My mother would have preferred I say, "I intensely dislike ironing."
But the truth of the matter is, I hate to iron.
I especially hate ironing tablecloths. Iron the left side and wrinkle the right side. Iron the right side and wrinkle the left. Begin at one end and by the time you reach the other, the beginning is a mess.
While having tablecloths ironed professionally must feel like heaven on earth, it's always seemed a tad bit extravagant to me.
The following set-up isn't perfect, but it speeds up what is essentially a slow, tedious, often frustrating process.
One old ironing board (The more tattered the pad and cover, the better. Why? Because the crummier it looks, the cheaper it will be.)
One 16 X 72 X 3/4 inch board, pine or OSB. (OSB is stronger and truer, but much, much heavier. I'm warning you. My finished board is made of the lighter pine and it's still pretty darn unwieldy. But if you're young and strong and the weight is not a problem, go for the OSB. If you buy a pine board [$14.00 at Lowe's], you'll also need glue, a few tiny nails and 3 or 4 long paint stirring sticks from the paint department.)
Six flat-head machine screws and nuts (sized to fit through the vent holes of the ironing board)
One countersinking drill bit (Total cost of screws, nuts and drill bit was less than $7.00.)
Staple gun and staples
Fabric and material for the pad and cover
Duct tape or 4 chair tips
2. Remove the cover and pad from the old ironing board. If the foam portion seems to be baked on, a metal kitchen spatula will easily remove it.
3. Wipe down the ironing board and use some left over spray paint on the legs and edges.
4. Place the board on top of the ironing board. Working from underneath, mark two holes at either end and two in the center.
Drill all six holes using the countersink drill bit.
5. Attach the board using the machine screws and nuts. Make sure the screw heads are flush with the board. You'd be surprised how those little buggers can rise up and cut through all the layers of fabric.
If you are using pine board, cut the paint stirring sticks to approximately 13 inches in length. Glue and tack the strips to the underside of the board at both ends where it protrudes past the ironing board. This prevents the board from splitting.
I recently read that one should start with a layer of aluminum foil. It's supposed to reflect the heat back onto the item you're ironing. Too late for me, but you may want to try it.
Here's where the Pressing Purists and I part company. I say, "Use whatever material you've got on hand." They say, "Use such-and-such for perfect pressing." Keep in mind, you are not making a pressing board for quilting. I used material that was meant for a puppet project that never got off the ground. If you're persnickety, do a little internet search. Martha Stewart and others have plenty to say on the subject.
6. Using a staple gun and fabric of your choice (felt, fleece, dense batting, old wool blanket, bump flannel, etc.), attach padding to the board. Begin by stapling both sides at the center and working toward the ends.
Trim any excess material.
8. Set your new tablecloth ironing board up at one end of your dining table, iron your tablecloth, pull the pressed portion onto your table, iron the next section, pull more cloth onto your table. Continue on until it's all pressed.
You're going to love only having to iron it once!
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