Dressmaking, Featured, How To
Make A Pleating Board

Make A Pleating Board

How To : Make Perfect Pleats with a Pleating Board

After working on a few pleating projects (including the pleated Kate dress) I started to wonder how I could make the pleating process easier. Measuring those pleats, pinning them down and ironing them just to find they weren’t quite right was getting to be really frustrating. So it was around that time the light bulb above my head switched on and I had my Dragons Den moment (or not quite because this isn’t an original idea – boo) – I needed a template to run the pleats through! Bingo.

After a couple of attempts, I got quite a good at churning these things out and heres how you can do it too -



Strong spray adhesive = £4.99 Long ruler
Lining paper = £1.19 Pen
Scrap material = free Scissors
Iron and ironing board
Big table

materials needed

  • Cut a length of lining paper to your desired length.

I cut mine at 1 metre but you could go longer or shorter depending on what you’re making.

  • Mark the pleat folds along the sides of your lining paper.

Now you’ll need to make a decision on what size you want your pleats to be when finished. In these pictures I’ve used 35mm:20mm as my measurements. This means the pleat will look like a nice medium sized pleat – think gym skirt.

Allow for approx 2mm difference as your pleats won’t be the exact same lengths as your board.

marking the pleats

  • Lightly score a line along every fold.

This means, join up your marks and run a pair of scissors across just to make life that little bit easier when you come to fold the pleats. Scissors are perfect as they are not too sharp – just watch your pinkies!

scoring the pleats

scored pleats

  • Fold the scored lines in opposite directions to make the zig zag pleat formation.

Now this is the tricky bit. I used the edge of a table to find the score line and make sure the fold was completely in line. It’s easy to fold the paper in the wrong place or fold it in the wrong direction so be patience – it’s anti inflammatories worth spending extra time on this part.

pleated paper

  • Gather your paper pleats and iron the folds down.

Sounds easy enough right? No! Those pleats will not want to be gathered! Take your time, then when you’ve got them all in your hand get ‘em ironed in to place on the hottest steamiest setting you have.

pleated paper

  • Glue one side of your gathered pleats to a sheet of material.

I’d advise using a strong carpet glue for this bit. You could use PVA but this would wet the paper and take a long to dry – with you pressing down…far too time consuming. I used a heavy duty spray adhesive (cost £4.99 from haberdashery shop) that’s made for upholstery – does the job perfectly! It’s not wet, really easy to spray on both the paper and the material, no chance of the two surface becoming unstuck and it does not react to heat.

I’ve used some material that I’ve had folded up for years and will never find a project for, but it’s nice to use something interesting to give your pleating board some personality. When it’s glued, cut away the excess material. Then iron the life out of it until you are happy the the pleats are nice and sharp.

Apologies for lack of photography on this section (was far to involved to remember to take pictures!). You can view this section in the video below at 4:10 s.

strong adhesive spray

  • Tuck the material you wish to pleat into the paper folds and iron once in place.

Use a ruler or credit card to make sure the fabric is tightly tucked into the pleating board.

creating pleats

ironing pleats

  • Bend the pleating board to release the pleats and enjoy!
Voila! How easy was that? Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

pleated fabric

end of the pleating board

reverse of the pleating board

While your at it, why not make a few more pleating boards with varying sizes of pleats – it’ll be worth it the next time you want to make tiny tiny pleats for that urgent dress! Good luck!

multiple boards for different sizes of pleats

Nicole @ beaufrog

Related Posts


  1. Carmen Majail

    September 16, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Thank you!


  2. Steph

    October 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    In the last picture what are the measurements for the other two pleat boards you created?


  3. Alexis

    October 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    This is awesome! I can’t wait to try it one of these days. I love your tuts. I hope to see more. Have a great day.


  4. Winnie

    April 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Amazing just what I was looking for, thanks.


  5. BeauFrog

    April 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for all your comments, glad to have helped :)


  6. Brenda Field

    April 15, 2012 at 10:48 am

    this is brillant have to make a kilt takes all the hard work out of trying to do each pleat by hnd and eye.


    • Annamarie

      May 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      I love this post… I know a LOT of love goes into making these.. Sebastian and I (he’s Japanese) made Gyoza, and I think diplmungs, etc, can be so versatile, but I love mine with insane amounts of shitake…Sebastian can fold them well, as for me… um.. I can’t sew a button so that should tell you something.. but piping cakes, etc… I can do… Looks super!


  7. Farnoush Irani

    May 3, 2012 at 6:46 am



  8. Rose Anderson

    August 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I am impressed. This takes all the hassle out of pinning pulling pleats, Thank you.


  9. Anne-Laure Goujon-Ramolet

    September 7, 2012 at 8:36 am

    amazing tutorial, it's going to be great the day I go for a XIXth century bustle dress with aaaaall those tiny pleated ruffles going down the edges of skirt… (kilometers of fabric pleating…)
    there seems to be an additionnal tip, the pleats can be stuck for everlasting, using vinegar (I saw it mentionned once, still looking for the "recipe", lol).


  10. Payal Saxena

    September 10, 2012 at 9:34 am



  11. Ann Eales

    October 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    What a geat idea, thank you for sharing,


  12. Stacy

    October 19, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Hi. I think your tutorial is fabulous but can you help me? I need to make sunray pleats that ate 1 inch at the top and 2 inches at the bottom for a circle skirt. Will this work for that? And if so what should my measurements be? Thank you!


    • Nicole

      October 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      I love a challenge! Let me have a think and I’ll work what measurements you would need on your board…


      • Stacy

        October 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm

        Thanks Nicole! Math is not my strong point and I am at a loss. This seems like it would make a hard project really simple if I can get the measurements right. Really appreciate it!


  13. jane

    February 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I first saw your you tube video last fall when I was making my MOTB dress for my dd’s wedding – was trying to make micro-pleats in polyester chiffon – nearly impossible, but I triumphed in the end!
    At the time I wanted to make one of your pleaters, but couldn’t locate “liner paper”. Evidently, it’s carried in the UK, but NOT so readily available in the US. At least not at the big box stores (Home Depot, Lowes) There IS something available on Amazon, but i would like to be a little more sure I’m ordering the right stuff. Do you have a brand name of the liner paper you used? What are the dimensions of the roll i.e. width by length? Is it pre-pasted? Or could you tell me if this stuff from Amazon is similiar to what you used? http://www.amazon.com/Brewster-A200-Unpasted-Wallpaper-20-5-Inch/dp/B002YC04RQ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1360264125&sr=8-5&keywords=wallpaper+liner or this one? http://www.amazon.com/Liner-Heavy-White-Prepasted-Wallpaper/dp/B000EMWO7G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360264125&sr=8-1&keywords=wallpaper+liner


    • Nicole

      February 7, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Glad the dress went well in the end :)

      Yeah, I didn’t realise at the time that although lining paper is really common over here in the UK, it’s actually a not that common worldwide. Who’d have known?!

      I think the paper in the first link is a close match but the reason I chose it was because it was cheap, fairly sturdy and theres enough of it on a roll to control the length of the board and make some mistakes.

      At the beginning I started with printer paper just to get my head around it, then stepped it up to something thicker for the final board.

      So I suppose you could use anything – parcel paper, mounting card, or even a light weight wall paper with the pattern facing inwards.

      I hope you find something that works for you – good luck


  14. Margarita Martinez

    March 9, 2013 at 4:22 am

    Oh my gosh I was about to blow like 60 plus bucks on a Pleat maker, not anymore thanks for showing how to make your own pleat board. Plus I want one for small pleats, medium, and big ones!


  15. Yasmine

    June 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Merciiiiii !


  16. edwige

    July 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Géniale idée !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you !!!!!!!


  17. Elizabeth

    September 9, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Thank you so very much for showing how to do the board. I’ve been wanting to make my granddaughter something with pleats, but just don’t have the nerve to tackle it. This board will make it soooo easy. Thank you again.


  18. Lucinda Lai

    December 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    What a great idea? Where did you get your ruler with the handle? What a great idea and it makes measuring so much easier!


  19. Noir Walker

    December 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    It is in the video made by Anniescrafts. Learning How to Make Pleats Using the Perfect Pleater on YouTube. 1 part white vinegar to 9 parts water. They use a special Rajah brand cloth which is a chemically treated pressing cloth, then pleat using a fabric that is at least 50% polyester. Wet the Rajah cloth in the mixture, wring out, then press the pleats and pleater board using the Linen setting. Allow to cool. The pleats are supposed to be permanent.

    The Learning to Pleat tutorial is using an expensive Clothilde pleater, but Beaufrog's looks at least as good! Thank you, Nicole of Beau Frog!!!!!!!!

    However, IMHO, the Learning to Pleat tutorial is worth watching as the technique demonstration is more complete on the Learning to Pleat tutorial because of the tip to start the pleating the other way around, pleats away from you, showing how to tighten the insertion using a ruler mentioned in the BeauFrog tutorial, and also the different types of material used–ribbon and fabric, scalloping, AND the showing of how to position the cloth so that the pleats can be stitched before removal from the pleater, etc. Hope that helps! Bonne Chance!


  20. Harrietst

    February 16, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Sorry for stupid question.

    I’m new and I want to ask you how to add an avatar?


    • nicole

      February 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      Not stupid – I had to go digging around to remember! It’s a bit daft but you have to register with http://en.gravatar.com and then most wordpress blogs will be able to show your custom avatar.


  21. Sara Rodríguez

    March 1, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Fantástico! Lo pondré en práctica! Me ha encantado. Gracias!


    • Tuesday

      March 10, 2017 at 7:09 am

      Thank you for the sensible criueqti. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such excellent info being shared freely out there.


  22. Tamara Taylor

    April 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Greetings! I was wondering if I might get permission to share this article (the link and a small description of the craft) with my Medieval Reenactment Group on our monthly newsletter. According to our policies, I must obtain permission with the author before distributing the link. If you would be so kind as to email me with your response, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time.


    • nicole

      April 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Dropping you an email now :)


      • Tamara Taylor

        April 28, 2014 at 7:56 pm

        I wasn’t sure if you were allowed to access my email or not, but it’s TTaylor6256 AT Gmail DOT com.


  23. Amy

    January 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

    how cool is that?? But I can’t stop laughing at the photo, I mean video bomber. Ha!


  24. blanca tapia

    July 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    muy buena el tutorial para hacer los pliegues , aunque esta en ingles me ayude con el traductor y fue de muchisima utilidad . muchas gracias


  25. donnie

    September 2, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Greetings from the USA. Thoroughly enjoyed your “Make A Pleating Board” video. Very well done. Very informative. Thank you so much.


  26. donnie

    September 2, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Oops. Forgot to mention your photo bomber. That was cute and funny. Loved it. Thanx again. Look forward to more of your videos and photo bombs. LOL


  27. Linda

    January 29, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Great tutorial. Who was the head that kept appearing at the door? I found myself watching for that, more than paying attention to the instructions! Funny!


  28. stafviper.xyz

    March 8, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Press the pleats while in the pleater board. If you are not using fusible tricot, you can use steam on them.


  29. Susana Costa-Medeiros

    July 1, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Fantastic idea! I’ve seen how houses of haut couture do it with the help of elaborate tools. You came up with a way to do it at home.


  30. Michele Rickitt

    April 10, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I’ve just discovered this video, thanks so much for sharing. Where did you get that fantastic metre ruler that you use in the video?


  31. sam

    May 24, 2017 at 2:54 am

    how do i calculate the markings for different sized pleats, . Great Great tutiorial as they charge the earth for them & are mostaly from usa so the postage costs are really high. I would like to in the future like to own a 1in, 1.5in 2in, & a 3in i could never afford to buy them so as a sewer making my ownmakes perfect sence.


  32. Teresa Hiscott

    July 23, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    If anyone is interested I have a “Princesse Pleater” for sale . . I am in the South of France. .. very good if not the best quality and quite simple to use. Pleats of divers sizes can be done too, I used it for pleating before smocking, my passion, but not possible now unfortunately. You can get in touch via – teresa.hiscott@sfr.fr.

    Si cela interesse q.q’un j’ai un ‘Princesse Pleater’ a vendre. J’l'utilisez pour plisser le tissus avant de faire des smocks, mais divers largeurs de plis peuvent etre fait. Il est d’excellente qualité. Vous pouvez me contacter au – teresa.hiscott@sfr.fr.


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