A few years ago, I was getting really tired of ironing quilt tops with my regular ironing board. The kind with the tapered end is really not designed for quilters! I started googling things like “big ironing board” and came across this one, called simply “The Big Board”. I liked the idea of something that just sat on top of my regular ironing board, but am way too cheap frugal to spend $130 or more on an ironing board! It looked simple enough, so I started googling again, hoping someone would have a tutorial on how to DIY it so I wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel.
I came across this tutorial on Wild Onion Studio, which I loosely followed to make my own. I wanted it a hair larger, so I had Home Depot cut my plywood to 24″ x 60″. I turned my ironing board upside down and traced a bit of the outline to mark where the braces needed to be.
I got my husband to screw in the small wood braces, but forgot to show him the tutorial photo, so the arrangement of them is different, but it still works. It is not quite symmetric, so I labeled one of the braces “pointy end” so I remember!
I covered the plywood about the same as how I covered my portable ironing board. One layer of aluminum foil with the seams taped, then two layers of Warm & Natural batting, then a white, 100% cotton sheet. I used a staple gun to tack the sheet down. I also made a removable cover out of another 100% cotton sheet.
The big board topper has only fallen off my ironing board once (the weight and braces keep it from sliding off), and that is when all three of my kids were chasing each other and crashed into it. To be safe, though, I never store my iron on top of it unless I am actively ironing. If you were more nervous about it falling, you could bolt it on, like in this tutorial, but that would make it much harder to put away.
Here it is, with a half yard stretched out on it. I don’t know what I did without it!
It is also nice to keep out when I want to lay out several blocks, or assembly-line press a bunch of the same pieces.
When I got a new cutting table from Ikea, I found that I loved being able to pull the table out from the wall and rest my big ironing board on top of it. I removed the wood braces from underneath the board and store the big board leaning against the wall when I don’t need it to save space. I do all of my ironing when piecing a quilt on my portable ironing board, which tucks under my sewing table. I pull out the big board and the table during quilt top assembly and it stays out through machine binding!