This post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you when you make a purchase after clicking these links. Read more about affiliate links here.
The following post was originally published on the Quilters Candy blog on February 7, 2023. NOTE: The giveaway mentioned has CLOSED, but the DIY Cutting Table With Batting Roll Storage instructions are still available at the links throughout this post.
I know all too well how hard it is to find inspiration when your space is a mess and your cutting surface is too small to let your creativity wander. So, I decided to step away from my sewing machine for a few hours and pick up a drill!
Here’s how I made my own cutting table — including a 4’x6’ surface, 16 cubby holes, and batting roll storage — with no carpentry skills or specialized tools. (Make sure you read to the end for a giveaway from The Warm Company worth $450!)
(UPDATE: The giveaway has closed, but the DIY Cutting Table With Batting Roll Storage instructions are still available.)
The Problem with a Temporary Cutting Table (or, When a Folding Table Just Won’t Cut It)
About a year ago, our family moved to a new house with a bonus room. (We call it the “Bloom Room” since it’s the place I go to let my ideas grow.) I wanted to start sewing immediately, so I just used a few folding tables as a temporary setup. My fabric, tools, and scraps ended up in plastic Hefty bins and empty Huggies boxes.
Over the next year as I launched Sew Worthy Mama and grew my quilty business, it was just more convenient to keep using the “temporary” setup — even though my storage “solution” was more of a problem and my cutting surface was too small, too flimsy, and too low for hours of quilting.After a while, I realized I needed to take my sewing space as seriously as I’m taking my business.
Finding Cutting Table Designs That Would (Not) Work for Me
I found a few DIY cutting table ideas online. Some designs had batting roll storage, but used IKEA furniture. (The closest IKEA to me is still four hours away, so that was out. Don’t even get me started on their idea of “shipping”…)
Other designs used cube shelves from Walmart, but were too small and lacked the batting storage I needed.
And almost all cutting table plans required a solid-core slab door for a table top, which was impossible to find in a large enough size without grooved panel designs on the surface. Not ideal…not even practical.
So — as with most inspired ideas — I knew I would have to figure it out for myself.
My husband and I spent several weeks thinking through several designs. But eventually, we found a way to turn two store-bought cube shelf units, three pine panel boards, and a few other basic supplies into the cutting table of my dreams! And all for under $400! (I mean, the giveaway at the bottom is worth more than that…)
How to Build a Cutting Table without a Skill Saw…or Sawing Skills
I’m a sewer, not a sawyer — and neither is my husband. We already owned a second-hand drill, but that’s about it.
I didn’t want to invest in specialized tools for a one-off project, and I definitely didn’t want to spend time learning how to use them. (There’s too much quilting to be done!) So, we were determined to keep this beginner-friendly.
We also don’t own a truck, so anything we bought had to be small enough to fit in our RAV4 with a toddler in a car seat in the back.What gave us the most trouble in design was figuring out how to support the weight and bulk of the batting roll. We finally settled on attaching a few simple planks for legs and cross braces — cut to length at your neighborhood Lowe’s. The design both secures the legs on one end of the table and holds the batting roll in place with a dowel rod.
(If you’re not interested in working with a large roll of batting, this area also doubles as a large creative desk space – just forget the dowel rod and pull up a chair!)
The bulk of the cutting table is actually two Better Homes & Gardens 8-cube shelf units from Walmart, which is one reason it was so easy to build. They come flat-packed and are available in a few different colors – black, gray, brown, and white – to further customize your look.
For the table top, we simply stained and attached three pine panels together to create a 48”x72” surface, screwed the top onto the cube-shelf “legs,” and added the batting roll storage by making support legs and braces, as I mentioned earlier.
Drilling Down and Screwing Up: Custom Cutting Table Takeaways
We learned a few dos and don’ts along the way that will save you time and frustration.
For example — as many crafters likely already know — masking tape is your best friend! You can use it to mark your drill bit for the depth of your pilot holes. That will keep you from drilling through your beautifully smooth new table top accidentally. You can also use masking tape to protect surfaces from scuffing when drilling too close to your cube shelf or stained wood.
We did not have that level of foresight for every part of the process, though.
I was afraid I might lose a finger while holding the boards steady across the makeshift cube-shelf “saw horses” while my husband drilled the holes for the dowel rod. The 1½” bit was so big and unsteady that it jumped off the board and danced down it, leaving the wood with a little scratch and me with a little heart attack.
We realized after the fact that we should have used a hole saw rather than a large drill bit and should have waited until the end when the board is firmly fastened to the legs — so there’s no need for a quilter’s hands to be near the business end of a power tool!
I’ve made all the mistakes, done all the math, and taken all the extra trips to Lowe’s — so you don’t have to!
(Oh, and did I mention we made this while I was 33 weeks pregnant?! So, yeah, if I can do this, you totally can!)
Bonus Features of This Cutting Table Design
The cutting table is even better than I’d hoped. We built it upside down, so it was a little hard to see what I was getting until the very end. When we finished and flipped the table rightside up, it was such an exciting reveal!
The storage in this table is incredible! In the end, I had batting roll storage, sixteen 13” cubes for fabric, tools, and anything-else storage, and interior room for FOUR 72-quart Hefty bins for seldom-use storage. We didn’t even plan for that, but what a great surprise!
With the help of a few Command hooks, I finally have a way to store and see all my quilting rulers.
I also took the opportunity to make a simple, cute curtain to hide the opening to the interior storage between the two cube shelves. It hangs from a short tension rod and could easily be changed out for the season or a new mood.
The best part of this table is that I TRIPLED my previous cutting table surface size from 24”x48” to 48”x72”. Now, I can easily measure and cut batting and yardage, lay out garment pattern pieces, baste throw size quilts without crawling on the floor, and so much more!
One last bonus feature… This table makes a gorgeous backdrop for photos. I have struggled to find pretty surfaces with folding tables and old carpet being my main options. Having this large, rich, dark-stained pine table top is definitely going to up my Instagram game!
My bonus room is so much tidier and prettier now — which I know will inspire even more creativity!
Batting Roll Giveaway Details
(UPDATE: This giveaway is closed.) The Warm Company and I are giving away a 90”x40”-yard roll of Warm & White quilt batting. I designed my cutting table with this exact roll of batting in mind because it is my absolute favorite. I use it in all my quilts!
Here’s what you need to know:
- To enter, sign up for my email list.
- You must have a continental U.S. shipping address to win.
- Only one entry per person.
- The winner will be announced on 2/17/22 at 9am CST.
- I will contact the winner directly from sewworthymama[at]gmail.com. (Be aware of scams. Do not give your information to anyone else.) The winner must respond to sewworthymama[at]gmail.com within 48 hours to claim the giveaway prize. After 48 hours, if there is no response, the winner will forfeit the prize, and I will contact an alternate winner who will also have 48 hours to respond, etc.
- The 90”x40”-yard roll of Warm & White batting will ship to you directly from The Warm Company.
- This giveaway is administered and offered by Sew Worthy Mama and sponsored by The Warm Company. Quilters Candy is not responsible for the giveaway.
You’re going to love this batting…especially on your new cutting table!
(UPDATE: The giveaway is closed, but the DIY Cutting Table instructions are still available.)