DIY tables for crafting, sewing and cutting
Sewing Tutorials

DIY CUTTING TABLE IDEAS FOR YOUR SEWING STUDIO

Tilly’s post last week on her McGyvered workstation reminded me of the research I did a few months back on DIY cutting tables. Obviously I am partial to my own whitewashed, castored baby (seriously, I would make out with it every morning if I wasn’t worried about lip splinters) but there are tons of options out there.

Most of us start sewing using whatever is available. I’m sure crawling around on the floor with shears or bogarting the dining room table is a familiar enough activity to most of you. The problem is our uncooperative bodies. I am cursed with lower back issues and it became obvious last year that if I didn’t make a cutting table at a comfortable standing height, I was going to be designing patterns for people in constant back spasms (imagine a big sack that allows you to lie in the fetal position while occasionally lurching into a half-assed yoga pose).

I think the act of making becomes much more enjoyable when you’re not hurting yourself to do it, so I’ve rounded up all the DIY tutorials I could find for crafting/cutting/sewing tables. These range in difficulty from “plop plywood on sawhorse” to “bribe woodworking-adept friend or relative with firstborn naming rights”. Either way, having a place dedicated to your work will make your life (and back) a lot better. Some of these DIYs are actually for regular tables or desks, so keep in mind that you may have to tweak the height. Traditional counter height is 36″ (or .9 meters) which is what I would recommend unless you’re a super shortie or tallie. If working at a typical kitchen counters is comfortable for you, 36″ is the way to go.

FOLDING CUTTING TABLES

If space is an issue for you, consider tables that either fold up or swing down from the wall. Anything wall mounted will obviously have to be properly anchored so having a stud finder would be handy.

TRESTLE TABLES

Trestle tables are great because you can easily make one yourself after a trip to Home Depot or Ikea. If space is an issue, they can also be disassembled when needed.

 

IKEA CUTTING TABLE HACKS

I looooove hacking Ikea stuff to make better stuff (I just made a great fauxdenza I’ll be sharing with your shortly). Use cabinets, bookshelves and kitchen islands from their catalog in creative ways and it’s pretty easy to add a workstation and some castors and go on your merry way.

There you have it! Hopefully this post will be useful to you if you’re considering adding a cutting table to your sewing arsenal. Have you DIYed a table for yourself? I’d love to hear about it.

 

  • Veronik

    Mine is simply made from rescued kitchen cabinets. I added wheels and a 3/4″ plywood top: http://instagram.com/p/yZ8REvPo4m/

    • This looks awesome Veronik! What is the work surface? Is that fabric?

      • Veronik

        No, it’s one of these:

        http://www.allbrands.com/products/4705-sullivans-12572-36×59-heat-resist-grid-ironing-tab

        I should also add that I went to Ikea yesterday and all kitchen units were being cleared out in favour of their new system. 75% off in some cases.

        • I get the IKEA mail and the invite to the “NEW” kitchen department, which should have twigged me to the clearance (I shop the place backwards and start with the scratch and dent area, THEN the aisles of stuff). I may have to make that trip sooner than I planned.

  • AuntyMaimu

    I did my sewing machine table! I could use a cutting table, but it has to be something that folds down AND can be moved arround. Untill I figure something out, crawling on the floors it is!

  • I’ve been using a VERY SAD old dining table that came with an old apartment. I have a sewing room, so it doesn’t need to be a dining table or anything. I really need to do something better… I’m thinking maybe a salvaged solid core door on top of some sawhorses.

  • Carly

    I think that the Norden table hack link is going to the Lack Island hack by mistake. (I’ve been looking at http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10290221/ to put on castors for a cutting table but am still waffling on it.)

    • Jessica

      YES! This is what I did, I was lucky enough to get the table rather inexpensively used because at the Montreal Ikea that table is near 300$. But I spent on quality castors that brought it to perfect height. Another commenter on Lladybird’s blog linked these

      http://www.amazon.com/Steelex-D2614-150-Pound-Threaded-Polyurethane/dp/B0000DD1EK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422477174&sr=8-1&keywords=Steelex+D2614+3-Inch+Threaded+Swivel+Double+Lock+Polyurethane+Plate+Caster%2C+150-Pound&pebp=1422477175136&peasin=B0000DD1EK

      which I bought, and LOVE. the rubber is so durable and soft the table glides across the room. They lock and swivel, very important. Also, I was able to clear half of my sewing stuff in those drawers, because they’re deep. It was also super easy to get the castors on, just made an X to locate the center at the bottom of each leg (6!), slowly drilled with a bit the same size as the stem, and thread the casters in. Done in less than an hour.
      I’ve never had a cutting table before, and with a two year old boy and one year old dog, my cutting was very stressful. This table, a gift from the hubby, has made a world of difference. We live in an apartment so storing this baby when not in use, was necessary.
      I had a hard time finding good information about converting the Norden, so hope this novel-length comment helps!

      • Carly

        Yes, this comment definitely helps! I live in a studio apartment, so being able to fold up is crucial. Right now I do all my cutting crawling around on hardwood floors, and then can’t figure out why my knees hurt.

        • I just wonder how sturdy that support leg would be on a castor….. But I juuuuust googled it and it seems like it would be okay. GO FOR IT CARLY! Your back will thank you.

  • Manju

    My whole sewing room is ikea including the height adjustable trestle cutting tables. https://sewmanju.wordpress.com/tag/sewing-room-uk/

    • I’m so jealous of how much space you have! And butting those tables together is super smart. So much table space. I can never have enough.

  • Lisa Kaminski

    Hoo girl, you have no idea how much I needed this. Do you know how hard cutting with a tiny cutting mat on top of shag carpet is? Awesome tips. I’m gonna run to Ikea now. OK byeeee.

    cabininthecity.org

    • SHAG CARPET!??? Hahahahaha. Ikea has 30″x60″ tabletops but if you want a little more width try and get a hollow core door from home depot. They are a little wider (but longer too).

  • I love my DIY cutting table which is basically a solid-core plain table (I think it’s like 30″x80″) set on top of three sets of drawers courtesy of the container store (http://goo.gl/8wzW3Q) and secured with velcro. I love having all the storage bins under my table for things like fabric and tools. Plus my table is in the center of the room and it allows me to pull out things from either side of the table 🙂 Oh, also it requires absolutely zero skill to put together – that really helps too.

    • Awesome! So glad you have a good workstation. It’s crazy how much it improves your sewing mood.

  • Last year I bought two trestles from a local manufacturer, at a really reasonable price (we don’t have IKEA here), and for the table top, I had a custom one made for me by a door manufacturer. It’s a plain household door, smooth on both sides, that I then painted with polyeurethane. It’s sturdy and the perfect size.

    • That’s super smart since doors are kind of the perfect size for cutting fabric on.

  • A good cutting table can make all the difference! I found the first Ikea hack you listed a while back and made my own. It’s amazeballs. Excuse the cat 😉

    • Excuse the cat?! You mean, “HELLO KITTY!” This looks great. So much storage!

  • Wow so many options!! I have to say my fave is still my gateleg table from Ikea – it folds out on both sides so can be huge or packed away nice and small. I just added castors to the bottom so it moves around easily and also added some height. (note to self, I must tidy my cutting table so it looks like this again…)

  • Ugh I wish we had Ikea in New Zealand! You can buy some stuff here but it’s so much more expensive.

    I admit I’m still using the floor and/or dining table and it’s horrible, I can’t wait to get a drafting/cutting table of the proper height. I got my husband a circular saw for Christmas so maybe I can convince him to make something for me…