the batting and the pressing sheet. When not in use, I can just stand these lightweight boards up against the wall and out of the way.

The boards worked beautifully for pressing out 150 squares of fabric. IMG_0751

Today I’m off to Oakland to give a lecture and a couple workshops for the East Bay Heritage Quilters, it’s so nice not to get on a plane for my first trip of the year. 🙂

7 Responses to “DIY Pressing Board: portable ironing boards or padded printing boards for thermofax”

  1. What a great idea. I hate standard ironing boards for textile work, now I can make one that really works well.

  2. Lisa Chin says:

    Very nice! I haven’t heard of the sound boards before. I will have check them out!

  3. Beverlee says:

    I have made one similar but did not think of the silicone board, time to make one

  4. Mary R. Beat says:

    Thank you for taking the time for the detailed construction of pressing boards. You have given me the freedom to get rid of the 19 year old, stained, stretched one I made.
    Have a relaxing, new friends, 2015 workshop.

  5. beverly says:

    hi judy, I took your recent workshops at EBHQ, loved them, hope I’m able to study again with you. I’m writing because I owe you money from the workshop, as I didn’t have a check available. I’m not certain of the amount I owe. I paid $50 but that was not for the inks, so I guess it was the materials fee for both days. So I know I owe you $35 for the inks, and I think I bought 3 separate inks, which would be $9.75 (?)..So would $50 cover it? If I owe you more please let me know, ( if less, don’t bother).
    I really like your blog and will subscribe. I’m one of the few folks who don’t know how to use facebook, -not intentionally- so for now I go through Email. Could you leave me a snail mail address? Again, so enjoyed the workshops. Beverly Sokolay

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