As we were strolling through one of our favorite flea markets one day, we stumbled upon an old vintage wooden ironing board. It was affordable and I fell in love with the mixture of wood and industrial metal woven throughout. But I was also asking myself what in the world would I do with an old ironing board?
Ironing boards are more versatile than you think. Some of the most popular ways to repurpose them are by finding unique and clever uses for them around the home. Ironing boards certainly do not have to be only used for ironing clothes! A laundry room is a perfect area in the home to turn an old vintage ironing board into a useful shelf so let’s make one today!
Note: This post has been updated in May 2019.
How to Transform an Old Vintage Wooden Ironing Board Into a Useful Shelf
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I forgot to take a picture of the front of the board pre-stained to show you a before picture. But this is the back which shows the original color of the board.
How to clean an old ironing board
Depending on the condition of the ironing board when you purchased it, they are relatively easy to clean.
If you have nice weather, I would suggest that you clean the ironing board outside because they are pretty awkward to clean in the house. If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can always use your bathtub to give it a sponge bath.
With a bucket of hot, soapy water, I got to work on scrubbing it down to remove the dirt and grime that had gathered on it throughout the years.
The most important part is to let the ironing board dry really well. You definitely don’t want to brush stain on wet wood. I used a towel to dry every area of the board and then let it air dry in the sun for a couple of hours after that.
Sanding and Staining
There is really not much to an old ironing board so it was pretty easy to sand the flat top. I used an 80 grit sanding disc and then followed that with 120 grit sanding discs to give it a nice smooth surface to work with. The rest can be spot sanded with an orbital sander just to get the rough parts down and to make it easier to stain. I used flat 220 grit sandpaper to get those little nooks and crannies that the orbital sander couldn’t reach.
After the cleaning and sanding, I stained all pieces of the wood front and back using my favorite stain, Minwax Jacobean.
If you would rather keep the wood unstained, that is perfectly fine as well.
This is my go-to stain for pretty much everything. If I want a little more red or any different color, I will use this and add different color stains to it. The dark grain of the wood that Jacobean brings out really attracted me to this stain, especially contrasted with the metal on the ironing board.
Make sure to let the stain dry for a good 24 hours before adding the finished shelves.
How to Make Shelves for the Ironing Board
Now it is time to measure the ironing board and make the shelves. I’ve decided to make two shelves for this project but you can make more as needed.
I have been searching for metal vintage shelves at a flea market but have been unable to find them in the size I need, so for now, I will just make them. If I find some later, it would be easy to change them.
Because we have a sawmill, we are able to cut the boards to the size that we need. We used the skill saw to cut the width of the boards. Our shelves measured 6″ x 13″.
You can also have your local home improvement store cut the wood down to any size that you need. I have heard that they will cut it for free after you buy the lumber you need but you’ll need to ask first.
The shelves are then attached to the board using a Kreg Jig. I love this thing! We have used it on several projects around the house and it works perfectly.
All you have to do is clamp the wood into the Kreg Jig and figure out where you want to drill your hole. This is a perfect guide for your drill bit so the hole won’t be catawampus and your shelf won’t be crooked. Using the special drill bit that came with the Kreg Jig, start drilling the depth that you want. The special hole that you drill will hide the screw and make the shelf extra sturdy.
After the holes were drilled, we painted the shelves with some paint that I had that was leftover from another project. I believe it was called Blue Ocean Breeze Spray paint from Krylon.
How to Attach the Shelves to the Ironing Board
Wood Glue was spread on the side of the shelves that we wanted to attach to the ironing board. We did this so the shelves would be extra sturdy in case we wanted to use them to hold the laundry soap or something heavy. The shelves were clamped and screwed to the board. Look how well those holes hid the screw heads!!
Adding a Design
I decided at the last minute to add a stencil using my Silhouette Cameo just to give it a little extra something special.
When I purchased my Silhouette Cameo, I never thought that I would use it as much as I have. But now, I use it for everything, including my grandkid’s clothes!
But for now, I’m going to use it for this project of mine. 😊
I’m using vinyl that I purchased from Amazon but you can also use cardstock or contact paper for a stencil. Just use tape to secure it to the ironing board. You definitely don’t want the paper sliding around as you try to paint.
Line up the stencil and lay it down onto the board. Using a foam brush, dab the paint onto the board. Don’t brush it on because it will bleed through and you won’t get the nice crisp edges on the design. Less is more on your first coat. Barely use any paint and dab it. After that coat is completely dry, go ahead and use more paint to get it the consistency that you want.
When I peeled up the stencil, the design was a little too bright for my taste so I used a little bit of the stain and barely brushed it onto the stencil. This darkened it up really well and made it more of a vintage look that I was going for.
We purchased a few laundry related items from flea markets that we visited to complete the look and here is the finished project!! I love how it turned out. 😍