One of the most frequent questions I am asked is about the Quilt Design Wall next to my sewing machine. I use this handy tool for laying out and organizing my quilt pieces and quilt blocks. The blocks stick to the flannel-type fabric with out any adhesive or pins. It’s fabulous! So I thought I’d put all of the answers about where to find or how to make your own Quilt Design Wall in one, handy place for easy reference!
First of all: What is a Quilt Design Wall?
A Design Wall or Design Board is a place to audition quilt block placement or rows of quilt blocks. They’re especially handy so that you can step back and see the ‘big-picture’ of the project you’re working on, keep your quilt block designs organized, and play with different layouts without having to lay them on the floor.
Typically they are made of some type of flannel or batting material so that the cotton blocks will ‘stick’ to the design wall without having to use pins or adhesives.
Where can you get a Design Wall?
There are lots of options to purchase commercially for Design Walls*. It’s also easy to make your own Design Wall. Here are some options:
I purchased the design wall hanging next to my sewing machine. It’s a heavy-duty flannel on one side with grommets at the top for hanging. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find this specific design wall available anymore, but Fons and Porter makes a very similar design wall version available from Amazon or Joann Fabrics. This one does have grid lines on the back.
Connecting Threads also has a large pop-up portable Design Wall available here.
There’s also the option to Make Your Own Design Wall
Christa Quilts has an excellent tutorial for building a large Design Wall out of foam board (available at home improvement stores) and flannel layers – especially perfect if you have a sewing studio or dedicated space to hang in on your wall.
Suzy Quilts has a list of great ideas for making your own Quilt Design Wall using simple things like thin composite board, foam core, foam insulation board, hanging a curtain rod, or even using the back of a door!
Other simple options include: hanging a white flannel sheet, a large piece of batting or neutral-colored flannel or batting, or using the flannel backside of a vinyl table cloth. I would recommend something in neutral colors so it’s easy to see the blocks.
One other variation are these super handy mini design boards (or a small design wall). My friend Emily made me some and I’ve LOVED them. They’re perfect of laying out quilt blocks, auditioning fabric, or just keeping your pieces in place until you’re ready to sew.
Lori Holt has a tutorial to make your own Design Board (mine don’t have the decorative border, which is fine with me) or this video tutorial if you like the extra visuals. You can also buy Lori’s Design Boards ready made here in multiple sizes.
I purchased a plastic tablecloth with a light flannel/fuzzy backing it works perfect and very light. I used sticky velcro to attach to the wall. Had it up in 15 minutes.
So smart! Thanks for sharing this tip!
I just don’t have a wall bare. Thats my problem. My room is little. only 10×10.
Thank you for this brilliant idea 👍
I made a design wall earlier this year with the foam insulation that I covered in wide width flannel. I turned it length wise on the wall which I like unless I have an entire quilt on it. Super easy and very helpful.
That sounds awesome!
and those quilt blocks in progress! <3 Could you share the pattern please? (hoping you see this a year later!)
HI Cindy! Here is the link to the finished quilt + links to each of the quilt block patterns. Enjoy! 🙂
Keri L Bellows
I bought a design wall with grommets. Then I used clear command hooks to hang it up. It hangs in my hallway.
Ooo! A hallway is a great idea for a design wall spot!
I made mine using two 4X8 sheets of 1 inch thick foam insulation. I had planned on adding batting, but I decided not to. I cut 6 inches off the short side (my wall is 8 feet, and that included the trim), and then I duct taped the two panels together so it was roughly 8 feet wide and 7 1/2 feet tall. I was going to use duct tape to adhere the flannel to the insulation, but at the last minute used pins to affix the flannel. This meant I could reposition my fabric as I worked, and if I ever decided to change my flannel, I could just unpin it. I folded the corners to miter, and then I screwed the board into the wall using wooden spools as decoration. To keep the spools from twisting my fabric, I poked a hole in small pieces of freezer paper, which gave it the glide I needed.
It works really great, and I didn’t spend that much! ($15 each for foam insulation and 3 yards of 108 inch flannel at $6.99 per yard)
It’s a monster of a board and will hold a king size quilt if I ever go that big again, but currently I’ve got two smaller projects hanging out
Beverly A Graham
I’m fortunate to have a roomy space and “built” 2 design boards with the dense foam boards and batting….I lean them against my wall and put them side by side for even a king size quilt….I simply cannot imagine working my designs without them!
I don’t remember what YouTube channel I saw this on. She bought 12×12 panels for sound proofing a room and attached them to the wall. They are an acrylic fiber, look similar to wool pressing mats. I don’t have a wall big enough, so I covered them with flannel and used foam core scraps to hold them together in a column, I left small gaps between the columns that “hinges” them together. I can accordion fold it to store it. I have bought another package to make an extension to put larger quilts on.