finished table with cutting and ironing tools

Fabric cutting and ironing station (Ikea Hack)

I’ve been reading lots of sewing books lately, and one common theme is to have a cutting station that’s counter-height to ease back strain. This makes sense — my back has been pretty achy from leaning over my desk to cut fabric. And my ironing board is rather wobbly and really un-fun to use, so I wanted to incorporate a pressing station into the cutting station.

A quick search online for ideas led me to craft room Ikea hacks and lots of promise. Since we already had two Expedit (now Kallax) 2×2 cubes, that sounded like a good direction. I particularly liked this trio approach and this 2-cube approach. Rather than purchase an additional cube that wouldn’t quite match my two older Expedit shelves, I settled on the 2-cube design.

For raising it to counter height, I could either add legs to the bottom of the shelves, or raise the table top like this. I chose to raise the table top to keep the base more stable, and it buys me a bit of storage between the top and the shelves.

My husband helped me put together this hack, although the table top was lightweight and one person could do this alone if needed. Two people makes it easier.

I wanted the top to be easily removable and the whole setup to be easy to move and reassemble. One thing I don’t like about Ikea furniture is that once it’s put together, you’re pretty much stuck with full-size furniture if you ever want to move it around. We decided to glue inverted legs to the top of the shelves, positioning them toward the front of the shelves since the top doesn’t reach from front to back, and affix industrial-strength Velcro to the feet base (which is now the top because they’re upside down) and the bottom side of the table top. Then we tacked down a layer of cotton batting on the underside of the table top, and finished by tacking down unbleached muslin.

There are a few inches of empty space at the back of the shelves where I intend to put some narrow storage bins. The Velcro appears to be working great, and if it loses its sticking power we can always cheaply replace it with new pieces.

One improvement I would make in the future is to finish the edges of the fabric cover so they don’t hand down sloppily once the top is in place and it looks more finished. But hey, like my husband says, it’s a hack. So I’m not too concerned about it. My top priority is how it functions, and it appears to be a great solution.

legs glued to shelf base

The leg plates were glued to the shelf base with Liquid Nails

bases with legs in place

Bases with finished legs in place

finished table

Finished table, with an extra cute addition to the top

storing tracing paper roll under work surface

There’s enough space under the top to store a roll of pattern tracing paper

Supplies list:

  • two 2 x 2 Expedit shelves (already owned)
  • 2 packs of Besta legs (4 total legs): $20.00
  • Linnmon table top, 59 x 29 1/2 in.: $25.99
  • Drona storage box for shelves (1): $5.99
  • Velcro Extreme, 1 in. x 4 in. 5-pack: $4.87
  • Liquid Nails glue: $3.57
  • Unbleached muslin, 2 yards of 44-inch wide (had 50% off coupon at Joann): $2.99
  • Natural cotton batting, 1 1/4 yards of 96-inch wide (had 50% off coupon at Joann): $9.37
  • large white furniture nails, 25-pack: $2.49

Total cost: $75.27 + tax

I’m so happy with this table because it gives me a nice large space for cutting fabric in my sewing room, and provides a large pressing surface. And the most exciting part is that it was a frugal DIY solution for my specific needs.

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