DIY Quilt Design Wall // Try it Tuesday

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I am more than a little excited to share my DIY Quilt Design Wall today. I feel like a “real” quilter now! In the past, whenever I am working on a quilt, I lay my blocks out on the floor and awkwardly crawl around as I change their order. Usually it is at night, dark, and bits of my blue rug peek through the blocks. Totally workable, but not ideal.

In the big room rearrangement of 2013, I got not only a dedicated sewing space in the living room/only room, but also a custom table for my machine, new sewing/book/project storage, a pressing station (more on that next week), AND a quilting design wall. I feel incredibly lucky, and  I guess my secret will be out–anyone who comes over will *know* that I’m a quilter.

There are a lot of tutorials out there (I included a partial list below); most people use insulation board for their design walls. However,  we drive a Prius, and a 4” x 8” foot piece of insulation board just wasn’t going to work. Also, Jayme was concerned that the flannel on that big of a board would stretch out over time and not look as nice.

Instead, he went to Home Depot and bought four 2” x 4” pieces of MDF. He drilled a hole in each corner, and we wrapped the boards in gray flannel.  I bought flannel sheets at Bed Bath and Beyond instead of flannel on the bolt–the quality seemed nicer.

We stretched the flannel very tightly across the front of the board and used a staple gun to attach the flannel to the back. We bought wide and shallow staples, and stapled the flannel to the MDF every inch or so. It might have been overkill, but we didn’t want a sagging design wall. Jayme used a tack hammer to pound the staples flat, and we covered the staples with duct tape.

Design Wall Detail

Easy, peasy. We made a small hole in the flannel with scissors and used these screws to attach it to the wall. The good thing is, it isn’t coming down any time soon!

Let me just say, a design wall is life changing. No more crawling on the floor, of course, but it makes me WANT to work on my works in progress, if only to change the decor of the room.

Some people cover their design walls in batting; I prefer flannel. I think it looks more finished (at least for my living room).  I used gray flannel because Kaffe Fassett, guru of color, uses gray on his design walls–something about white/cream distorting color, I believe.  I went with it.

Kaffe has new design wall specific flannel (gray and gridded)–a quick google search showed that Hancocks of Paducah has it in stock. Kind of cool!

Happy Sewing!

DIY Design Wall Tutorials

There are a number of tutorials out there for DIY Design walls, both permanent and portable ones, including these:

Sew Katie Did — I especially like the way Katie hung her boards–the screws look very professional.  Jacquie and Katie also talk about design walls in their great book, Quilting Modern
 Ellison Lane

Craft Buds

Oh Frannson!

Kaffe Fassett Design Wall Tutorial (scroll down)

Olive and Ollie

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  1. Lauren
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    It is best if you can run the design wall from floor to ceiling, and as wide as you can make it. If you don’t have a frame that large, simply put the warm and natural batting or flannel on the wall as is. This way you can make full sized quilts instead of just small ones.

  2. Pat (Sparky's Mom)
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations! A design wall is a “must” for me because 1) It is difficult for me to get down on the floor and 2) even more difficult to get up again and 3) the dog would sack out in the middle of everything, anyway.

    I love what you have up there right now.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! I think it’s one of those things that will quickly go from luxury to necessity status in my life!

  3. shawna
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful! That IS Beautiful

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! It makes me so happy to have it done and up! Now to finish the quilt.

  4. Posted December 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    It looks awesome in gray! I recently made a huge new design wall as well and it makes a world of difference 🙂

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      I totally agree. It makes me actually want to sew!

  5. Elizabeth Bolton
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    This is so great! The project you have up there is pretty exciting, too. Thanks for sharing the elements of your space. I am moving from a very small room to a much larger one after Christmas, so I’m eager to see how others are setting things up. And, I have a smaller design wall, flannel (I agree, the flannel is smooth, tidy, and effective) which has made a huge difference. I’ll double or triple it in the new, bigger room!!

  6. Posted December 4, 2013 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    I am one of the recently converted! I still have wadding tacked to the wall though due to being run off my feet with holiday prep (and it not being in my lounge!) Now I’m really tempted by the KF Flannel as a spring design wall project 🙂

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Wow! Now that is exciting. I hope you love your new space!

  7. Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I love it. I really like that you used gray! Right now, I have a white flannel sheet hanging from a curtain rod over the closet in my sewing room that I have to tape to the walls every time I’m using it…definitely NOT ideal, but it gets the job done…temporarily. When I get ready to do something more permanent. I’m definitely going to use gray!

  8. Jenn
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    So excited for you! A design wall changed my life (mainly my kids quit stepping all over my pieces on the floor and I could quit taking a billion pictures so I could remember how to put my quilt back together). And you did it right, mine is just batting pinned to the wall 🙂

  9. Susan Clay
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I love your design wall. I’m having a studio built, at the moment. I ordered the Kaffe Fasset flannel as soon as I read your blog. I just hope I can keep the lines straight when I staple it onto the boards!

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      I hope you enjoy your studio! The Kaffe Fassett flannel is just too cool. Happy Sewing!

  10. Bea
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    i hope you meant 2’x4′ (even with 4 of them, 2″x4″ would make a wimpy little wall!) — love your outcome and i’m inspired to make myself one — i am renting, so foam might be the better option for my situation 🙂 b

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      ha ha! good catch! Wouldn’t that be hilariously tiny? Happy sewing!

  11. Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Aren’t they great! Life changing for sure;)

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