By Kaelyn Angelfoot
What you will need to convert a home sewing machine to a quilting table are:
1. Insulation foam board (found at any home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowes)
2. Electric bread knife (to cut the foam)
The foam board is sold in 8' x 4' sheets, so if you pick some up make sure you have a way to get it home. I had to break the board in half along the score down the center and transport it as two 8' x 2' sheets.
When I got it home, I used the bread knife to cut one half sheet into two 2' x 3' panels. The excess 6" will stick off the back of the desk to give me a little extra surface area.
Next, I placed the sewing machine on the right side of the foam board, approximately where I wanted it to sit, and traced & cut out the outline of the machine's footprint. If I did anything wrong here, it was that the machine was set too far back on the table. Make sure it is a comfortable distance from the edge of the desk or you may find yourself overreaching when you quilt.
I layered the second piece of foam board underneath the first and traced the cutout. The I removed that nifty little sliding thingy on the left side of my machine and traced the new footprint onto the second piece of board, inside the original markings. I put X's where I did not want to cut.
Be careful with the bread knife. By the time I was done, mine was overheating and almost too hot to hold.
And, the end result:
Now I have a very large and even surface to quilt on! However, its not complete. The foam board was slightly warped, so I need to DAP the two layers together and put some weights on them, the end result will hopefully be a flat surface. Once that is completed, I will cover the entire thing with the clear high-gloss vinyl that I picked up. The vinyl is important because it allows the quilt to glide across the surface of the table with minimum friction. I also really don't like the pink, so I may try to cover it with some white or neutral toned fabric underneath the vinyl.
Total cost for supplies: $35ish. Plexiglass extension tables sold online and in stores are $50 - $100. Add a custom built extension table designed to your machine's specifications and we're talking $150 - $300 depending on size. (There is a company that does this if you are interested.) All in all, I think my version is a bargain. And I still have enough foam board left over to double my surface area should that become necessary.