Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Design Wall

Need, Good to have and Desire are the categories of a Quilt Artist.  Today I will talk about Desire, the other categories we can talk about another day.

DESIRE - this is where I had the design wall that I always had mapped out for my studio.  Since our home is kid free I can start and leave a project knowing it will be the same upon my return.  As the patterns I made or use allowed for more improv, using a design wall has become more necessary to audition piece placement.  So I had to figure out how I wanted mine, I'm a planner.

Belonging to a quilt guild has many perks, some of them are the variety of knowledge and the willingness to share.  I asked the question online to the group and some friends.  The suggestions ranged from easy to do to a little more work.  Easy were using a flannel backed plastic table cloth on the wall or an old box from a refrigerator - genius! Each would work but I chose to use parts of suggestions from 2 other very experienced ladies of the WNYMQG, YouTube and an element I decided I wanted.  

I like to reuse/ recycle when possible so my husband found in the basement a good size piece of unfinished door molding, the necessary screws and washers.  Between my husband and son comparatively "Tim the Tool Man" only had a couple of tools - seriously.  Having the necessary tools I knew wouldn't be a problem.  

I purchased 
4 yards of heavy weight flannel for the fuzzy top, 40% off coupon at Joanne Fabrics
White batting  for a second layer - I want the wall to be as white as possible to keep the auditioned colors true. Another 40% off coupon
1 Sheet of 4' x 8' foam board - I had Lowe's cut it in half to fit into my truck @ no extra charge

We had
2 1/2" scrap strips of white fabric
80" of door molding 
6 - 3" Screws 
4 Washers
2 - 1" dowel rods ( from a past project)
White Duck Tape 
Blue painters tape
Razor cutter
Drill - drill bit and screw driver bit
Stud finder 
Tape measure

After cutting the flannel into two pieces 72"x 44" I sewed them together creating a piece now 72" x 87".  I added a 4" hem rod pocket to each of the 72" sides, top and bottom of my now new design wall.  To give it a more finished look I put a folded binding strip down each unfinished side edge. After I decided the placement of the design wall my husband put up the door molding, finding the studs, leveling the top and staying away from outlets, you don't want them under your foam board.  Once the first screw was set I slid the top pocket onto the molding, 2 screws hold it in place.  The flannel alone can be used to audition fabrics but I knew I wanted an under layer. 

It was time for part two.  
With my foam board currently in 2 pieces I needed to measured the appropriate size to fit under the flannel.  Once cut to size with the razor and ruler I put them together with white duck tape making a square measuring 67" The foam board was then covered with a layer of batting securing it to the back with painters tape. Hubby then secured it in 4 places with a washer and screw, the washer keeps the screw from working through the foam. 

Lastly it was my decision NOT to also attach the flannel to the foam board. My thought was A) the flannel is heavy adding weight, if I use the wall to create the quilt sandwich (layering the back material, middle batting and quilt top) it would be too heavy on the foam board.  B) eventually the foam board would have many holes in the same spots if I ALWAYS had to pin into the board, replacement would be more often than necessary.  Sometimes you just need to catch the flannel or simply place the fabric and it will stick.  This will also make it easier to clean the flannel in the event I get adhesive spray on it making the quilt sandwich.

To weigh down the flannel top I used the rod pockets in the bottom, sliding the dowel rods in.

First project on the wall- a monkey chevron baby quilt, so much easier to audition placement. 

Do you use a design wall?


  1. Are you saying that I would make a mess of your stuff? :) I was "helping!"

  2. No Sweetie, it means I am at a point in my life where my sewing is now in my private space not the dining room table.


Please leave me a message and share your thoughts! Messages make me smile! I will email you directly after I have read them.
Thanks for stopping by!