Today I’m pleased to share a DIY IKEA sewing table tutorial showing you how to make a custom sewing table from your INGO dining table. It’s a lot easier than you think! If I can do it, you can do it.
Please read through the entire instructions before beginning this project so you get a good overview of what we’ll be doing. It’s sometimes easier to see photos of the later stages of the project in order to understand the earlier steps.
If you’ve just bought your INGO, make sure to fully assemble it before beginning this tutorial. Later in the project we’ll be removing the tabletop but you need the table fully assembled to start. Just follow the always-easy-to-understand IKEA assembly instructions and let’s begin!
Disclaimer: I don’t endorse the brands pictured above and have no knowledge regarding any of their potential defects or safety issues.
- Ikea INGO or other dining/kitchen table with a rail under the tabletop (this tutorial is not for Ikea tables where you pick a top piece and legs separately –you need that rail underneath in order to attach the support beams that will hold your machine).
- 1 board to use as a shelf on which your machine will sit under your table. Must be at least 2 inches longer and wider than your machine. I have a Janome MC 6600P and used a 12” wide, 21” long shelf left over from our new Ikea kitchen cabinets. I left it 12” wide and just cut it to the proper length.
- 1 wood 2×2. It needs to be at least twice the width of your table (if you’re using the same table as me you’ll need one that’s at least 52” long so you can cut it into two 26” long pieces).
- Safety goggles (DUH)
- Medium and fine grit sandpaper
- Wood filler
- Miter or hand saw (to cut your 2x2s to size)
- ¼” drill bit
- Countersink bit
- Mini Kreg Jig Kit
- 4 1 ¼” wood screws
- 4 bolts (4” long, ¼” diameter) –it’s best to use bolts that have threading at least halfway up the length of the bolt, since you’ll be using these bolts to get your shelf to the correct height.
- 8 washers
- 8 nuts
- 4 bolt caps
Place your sewing machine on top of the table and find a spot where you feel it’s comfortable for you to sew. My machine is about 4.5” from the front edge and about 17” from the left edge.
Trace the outline of your machine onto your tabletop. If you’d like room for your cords to tuck underneath, make sure to account for that bit of extra space when you’re tracing. If you have an acrylic extension table, make sure you trace around it as well if you want it to remain attached to your machine.
Carefully cut along your traced line with your jigsaw to create the hole in which your machine will fit. It helps to have someone holding the table still for you as you cut. Go slowly, especially around the corners. It takes some finesse to get nicely rounded corners (however, some sewing machines have square edges, in which case you’ll be cutting a perfect rectangle). This was my first time using a jigsaw and my corners were far from perfect!
Now insert your machine to see if it fits snugly in the hole you just cut. Mine didn’t fit right away so I had to sand the edges down a bit more and kept inserting my machine and sanding the edges until it fit (which, with a 25-pound machine, was quite a workout!). Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit on the first try –your tracing lines can be tough to get perfect so consider your initial hole to be a starting point (unless you are an expert tracer and jigsawer). 🙂
Once your hole is the right size and you’ve made sure your machine fits snugly, sand all the cut edges, first with a medium grit sandpaper to take care of the really rough parts and then with the fine grit to get it smooth and flat. The hole I cut splintered a bit in some areas. I removed the splinters and filled those spots in with wood filler, let it dry completely per package instructions, then sanded those areas smooth as well until I got a nice, flat surface with no splinters or gashes.
Next, flip your entire table over and measure the distance between the front and back rails. (If you’re using the same INGO table as me, it should measure 26”.) Cut your 2×2 into two pieces the same length as the distance between the rails and check their placement to make sure they fit snugly in between the rails.
Now trace a line a couple of inches from each short side of your jigsawed hole (the line will be parallel to the short sides). You’ll use these lines later as a guide to attach your 2x2s (which, by the way, are NOT 2 inches by 2 inches! I learned that “2x2s” are actually 1.5” x 1.5” –how confusing, right?!).
I didn’t make any exact measurements here; I simply used the width of my level as my guide. The only real rule is that your line must be at least 2 inches from your hole in order to accommodate the width of the 2x2s (yes, the not-actually-2-inches-by-2-inches 2-by-2s).
Whip out your NIFTY kreg jig kit, clamp it securely to your 2×2 (hint: use a paint stirrer on the underside so your clamp doesn’t dig into the 2×2), attach the drill bit that comes with the kit and use it to drill pocket holes into each end of both of your 2x2s. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS that come with the kit to make sure you’re clamping the kreg jig the proper distance from the edge. The length of the screws you use dictates the distance the kreg jig must be attached from the edge. Ours will need to accommodate 1 ¼” screws. You should now have 4 pocket holes!
Next, line up the outer edge of your 2x2s with the lines you traced on the underside of your table and attach your 2x2s to the front and back table rails using the 1 ¼” wood screws through the pocket holes we just made. I must say, making and using pocket holes will make you feel LEGIT.
Once your 2x2s are attached, mark where the 4 bolts will go that will hold up the shelf with your sewing machine. BE CAREFUL NOT TO MARK THEM TOO CLOSE TO THE FRONT EDGE OF YOUR TABLE, AS THAT’S WHERE YOUR POCKET HOLE SCREWS ARE. I marked about 3 inches in front and behind my machine hole. (I apologize for the lack of photo for this part.)
Next, unscrew and remove JUST your tabletop from your table and set it aside. Everything else (the table legs, the rail around the perimeter, the 2x2s) should remain intact. You are JUST removing the table top so you can install your bolts, which will be countersunk into the 2x2s.
Attach your ¼” drill bit and drill 4 holes all the way through your 2x2s, at the spots you marked previously (you’ll notice that the mark in my photo is NOT where I’m drilling the hole. That’s because the first time I drilled at my mark, I hit the wood screw attaching my 2×2 to the rail! Hence the disclaimer above about making sure your marks aren’t near your wood screws! Trial by fire, folks.).
Now attach your countersink bit and drill sink holes into the top of the 4 drilled holes you just made. The countersink bit only goes about ½” inch deep so that your bolts, when inserted, are flush with the top of your 2x2s but do not go all the way through. Test that your bolts fit by sliding them through the holes you just made and ensuring that their tops are nicely flush with the top of your 2x2s. You should be left with a flat surface on which to reattach your tabletop. Remove the bolts and set them aside for now.
Now turn your table base upside down, setting it on top of the shelf you’ll be using to hold your machine (mine in the picture has NOT been cut to its proper length yet, which is why it looks too long).
Line up your shelf about ½” past each 2×2 and use the 4 holes you just made in the 2x2s as a guide to begin drilling those same holes into your shelf (it helps to have someone holding your table and shelf steady as you do this). This will ensure that the holes in your 2x2s and the ones in your shelf line up perfectly for the bolts that will be holding them together. DON’T DRILL ALL THE WAY THROUGH YOUR SHELF AT THIS POINT. RATHER, DRILL LITTLE PILOT HOLES, THEN REMOVE YOUR SHELF FROM UNDER THE TABLE AND PLACE IT ON A STURDY SURFACE TO FINISH DRILLING THOSE 4 HOLES ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Put your shelf aside.
It’s time to put the table back together!
First, place your bolts through the holes you made previously so that the top of the bolts are pointed up, and the threads are hanging underneath your table. Again, the tops of your bolts should be flush with the surface of the 2x2s, thanks to the countersink holes we drilled earlier.
Hold the bolts in place so they don’t slip out, and carefully flip the table back over onto the tabletop. Reattach the tabletop to your [revamped!] base per IKEA’s original assembly instructions.
Once you’ve reassembled your table and place it right side up, it should basically just look like a table with a hole in the top. It’s only upon looking underneath that you’ll be able to see your masterful carpentry 🙂
Finally! Let’s attach the shelf upon which your machine will live.
Your bolts will now be hanging down underneath your table. Mount the shelf by assembling in the following order for each bolt:
NUT –> WASHER –> SHELF –> WASHER –> NUT
You’ll notice that my bolts in the picture are a BIT too long. The ones I used on my table are actually ½” longer than the ones I recommend in my supplies list, so if you buy them per the supplies list you should be good to go. I’ll probably cut these down or disassemble my table and replace them with 4″ bolts one of these days, but for now my too-long ones aren’t proving to be a problem.
(For an ultra-stable shelf, we’re securing nuts on each side of it rather than just underneath it. This adds some extra tension to keep your nuts from loosening from the shaking that occurs while you sew.)
Once you’ve installed the shelf by assembling the nuts and washers for all 4 holes in the order listed above, place your machine on your shelf and simply tighten or loosen the nuts until your machine is sitting at a height that is flush with the surface of your table top.
Put bolt caps on the bottoms of your bolts, especially if you have kiddos! You really want to protect your littles from hitting the bolts if they decide to play underneath your table. If you can’t find caps the size of your bolts (I had a hard time), I would try sticking some cotton balls on the ends and covering them with duct tape to provide some cushion and protection.
Now set aside your machine, pull your cords up through the hole, and place your machine back on the shelf.
Plug in your cords, turn on your machine, and put the pedal to the metal! You’re finished!
You’ll notice I painted my table as well. Here’s the tutorial I followed to a tee for the paint job.
Looks a lot nicer than those overpriced, plastic sewing tables, eh? It’s cheaper, uber chic, and you get the privilege of saying you made this custom sewing table with your own two hands. 🙂 Win-win-win.
ENJOY, and be sure to leave me a comment here or e-mail me if you make this table yourself using my tutorial. I’d love to hear your experience and see the finished product!
Also, please visit Carrie’s blog and give her some love. When I came home from buying my precious Janome with a picture of the shop’s expensive custom tables fresh in my Droid, hers was the first tutorial I came across that gave me the confidence to say “You know what? I can do this, too!”
HOT TIP (for those with a front-loading bobbin):
Here’s a helpful comment by someone who made this table for their Bernina:
I have a front-loading bobbin on my Bernina so I ordered a Sew Steady acrylic template made to fit my Bernina and just traced around the template for the opening on top of the table. To change the bobbin, all I have to do is pop out the template (which sits on top of a tiny wood ledge that I installed 1/4″ below the opening).