How To Make a Design Wall

Primary Colors, sewing room

Yesterday was a very busy day – one thing after another.  I spent the morning organizing the area of the sewing room that is part way behind the door – you can see the shelving area that I showed yesterday in one of the photos.  I didn’t want to get rid of my old cutting table in case I can find a place sometime in the future to use it.  It is a good sturdy table but no where to put it for now so Mike made that one area with no shelves so the table can slide into it and be put to use.  If I need it for some reason I can pull it out – if not– well extra cutting mats that are the size of the table top or less can lay flat and the accuquilt stuff will go on the lower shelf.  I also went through the closet and pulled out all the batting and found places for that and all the boxes with pre-cut scrap pieces are in place.

Afternoon was spent busy out – I got my daily exercise done, ran over to the clinic to get my flu shot, dropped off bags at Goodwill, ran over to Wal-Mart to pick up things – I had laundry going at home while I was gone and finished it up off and on the rest of the day.    Then I got busy cutting flannel and sewing pieces together to make my design wall.  Almost done – I need one more blue insulation board cut to fit the final area and will wrap that one soon.

I think those of us that use design walls and are lucky enough to have a space all do them differently – the flannel covered boards that I had up for the last 3+ years needed to be redone, the flannel was stretching after years of heavy quilts and the threads no longer could be lint brushed off – I ditched the old flannel and putting some new stuff on it to go with the new room.

First I lay my piece of flannel on the floor – I sewed two pieces together and press the wide seam open.


Next I center my blue board on it.  Make sure the writing faces up so you don’t see it through the front.


I tape one side of the flannel down – I don’t worry about it being taunt as I take care of that when I do the opposite side.  I put 3 pieces of tape on it to hold it snuggly.


Then I go to the other side and pull lightly on the flannel to make sure there are no wrinkles, I tape in about 6 places to hold it in place.  I carefully peak under it to make sure it looks snug.  Then I tape it as I did the opposite side.


then I tape one end – folding the ends in and tape that one good.


The final side – I do as I did the second side, I use several pieces of tape and pull it taunt and put 3 strips of tape again – I might be doing over kill on the tape but it works – isn’t duck tape wonderful!


I have two boards this size and then one more that will be more narrow so it fits the whole wall.  Here these two are just leaning against the wall.  Mike will “frame” it when I get the boards all done – he will screw in narrow pieces of wood that I have varnished to match the walls this will hold the boards in place and it also helps keep the flannel from sagging.  The boards are thick and I can jam in as many pins as I want when the quilts become too heavy to stick by itself – individual blocks stick the flannel good but when you start sewing rows together they don’t always stay on the wall.  This wall is 109 inches wide by 80 inches long – this is on the sloping side of the room – part of this room years ago before we moved here was a small back porch and it was a “lean to” type style where the ceiling sloped so the ceiling is not as high as the opposite side of the room –would have been too much work to redo the ceiling too!!


Mike needs to pick up one more insulation board for me and cut it the right size – I don’t cut the boards very well so he does that and I have been taking care of the rest of it while he is at work.  One side of the binding on Primary Colors was hand stitched on Tuesday night and part of a side was done last night while watching tv – I was too tired to do more!!  Finished the day at 14,000 steps – yes I was busy and exhausted by night!  Linking to My Quilt Infatuation today .








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17 comments… add one
  • Liz Oct 5, 2017

    Almost there. Love seeing your progress.

    • Karen Oct 5, 2017

      thanks Liz I will be glad when it is all done

  • Kathi Oct 5, 2017

    I had wondered the reason for no shelving in the bottom of that inset closet space 🙂 NOw I understand!! lol
    I love your tutorial on how you wrap your insulation boards for design wall! You will use that sooo much too I think! You are sooo close to getting your space back!
    14,000 steps is a big wow!!! and good progress on the binding… love your backing fabric too! 😀
    Kathi recently posted…Another row in the books and soooo much more!!!My Profile

    • Karen Oct 5, 2017

      yes that is what that big space was for some of you have asked 🙂 The shelves in that area are deep also – I think 30 inches so there are some things hiding behind others – things that are not used as often – or in the case of fabric boxes they will be stacked.

  • Teri Dingler Oct 5, 2017

    I have a design wall fabric but no where to have one- may get hubby to make a collapsible one like yours-otherwise I just use an extra bed until it gets too big and then move to a floor! Ha! Now with a new tree skirt finished (much needed) on to finish a quilt top! Loving that new room!

    • Karen Oct 5, 2017

      have a portable wall also but I do not like it and when you have the option to keep one up on the wall it is so much better

  • Deb Oct 5, 2017

    That tutorial was so interesting! 🙂
    Deb recently posted…Losing my sewing storage area again…My Profile

    • Karen Oct 5, 2017

      well thanks Deb!

  • Sandra B Oct 5, 2017

    Karen, your new sewing room is so close to being finished….I know you are looking forward to getting it all done….and you will be all set for the arrival of your Baby Lock!! I am looking forward to seeing your quilt frame all set up with a quilt on it!!
    You certainly did have a busy day yesterday! That is the way my day will be today. Our kitchen remodel is mostly complete so I will be loading everything back into the cabinets….it will be tiring, but so worth the work!!
    They are predicting some rain for us Sunday, Monday and Tuesday…..hope we get it…this part of Virginia has not had rain for a while now…

    • Karen Oct 5, 2017

      yes the room is getting close to being finished. I don’t expect the new sewing machine before the end of October several others that have won the machine over the years have told me it took about a month before they received them.

  • Dottie bishaw Oct 5, 2017

    That was a very good tutorial, Karen, all the pictures are very clear on how you do it. I have a design wall in my sewing room, and I couldn’t do without it. I ran my Walmart errand this morning before the crowd starts, so I’m glad to be back home. You certainly had a very busy day yesterday, hopefully today is a little less hectic. So exciting to see your sewing room coming back! Enjoy this beautiful sunny upper 80s day .

    • Karen Oct 5, 2017

      it is very nice today and today I am too tired to do a lot LOL – I continue on the sewing room and searching for a cabinet or drawer set to put spools of thread in – a trip to Hobby Lobby is called for later today – hope the design wall info can help anyone who is just thinking of how to do it

  • Diann Bottrell Oct 5, 2017

    That’s a nice big design wall, and looks like it will be so useful! Glad you are getting your space back and can set up your quilting frame again. Hooray for sewing on the binding, too! I bet you are glad to have Primary Colors just about finished.

    • Karen Oct 5, 2017

      I am glad to have this quilt about finished and to be able to get the sewing room set up – I have everything out of the dining room and back in place and working on the stuff that is in the bedroom! – soon the quilting frame will be in place too

  • Colleen Oct 5, 2017

    Karen I have been making small advent calendar quilts for my 5 grandchildren and I am using warm and natural batting any my usual binding width was 2 1/4 but with these I was getting more binding fabric on back than front
    I think it is because I am sewing with a scant 1/4 inch seam rather than a full 1/4 which is better for the patchwork but perhaps I need to use a full 1/4 for sewing on binding.
    What size is your binding cut
    Does your binding end up being the same width front and back
    Does it matter to others the the binding is full and equal front and back?
    Or is it just my newest worry now that piecing problems are not that worrisome to me.
    I can say I am a very good corner turner and end joiner

  • Janice Holton Oct 5, 2017

    Thanks for showing us your process on making the design wall and also all the details regarding how you’re going to put it up on the wall. Fascinating! That is the second design wall process I have read today. Both very good yet completely different.
    Janice Holton recently posted…My Quilt in ProgressMy Profile

    • Karen Oct 6, 2017

      I will show what it looks like when done as soon as it is done 🙂 I too have read so many different ways – some use batting instead of flannel – I think it would really stretch out with the weight of quilts hanging on it so haven’t done that.

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