I’ve recently moved house and it’s time I adjusted my sewing goodies to their new digs. As part of this I’m upgrading my design wall, so while I’ve written about the virtues of a design wall and how to use a design wall before, today I thought I’d share a bit more about how to make one.
There’s a few options to explore depending on what you need so I’ll talk you through the different variations that I’ve had as my quilting has developed over the last few years.
The quickest, simplest and easiest design wall is a piece of polar fleece or extra-fuzzy flannelette that you can drape over a chair, table, curtain rod and hold in place with some safety pins or bull-dog clips. I find that a piece at least 1m or 1yd long is ok for just checking how the pieces within a block look but if you want to see how blocks and borders fit together then 1.5m or 1 1/2yds is better as it gives you enough room to see a few large blocks and multiple borders at once. This simple, portable, squashable type design wall is good to take to classes, if you only quilt occasionally, or if you’re limited or sharing space.
You can see another simple alternative here from Pauline’s Journal Working on the Quilt Blocks that is essentially a sheet, over a pole and hung from hooks or over a book case or wall.
The next option I went to is the semi-permanent design wall which is essentially a piece of heavy cardboard roughly 1-1.5m/1-1 1/2yd square and at least 1/8” thick, and a length of wadding another 20-30cm/1ft longer than the cardboard. You then cover
the cardboard with wadding and staple-gun the wadding to the cardboard. To get the wadding to stay stuck to the cardboard, lay in on the floor, spray the wadding with spray-adhesive and then carefully press the cardboard onto the wadding. Once the glue is dry, turn the wadding over the edge of the cardboard and staple it down. You can lean this one up against a wall, put some bulldog clips on the top and use these to hang it on picture hooks (as you can see in the photo, I also added an old curtain rail to the back to keep it straight which was also held on with the bull-dog clips too). The good thing about this type is that it is flat, it is still thin enough to store behind a cupboard or under a bed and big enough to still be useful.
A word of warning on staples and clips though…they scratch walls! So either make sure your staples and hidden enough in the wadding that they don’t reach the wall or cover them with felt. As you can see from the photos below, I ended up tying scraps of white fabric over the clips where they touched the wall which then stopped the wall suffering from use.
My next step is to upgrade to the framed design wall. Essentially the principle is the same as the semi-permanent design wall in that it is a surface covered with wadding, only with this one you use a picture frame, painting canvas or similar to attach the wadding to. I found a ready-made frame at a second-hand store that I am using and you can see from the pictures below how it turned out. To hang it on the wall I put two screws in the wall and just sat the inner edge of the frame on the screws (note you may need wall plugs as well is there is not a stud where you want to put the screws in).
So once you figured out which type of design wall suits you best get cracking and make one. It’s easy and inexpensive to make and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one.