How to Make a Portable Pressing Board

A Portable Pressing Board

Finished size 24” x 24”

Approximate cost to make: $20.00



1/4” pine plywood 24” x 24” (I got sanded pine exterior from a local home improvement store.)

Thermal fleece 1 1/3 yards

3/4  yard 100% Cotton Twill 60” wide

1/3 yard cotton cording (Twisted cording has less stretch than braided cording.)


3 yards of 3/4” wide decorative cotton lace ribbon trim

Craft glue

Staple gun

1/4” and 3/8” staples

Small tack hammer

Sewing Machine

Thread to match Twill fabric

A pressing clapper (Optional, but very handy for crisp folds) I use a section from an old cutting board as a clapper.



From the Twill, cut

one piece 26” square

one piece 24” square

one piece 9 1/2″ x 3”

From the thermal fleece, cut

one piece 26” square

one piece 23” square

one piece 7” x 4”


Lay the plywood board on a protected, flat surface. Lay the 26” piece of fleece on top, centering it over the board.

Lift the edges of the fleece and smooth it over the board. The slightly rough texture of the wood will hold the fleece in place.

Lay the 26” piece of twill, wrong side down, and smooth it as you did the fleece. Lift the edges as needed.

Flip the board, fleece, and fabric over so that the twill is on the bottom.

Beginning in the center of one side, pull the edges of the twill and fleece up and over the edge of the board. Pull it snug, but do not stretch it. Using the staple gun loaded with 1/4″ staples, place a staple 1/2″ to  3/4″ in from the edge. Repeat the process about two inches away on either side of the first staple.

Rotate the board around and work on the opposite side of the board. Again, start in the center of the side and snuggly pull the fabric and fleece up and over the edge. Place a staple 1/2″ to 3/4” in as before. Repeat the process on either side of the center staple as before.

Rotate the board 1/4 turn. Pull and staple the fabric on each of the last two sides.

Work your way from the center, pulling the fleece and fabric over the edge and slightly toward the corner, to within 3″ to 4” from one corner. I like to put a staple every two inches.

Always work on one area and its opposite side. Continue stapling until all sides are secure.

Next, work on the corners.

Fold the fleece up and pinch it at the corners to form a miter.

Using the scissors, cut the excess fleece from the corner.

Pull the fabric and fleece up and over the corner. Because this is the bias, it will have some stretch. Stretch it slightly up and over the corner. Tuck the mitered fleece under it and place one staple about 1” in from the corner.

Lay the 23” piece of fleece on the board. Line up the fleece along the inside edge of the stapled fleece beginning at one corner and lining up two sides.

Lift and smooth the fleece over the board. Smooth the fleece to the inside edges on all sides.

With the scissors, trim the excess fleece from the inside piece.

You can put a few staples at the edge of the inside piece of fleece, if you like. I have found that it really is not necessary as the grain of the wood holds the fleece in place. There is no shifting or bunching.

To make the handle, lay the 9 1/2″ x 3” piece of twill fabric wrong side up. Fold each long edge in 1/4” and press.

Lay the 7” x 4” piece of fleece down and place the cording on one long edge.

Tightly roll the cording and fleece. Wind thread around the roll to hold the fleece secure and tie each end around the cording.

Place the roll in the center of the twill handle. Bring the folded edges together. Pin and sew.

Measure to find the center of one side of the pressing board and make a mark 3/4″ from the edge. Measure 2” from the center on each side and mark them.

Use 3/8” staples for securing the back.

To attach the handle, pull the cording end toward the handle fold. Place the end outside of the 2” mark with the folded side at the mark. The handle seam should be facing the closest corner. Staple the handle in place. Be sure that the staples go through the cording to secure it. (I’m pointing to the mark with a stiletto I made from a dowel and used sewing machine needle. Click here for directions on how to  make one. )

Keeping the handle seam to the outside, bend the handle around and, again, line up the fold to the outside of the 2” mark and staple in place.

Lay the 24” piece of twill wrong side up. Fold in 1/4″ and press. This is what the fabric does using just the iron.

I use a clapper to hold in the heat without scorching the fabric. This makes the fold lay flatter and easier to handle.  My pressing clapper is a section of a cutting board that broke.

See what a difference clapping can make?

Press 1/4″ on all four sides.

Turn the pressed piece of twill fabric wrong side down on top of the smoothed fleeced.

For this part, I staple the corners first. (Not pictured – Pull the two sides over the corner and staple.) Pull one corner edge of the backing piece to within about 1/8″ from the corner.   Place a staple on each side of the corner. Then staple the opposite corner, slightly stretching the fabric.

Staple the other two corners in the same manner.

Pull the backing to within about 1/8” from the edge under the handle and staple in place. Pull the opposite side tight, and staple.

Staple the other two sides in the same manner.

Work your way to each corner, pulling the fabric tight and stapling as you go. I use lots of staples on the back to keep everything tight and smooth.

When the stapling is done, check to make sure that the fabric is smooth. Hammer down any staples that need it.

Glue the cotton lace trim over the staples.

Fold the trim at the corner to form a miter.

Add a little extra glue in the fold if needed.

Let dry.

Both sides are ready for pressing!

Happy quilting and pressing!