9 quilt design-wall ideas

Quilt design wall ideas

If you’re designing quilts, auditioning fabrics, or simply want to see how your quilt is coming along, a design wall is a great way to see a completed quilt top begin to emerge. Most of us have used a table or the floor to view the results of our sewing, but a design wall for quilting allows you to stand back (quite literally) and take a look at what’s happening as each block comes off the machine.

Using a quilt design wall
Pictorial fabric squares placed on a design wall, left; framing fabric added, right.

Not sure how to make a quilting design wall? No problem—it’s easy to learn! There are two types of design walls that you can construct: a portable or retractable quilt design wall, and a more permanent one. Portable design walls are great for quilt spaces that do double duty (such as the kitchen table or the corner of a bedroom). Some types are also perfect for classes and retreats. Permanent design walls are a valuable addition to long-term quilting spaces.

Below you’ll find nine ideas on how to make a quilting design wall. We’ve rounded up quilt design-wall instructions that take from five minutes to a few hours to carry out. Whatever your needs, you’ll find a solution that fits the time and space you have. Happy designing!

Portable Quilt Design Wall Ideas

Flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth 1. Try a tablecloth
Idea from Kim Brackett, author of
Scrap-Basket Beauties (image source)
If you don’t have a design wall, you can make a portable version by using the back of a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth. Just hang it over a door or tape it to a wall with painter’s tape.
2. Hang a flannel sheet
Idea from the
You Had Me at Bonjour blog

This quick design wall is made with a flannel sheet, which is hung with picture hooks. You can roll up and stow the sheet away with your quilt blocks still attached. Find the tutorial here.
Quilt design wall from You Had Me at Bonjour
From Mary Elizabeth Kinch--sew a flannel pocket 3. Wrap a board with a flannel pocket
Idea from
Mary Elizabeth Kinch, coauthor of Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts and Small Blocks, Stunning Quilts

Mary Elizabeth cut insulation board from the hardware store; then sewed a flannel pocket to slip the board into. She even made tidy box corners! See the full tutorial here.
4. Wrap a board with quilt batting
Idea from the
Oh, Fransson! blog

For a sturdy—but still portable—design wall, wrap insulation board with batting. Insulation board can be found at most hardware stores, and you can cut it to any size, big or small.
Oh Fransson--quilt design wall idea
From Sandra Kaye--trio of quilt design walls 5. Make a trio of design walls
Idea from the
Sandra Kaye Designs blog

If you’re making one design wall, why not make three? Use one for smaller projects; line them up side by side to audition bigger quilts. The insulation board is so lightweight, you can carry all three at the same time. Get the tutorial here.
6. Make Your Design Wall Permanent
Idea from
The Quilting Edge blog

Got space to make your design wall a permanent fixture? Follow this smart tutorial for mounting your design wall (or walls) with removable, Velcro-type hanging strips. It’s permanent…until you don’t want it to be anymore. View the tutorial here.
Quilt design wall from The Quilting Edge

A few final ideas:

7. Empty a closet

Empty closets can be hard to come by, but if you have one, you’re in luck! Pin the top of a large piece of batting around a hanging rod in your closet; then pin blocks to the batting. If your closet has a light fixture, install a bulb that emits natural light. Or simply use the closet door itself as your design wall (see below).

8. Transform a cork board

Do you already have a corkboard that you use for paper items? Turn it into a small design wall by pinning flannel or batting to the cork.

9. Pin it

Mount a large piece of batting or flannel to a wall with straight pins and call it done. The pins leave only tiny holes, and they’re easy to pull out and push back in. Plus, you’ll have a design wall in five minutes flat.

How do you see the forest for the trees—or the quilt for the blocks—when you’re in the middle of a project? Share your ideas in the comments!

42 Comments (leave a comment)

Leave a comment

*Indicates required field