Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quick tips for constructing a design wall

If you are new to quilting, a design wall is something that is very helpful. It's a place for you to lay out pieces or quilt blocks and try out arrangements before you sew them together.

A design wall is usually hung vertically on the wall. This works better than the floor for a few reasons:
  • You don't need to clean it first before you put fabric on it
  • Your pets can't "help" you with your small pieces of fabric
  • You can stand back and look at it to get a better idea of how your finished quilt will look.
  • (if you have a dedicated space for it) you can leave the design up for an extended period of time to tweak it.
I made my design wall for less than 40 dollars. it may have been much less, but it's been so long, I don't remember exactly how much I spent on it. But this is how I made it:

Material List
  1. Covering. You need some kind of material that your fabric will adhere to without damaging your fabric. I use flannel. To get the flannel in the size I wanted (relatively large), I purchased a queen-sized flannel bed set, which was cheaper than getting yard goods (that aren't wide enough anyway and would require sewing). I used the fitted sheet, so I still have the flat sheet to use as quilt backing (or batting) if I want later on.
  2. Board Material: You can use peg board or masonite that you can get at your local lumber or big-box home improvement store. This is sold in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets, which is plenty big enough for most purposes. Plus, it's not too expensive. In fact, you are probably going to have to cut it down some to fit it into the space you have for your design wall. You can cut this stuff with a jigsaw or circular saw.
  3. Brackets: You are going to need something to stick this on the wall. If you can find U-shaped brackets, get them. I bought L-brackets and bent them into U-shapes. I got 2 for the top and 2 for the bottom and the board rests inside them
  4. Duct tape, bungee cords or other fasteners to keep tension on the flannel.
  1. Cut the board to the proper size.
  2. Cover the front of the board with the flannel.
  3. Tape the flannel to the board on the back, or adhere the flannel using some sort of tensioning system in the back.
  4. Mark on the wall where you want your brackets to go.
  5. Bend your brackets to hold the design wall (if necessary)
  6. Screw the brackets into the wall. Make sure to screw them into studs or use molly anchors.
  7. put the board inbetween the brackets.
You are ready to use your design wall!

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