After all these years, and after almost every single one of my quilts have been put on a design wall, stared at and then shuffled around, I am FINALLY sharing how I made my design wall. And how you can do it too!
Let’s dig in!
What is a design wall?
A design wall is usually made with batting or flannel. It hangs on your wall. You can lay out your quilt blocks on it, rearrange them. Honestly, it’s just a convenient and tidy way to look at your work during the lay out section of quilt making.
You don’t have clean your floors before laying them out. You don’t have to strain your knees or back just to get a look at what you’ve done so far. And it is a really, really pretty bonus to any quilt maker’s studio/room.
Before you go and search on Amazon for design walls, let me tell you that you do NOT want those kind. You want to make this thing yourself.
And of course that’s annoying and you don’t have time for it, because there are quilts to be made and a thousand other things to do, BUT making it yourself will get you a MUCH BETTER design wall.
My very first design wall was a piece of batting stretched out and tacked onto the wall. It worked! But looked a mess. Messes overwhelm me and take my attention and focus away from all the things I’d rather be doing.
And so I made a more sturdy version…
Supplies to make a design wall
- These foam core boards (or any foam core boards) – Buy the biggest your budget will allow. The bigger they are the easier time you will have making this thing.
- Box tape
- Cotton batting – I like Warm & Natural. It really needs to be cotton! The blocks naturally adhere to it with no need for pins or tape. Polyester or even a cotton blend doesn’t work as well. Plus, cotton batting is nice and tidy, smooth and flat, all the good things! You’ll need to know the size of your design wall before purchasing batting.
How To Make it
You’ll have to do your own math on this. The amount of foam core boards you use will be based on the amount of space you have for the design wall.
I have two design walls in my own studio. One that is just huge and then a smaller one as well. You never know when you’ll need more than one. I’ve seen people with movable design walls, and for those types you can find a piece of foam core that is much bigger at your local home improvement store.
I’m not a fan of them just hanging around on the floor though, so I’ve nailed mine to the wall.
You either need a very large space to make your design wall or you may need to take this outside. It’s a bit of a pain to make, I won’t lie.
Once you have the right amount of foam core boards you need lay them out the same way you would lay out quilt blocks. These foam core boards here are 32″x40″. So if you layed them 3 across and 2 down, you’d have a really decent design wall foundation.
Use the box tape to tape them together. Tape 2 together at a time, right where they join. You are taping the seam! Then tape and tape and tape. Once you have one side all taped together, flip the whole thing over and tape the joining/seams on that side too.
This whole thing can be a bit bulky and hard to maneuver. Stay with it!
Once you are all taped up, lay your batting flat on the floor, same as you do when you baste a quilt. Layer the foam core board on top of it. Fold the batting around to the back side of your foam core and tape it. Use LOTS OF TAPE! The more the better.
Once you have the design wall made, nail it into a wall.
My brother got me some styrofoam insulation boards at Home Depot. Big as a piece of plywood and easy to cut to size. I then covered with batting.