Finally I have a proper design wall in my sewing room! I’d been putting it off for ages, procrastinating on the idea of putting the quilt batting onto a proper board so that it is not so flimsy and makes my quilt pieces falls off so easily. Since I am cleaning up my space to get a new refreshed seeing room to get ready for the new year, I said to myself —it was time to get it done.
A design wall is a staple for a quilting studio, it can serves as a pretty wall to see and a useful one as you make your quilt.
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DIY DESIGN WALL
I went to the stationery shop to get 6 polystyrene boards (something similar to this) to make my own quilt design wall. You can also use foam insulation board that you can get from home depot or any home improvement stores. I knew I had to piece together with some duct tapes. I grab two rolls of duct tape thinking that it’ll be plenty. Boy I was wrong. You will need a lot of duct tape.
I wanted to reuse the cotton batting piece I had already hanging on that wall, so I removed it, cleaned it with a lint roller and hope that it will be the perfect size without having to trim the boards. You can use batting or flannel sheet for the cover of the design board, both should work pretty well to allow your blocks to stick on them.
Link to California King Size White Flannel HERE>
PIECING THE BOARDS TOGETHER
I started to piece together the boards with duct tape. For every seam, there’s duct tape along the seams all the way front and back.
But here’s the kicker: almost halfway through, I ran out of duct tape. Can you believe my luck? I was on the brink of frustration, tried all the other kind of tapes I have, but none works and sticky enough to hold things together. I was almost ready to abandon ship and run to the store. That’s when my trusty junk drawer became my hero. A hidden roll of duct tape emerged like a savior!
WRAPPING THE DESIGN BOARD
Then it was time to wrap the board with batting. I placed my batting on the board and realised the duct tape was showing on the front of the board through the batting. I had to cover the duct tape with some masking tape. Well, I hope it will help strengthen the bond anyway.
Another problem I encountered was that it turned out that batting I wanted to use was only a smidge larger than the pieced board and I say to myself, I’ll make it work. I had to pull slightly, and tape it the back side of the board. I had to pull it slightly and I ended up with a slight warp design wall but that’s okay. I’m sure it’ll ease in soon. Lol.
Here is how the back of the board look like. Not the prettiest, but the duct tape does it job. At least I got it done! The process was harder than basting a quilt and my back does hurt from all the taping!
HANGING THE QUILTING DESIGN BOARD
I have it hung up with the 3M command strips. I stick a few along the top side of the wall, and remove the other sticky side and with a little bit of pressure, I have it stuck on the wall. The whole design board is very light weight since it is made of polystyrene.
Once it is hung up right, I put more command strips along the sides of the board and I use a command hook for the base to hold the weight a little. It is so satisfying seeing it all neatly set up—way better than my old wall-hanging method. The front of the board is surely neater than the back! After all the delays and the battles with duct tape, I’m just so glad to be done with it. And you know what excites me the most? This fresh, clean look in my sewing space for all my quilting projects in 2024! It’s like a brand-new canvas waiting for me to dive into my creations.
Right now my design wall still has my Fall Quilt Project which I plan to finish up since my background fabric that I was short of has arrived. You can see more about that project here and how it looked like on a flimsier design wall at that time.
If you want to make one too, here is a simple instruction:
HOW TO DIY DESIGN WALL FOR QUILTING
- Insulating boards or polystyrene board (size according to your preference)
- Batting or wide flannel (slightly larger than the board)
- Duct tape or fabric adhesive spray
- Command strips for hanging
- Scissors or utility knife
- Measuring tape
- Prepare Your Workspace: Choose a clean and open area where you can work comfortably, ensuring there’s enough space to lay out the board and batting.
- Piece the polystyrene board together with duct tapes to make a large design wall. You can opt for a smaller one too without piecing the boards together.
- Cut the Batting: Lay the batting flat on the floor or a table, then place the insulating or polystyrene board on top of it. Ensure the batting extends beyond the edges of the board by a few inches on all sides.
- Attach the Batting to the Board: Start with one side of the board. Use duct tape or fabric adhesive spray to secure the batting to the back of the board. If using tape, apply it along the edges of the board, pulling the batting taut as you go. For fabric adhesive spray, apply it evenly on the board’s surface before pressing the batting onto it.
- Continue Attaching the Batting: Move to the opposite side and repeat the process, pulling the batting firmly to ensure it’s smooth and free of wrinkles. Repeat for the remaining two sides, pulling the batting snugly but not too tight to avoid warping the board.
- Trim Excess Batting: Once all sides are secured, trim any excess batting using scissors or a utility knife, leaving a clean edge around the board.
- Hang or Lean Your Design Wall: Depending on your preference, you can mount the design wall on the wall using hanging hardware or lean it against a flat surface to make a free standing design wall and use it as a portable design wall instead. However, you may need a thick foam board if you’re planning to make a portable design wall. The thin board are better as a permanent design wall that does not need to be moved around the sewing space. The thinner ones are fragile.
- Test Your Design Wall: Pin or arrange quilt pieces, fabrics, or designs on the wall to ensure it functions as expected. Enjoy your new design wall for quilting!
and I’ll give you a few more tips,
Make sure you
- measure your board and wall space before buying your boards and cutting your batting piece.
- have the batting larger by 2-4 inches on each sides.
- buy enough duct tapes
- baste the batting to the board first before turning to the back to secure it all with duct tape
- make it on a large standing surface if you can. But if you have to do it on the floor, stretch your body before you go for it and stop often to stretch out.
- have another person to help when you want to hang it up. The polysterene can be very fragile and you’ll need someone to hold the level tool to ensure it is straight on the wall.
It was so much fun and very satisfying to make my own design wall and ever since I have a design wall, it does help my quilt making process. I can put rows of quilt blocks up on the wall to see how I like the block placement or to spot any layout errors. It was worth going thought he easy way of hanging the batting first to see how useful it is before I did finally make the big design wall.
My quilt wall may not fit a whole quilt on it, but I can get a big part of the quilt and at least rows of quilt blocks together in a row to see how it fit.
Not ready for a large design wall? Try a temporary design wall instead.
If it is your first time to try out a design all, try a temporary one first. Either hang up a quilt batting, or a wide flannel or the flannel back of a vinyl tablecloth on the wall and see how you find it useful.
Or, you can try small portable design boards! For small portable design board that I use for quilt block designs, you can check that out here> These are easy to bring the tiny pieces from cutting table to the sewing table and ready to for me to chain piece on the sewing machine. I have many of those portable boards and thinking of making more!
Next, I will try and make one portable one soon as I always need extra space for design wall for all the projects I have at one time.
Till next time, I can’t wait to show you what will be up on this wall in the new year!