Easy DIY Cutting Table, Pressing Station, & WIP Storage~
About the Easy DIY Cutting Table, Pressing Station & WIP Storage Table
I make a lot of quilts. Many years ago I wanted to upgrade my cutting station from my dining room table, and I happened to find some cube storage units on clearance at Target. I snapped up four of them even though they were walnut colored, and decided to paint them, which was way more work than it was worth. I had Home Depot cut a 4x8 foot 3/4 inch plywood board for the topper, which I also painted. The table at the time doubled as a cutting station and WIP storage. This is my old version below.
I moved into a new apartment years later and decided to make a larger version and this time I wanted a removable ironing cover I could take on and off of the table for when I needed to press quilt tops. I purchased two 12-cube storage units from Target, this time in white so I wouldn't have to paint them, and two 9-cube storage units to bookend on either side. Now I have storage for days, and a larger work station! I'm able to put two 24x36 cutting mats on the top of the table, and for a while I did take the ironing cover on and off the table. Eventually I got tired of constantly removing it and just left it on. Let's take a closer look at how this table is put together!
DIY Cutting Table Cube Storage from Target
I'm on a budget so I searched high and low for the cheapest cube storage I could find. Target's Room Essentials storage cubes ended up being the best price, so that is what I went with. The 12-cube storage units are easy to assemble and only require a screwdriver and hammer. I set them back to back as the center of my table.
I bookended the 12-cube units with 9-cube storage units, also from Target. Altogether this gives me 42 cubes to store stuff in, something that is essential when you're trying to maximize a smaller sewing room. I didn't connect the four units with screws or anything, their weight is enough to keep them in place.
Table Top and Cube Storage Backing from Home Depot or Lowes
The cube storage only comes with cardboard backing for half of the cubes that you nail into the back of the units. That seemed fine for the center units since they sit against each other, but I wanted something more sturdy for the bookended units. I built the cube storage before heading to the hardware store so I could take my own measurements. You want to know how wide and long your table will be. I also measured the 9-cube units after they were put together so I knew how big the backing boards would need to be. Below is the approximate layout I had, with rounded measurements.
I took the measurements to Home Depot and selected the cheapest 4x8 foot 1/4 inch plywood board I could find. I then found an employee who cut the units to my specifications for the back of the cube storage. Home Depot and Lowes both have staff who will cut plywood to size for free, which is pretty darn cool. I was able to get backings for both 9-cube units from one 4x8 foot board. When I got home I sanded the cut edges and then got fancy by painting them a pale pink, because sometimes I'm extra.
You're also going to want the hardware store to cut your table top to size. I browsed the aisles for a 3/4" thick 4x8 foot wooden board that wasn't too pricey (don't look online at the prices, they don't seem to add up to the price I actually paid in the store). When I assembled the unit in the photos I only had them add an extra inch to each side, which ended up being a little too small to wrap the ironing board cover around. The original table top is around 73" wide on the long sides, and 38" inches on the short sides (the plywood says 4x8 feet but is actually a little bigger). I'm actually going to get a new board cut that hangs over the short sides by at least 3 inches whenever I find the time. I'm also going to make a new ironing cover, and the larger table top will allow the cover to wrap around the corners better. I'm thinking 78x38" for the next top.
I sanded the cut edges of my table top when I got home and again, painted it a pale pink, because at the time I wasn't planning on leaving the ironing board cover on it all the time. I went farther by painting the table top with a polycrylic topcoat to protect the surface.
Securing the Table Top to the Cube Storage
I'm not a handyperson by any means, but there was an attempt to secure the table top to the cube storage. The boards of the cube storage is about 1/2" thick, and I knew my table top was 3/4" thick. I have a drill so I chose screws that could go in through the top of the cube storage, and then into the table top without coming out the other side. If you don't have a drill I'm pretty sure you could use a hammer and nails, but I recommend consulting someone with more knowledge than I have before trying that.
Ironing Board Cover
I had a roll of queen size batting on hand, so I cut two layers the size of the table top to protect the wood when I was using it as an ironing surface. I also ordered some heat resistant material from Amazon, but you can also get 44" wide ironing board fabric at Joann. I boxed the corners and then sewed elastic around the edges with an overlock stitch on my sewing machine so it would hug the table top. You can see my ironing cover has taken a beating and I plan on making a new one once I get my new top. Next time I'm going to add one more layer of a pretty home dec weight fabric on top of the ironing board fabric so it matches the rest of my room.
I wanted to go ahead and share a link to the storage cubes I purchased for my table. If you buy these at the store they can be crazy expensive, but I found these on Amazon for a great price. They are sturdy, come in a variety of colors, and have suited my needs perfectly.
Using the Ultimate Cutting, Pressing & WIP Table
I store a ton of stuff inside my cube storage bins. Some have precuts, many have WIPs, and others have materials and tools. I have a Brother P-Touch label maker that I use to label my bins. I even found some magenta label tape on Amazon so the color blends in with my cubes.
I leave my ironing cover on the table now and find it doesn't interfere with cutting on the cutting mats at all. I typically have two 24x36" cutting mats on the table and leave the end of the table for pressing. When I need a larger pressing area I move one of the mats on top of the other, and when I'm pressing a quilt top I take them both off entirely.
In the photos above you can see I haven't maximized the sides of the 9-cube units. I think they would make great spaces to hang rulers, especially the ones I use most often. I am going to attach some removable wall hooks at some point and make that happen. The space would also be good for color card swatches, but since I keep mine on rings I've moved past that idea.
I'll be sure to share my updates to my table on Instagram and Facebook once I finally get to them! If you have any questions feel free to drop them in the comments below. Until next time, stay quilty my friends!