When I was creating my sewing room (I've decided to call it a “Sewing Annex” because it sounds a bit more posh, don't you think??)
I wanted a cutting table that was a good height (so my lower back doesn't start complaining) and has lots of storage.
I scoured the web for options and while there were many, I felt a bit like Goldilocks. They weren't exactly what I wanted in regards to size, storage and/or price so I decided to create my own!
Here is my DIY cutting table and I LOVE IT!
It's 52″ long, 24″ wide and 37″ high.
I'm a huge fan of IKEA, especially for my art studio and craft storage, so that's where I started.
I saw different DIY options online that involved buying, cutting and finishing wood for the table top and I wasn't a fan of that idea so I was committed to figuring out something that worked without that added layer of effort.
There are two cube shelf options that can work from IKEA: The KALLAX and the FLYSTA. The KALLAX system has a lot more add-on options from fabric bins to drawers to door but at 62″ long when you turn it on it's side it was too big for my space. For that reason I chose the FLYSTA which is 52″ long.
My instructions are obviously for what I made but they will give you enough ideas and inspiration that you will be able to figure out how to make something amazing with the KALLAX system if you a bigger table.
To create the perfect height for my cutting table I decided to raise the tabletop with 6″ pipe and flanges. It not only gives me the height I want but also creates another level of storage space and adds a fun, industrial look! You can find the pipes and flanges in the plumbing department of a home improvement store. (I got mine at Home Depot). I used two 10″ pipes to raise the shelf at the end of the table above the main table area.
I'm 5'6″ and have found this height table to be perfect – no more leaning over to cut fabric that my lower back hurts! If you are a bit shorter you can use 4″ pipes to make your table a bit lower.
Ready to make your own?
STEP 1: Create the Base from two FLYSTA Shelf Units
- Assemble the shelf units per IKEA instructions.
- Place them on their sides (so they are long and not tall) and connect with metal plates. I used 4 in. Zinc Plated Mending Plates. Be sure to use Particleboard Screws so they hold well. I used four – two across the bottom of the outside cubes and two on the underside of the top cubes.
Step 2: Clean and prepare the pipes and flanges.
I suppose it shouldn't have been a surprise that pipes and flanges designed for plumbing would be greasy on the outside – but it was! I searched for tips to clean them and found a video saying to degrease them with acetone (talk about stinky and toxic!). Thankfully I texted a friend about my dirt woes and she said, “Try Dawn dish soap – if it can get grease spills off penguins it should work for the pipes.” And it did!
Using Dawn brand is important – it's the best degreaser out there and you need all its power to clean the grease off the pipes and flanges! Wash in HOT soapy water and then dry and allow to air dry. Even with the best intentions you might end up with a few rust spots on your pipes and flanges – don't panic as the next step will clean that up and avoid future issues.
After you are done cleaning, rub Minwax Paste Finishing Wax on the pipes and flanges. The wax will seal the metal (previously sealed with grease) so they won't rust and so they are pretty with a little shine.
To be honest, these are still not perfect. I wouldn't store white bolts of fabric rubbing up against them right away. After a few days the wax hardens and you will no longer get any residue on your hands even if you really try – phew!
Step 3: Attach the casters, pipe & flange sets and tabletop
The casters not only add some height but also give me flexibility to move the table if I want to rearrange the room. For added support I put 6 casters on the bottom of my table – 4 in the corners and then two more in the middle, on either side. I used RILL Casters from but didn't notice that none of them lock so if I lean on the table it might move a little – if I had to do it again I would buy casters with the ability to lock at a home improvement store.
Once the casters are on, turn the unit so the casters are on the ground. Now you are ready to add the 6 pipe and flange sets to connect the tabletop to the base unit.
Connect the flanges to the bottom of the tabletop first. I put them 2″ in from both edges at the corners (quilting rulers come in handy to line them up!) and then two at the center of the tabletop, in the center.
Turn the tabletop right side up and place the flanges down on the shelf unit – lining up the end of the tabletop with one end of the unit. (The tabletop is slightly shorter than the shelving unit, which is why I added the raised shelf in the next step – it is SO HANDY!)
With everything lined up, mark the holes on the outside of the flanges and then connect with Particleboard Screws. I only did two screws / flange because I couldn't reach the inside holes and decided it was plenty sturdy as-is!
Step 4: Attach the shelf
The shelf will overlap the tabletop by about 1 1/2″ if you get an 8″ x 24″ shelf. I used 10″ pipes with the same flanges used for the tabletop to connect the shelf to the unit.
Attach the flanges to the shelf first, then turn over and attach to the shelf unit, lining up the end of the shelf with the end of the unit.
Step 5: Add Storage Bins
How you decide to use your new cutting table and storage space is completely up to you – get creative! Because your table is two shelf units wide you can have storage on both sides. If you leave the cubes open the are the perfect size to store bolts of fabric!
Here is what I used:
White KUGGIS Storage boxes with lids from IKEA (14.5 x21.25 x8.25″) – you can stack two per cube.
What a happy accident that I found plastic VARIERA bins from IKEA that fit perfectly between the top of the bookcases and the tabletop – I use them to store current projects and fabrics for easy access. (VARIERA – Box, high gloss white, 13 1/4 x 9)
11″ fabric cube bins from Target Because I preferred the size table I could create with the FLYSTA bookcases, the black fabric bins from IKEA were too big. (They fit the KALLAX shelf units which makes a slightly larger cutting table – decide what will work best in your space. The KALLAX shelving system also has doors and drawers you can add so if you have the space & budget, consider this slightly larger option.)
Have a happy & creative day! If you create your own and post it on social media – be sure to tag me, I'd love to see!
– Tara Reed
FROM A HOME IMPROVEMENT STORE:
- 6 swivel locking casters (wheels)
- 1/2″ black iron floor flanges (2 flanges / pipe)
- 1/2″ black iron pipe (I used six 6″ under the table top and two 10″ under the shelf) You can also choose silver or gray depending on the look you want.
- Minwax Paste Finishing Wax (Natural)
- 4 in. Zinc Plated Mending Plates
- #8 3/4″ Particle Board Screws
- Rubbermaid shelf – 8″ x 24″
- 11″ fabric cube storage bins
- Dawn Dish Soap
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