Friday, October 19, 2012

How To Customize An Ikea Table For Your Sewing Machine

Hi everyone.  This post is long-overdue!  I have promised many people a post on how we (ahem, my DH) took a $99 Ikea table and turned it into a customized sewing machine table.  Unfortunately, we didn't photograph the process, but I have taken lots of pics of the finished product so that I can try to describe it to you in detail.

Essentially, we bought a basic Ikea table (I think it is this one).  Then we bought a piece of unfinished hardwood that's about 3/4" thick and two pieces of 2"x3" (? maybe it's a 2x4 and I'm an idiot?).  Look in the scrap bin at your Home Depot because it really won't be seen.

The first thing I did was take off my accessory caddy and place my machine onto a large piece of paper.  Then, from straight above, I traced a pencil outline onto the paper.  I cut out the outline so that I basically had a paper footprint of my machine. 

At this point you need to think through how you will get your machine INTO it's hole.  Some machines have funky architectural aspects.  Mine, for instance, has a sloping sewing surface as well as a base that is bigger than the sewing surface level.  Because of this, I made my shape have a larger open right side so that I could slide my machine into it's slot.  This will make sense later in the post.

Lay your footprint paper onto the table surface and move it around to find the spot that works best for you.  Take into consideration how far back you like the machine from the front edge of the table, how much table space you prefer on the right vs the left of your machine, etc.  Once it's in the right spot, tape it down and trace a line around it onto the table surface.

Now the cutting begins!  Remember that it is very ok to cut your hole too small, but it is NOT OK to cut it too big.  Start by making a hole in the middle of your space with either a very large drill bit or a hole bit.  Then you can jigsaw out to your line and around your line until your footprint falls down.  Don't think about finishing this edge just yet!  There will probably be lots of trial and error before the final edge shape is ready to be smoothed with sandpaper.

At this point, slide or place your machine into the spot to see how it works.  Use a pencil to sketch onto the table where you need to cut or shave some more off.  Keep tweaking until you achieve the right hole.  Here is my machine footprint opening:

Next you need to build the shelf that will hold your machine.  Cut the 2x3's into two lengths that go from inside the front Ikea table skirt to inside the back skirt.  So when looking at the table from the front, these pieces are like rails that run from front to back under the table.  You can see the side of one below:

And a view from underneath shows it running parallel to the Ikea table's own support 1x1.  These 2x3's will be bolted in to the front and back skirts.

Once those are in, you will use screws with wing nuts to attach the machine shelf.  The reason we do it this way is so that you can use the wing nuts to adjust the height of the machine shelf to give you a perfectly smooth sewing surface:


Views from underneath:

Now, put your machine on the table:

Remove the accessory box:

And slide the machine into it's spot:

Et voila!

Now you are able to run your pedal cord and power cords underneath the table and out through the opening in the back of the shelf:


Your sewing surface is level and your cords are off the table!

I keep a stone jar of pens, pencils, seam ripper, seam guides, etc in the nook to the right of the machine.  This is also where I keep my accessory box with all of my presser feet and needles.

I'm sorry this is not really a useful tutorial.  I just wanted to illustrate how a $100 table can become a nice, sturdy sewing table customized to your own machine bed.  This was done in one night and one morning.  Let me know if you have any questions!  Thanks.
(BTW, the machine AND table in this post are available for sale right now.  The Viking Sapphire 870Q is $850 and the table is $150.  I am north of Atlanta, GA.)  


  1. Great job with the customized table. The photos of the bottom view really help a lot. And I love that your cords are not on the table/draping over the front of the table...I trip over mine constantly.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Chris. I just bought a new sewing machine and have been seriously thinking about how to make it level with my table surface. I think this is a REALLY helpful tutorial, even if you don't! All those pictures make a lot of sense.

  3. This is awesome! I bought an old sewing machine cabinet and hav been trying to figure out how to repair it to hold my machine. It needs an under shelf just like this!!

  4. This is superbly amazing, and I may have an adventure in my future, too! Nice Job to you and your DH.

  5. Hi! I just found this post! I have an Ikea table that I hope can be converted as you have above! The table fits perfectly in the room and looks great with all the other Ikea pieces. Question: is it difficult to change the bobbin with the sewing machine flush to the table? By the way, this tutorial was particularly helpful as I have the same machine! Thanks!

    1. I have a 2 Viking machines and I would think changing the bobbin would be easy as the machine seems to sit high enough to slide the plastic cover foreard--it is getting to the button to lower the feed dogs that would be a problem.

  6. I was so excited at seeing this post as I have the same machine and my husband is presently making my table. Just loved the machine table tidy with pincushion seen in the last photograph and would love the instructions if possible.
    Pat Fox

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  9. So great! How do you come up with these great ideas?!?!best espresso machine