Art Quilting

Quilt Design Walls: For Building a Better Quilt

Using a quilt design wall as you work on block construction and setting your quilt together can help tremendously with making the right decisions regarding color choices and fabric placement. A design wall can be any space where you are able to put fabrics and blocks, in order to get an idea of how the quilt is coming together. Your quilt design wall doesn’t have to be extremely large or fancy, but it should have a neutral colored background so you can really see how the colors and fabrics in your blocks are interacting with one another. Being about to place the fabrics and blocks together and look at them from a distance is key in helping you get a better perspective on the quilt as a whole.

There are several ways to construct a design wall. One simple method is to hang a curtain rod with clip rings in your sewing room. You can then attach a panel of flannel or batting from the rings. Fabrics and blocks can be placed on the panel for a view of the quilt progress. One advantage to this idea for a design wall is that you can hang a decorative quilt from the rings when you’re not using it as a design wall.

Quilt Design Wall

Another idea for a simple to make design wall is to purchase a large frame or framed mirror from a thrift shop or yard sale. Remove the artwork or mirror if necessary and then use the interior backing to create your design board. Wrap the backing from within the frame in a layer of batting which can be stapled or taped on. Insert the backing into the frame, and you have a nice sized design board to work with. You can even spray paint the frame to match the décor in your sewing room. Using a design board of this size won’t work for an entire quilt layout, but it can assist with block construction and fabric choices.

Quilt Design Board

Another idea for creating a design area is to simply use the top of a bed or a large floor surface.

There are also some terrific tutorials available for constructing your own design wall. Portable design walls are a great idea if space is limited, and they can even be transported to a class you might be taking. A fun idea for a simple portable design wall is to use insulation board available from the hardware store covered with flannel. By attaching picture hangers to the back, this portable design wall can be hung up and taken down as needed. It’s lightweight and easy to construct. The complete tutorial for this project can be found here.

Of course there are also a variety of commercial design walls available for purchase. It’s a good idea to take into the account the amount of space you have and then decide on the best option for you. A small design board coupled with a larger portable design wall that can be easily stored might be the most effective option. What type of design wall do you use?

Come back to the Craftsy blog on Thursday to learn all about on point quilting!



Wow! Such a simple idea, but I had never come up with that! 🙂 Thanks! I’ve been trying to figure out an affordable way to display my quilts.

Mary Casey

I have a small space to work in and for 20 yrs+ I have been draping an old fleece blanket over the door and designing many,many quilts on it..For large quilts I just do it in quadrants….Works for me…..


Someone at our local quilt store suggested using a flannel-backed plastic tablecloth – thought that was a brilliant idea!

Ronda Reed

And Cheap!!!!! I love all of these. Read somewhere that getting a retractable drape rod installed and hanging flannel from it works well, too. You can suspend the rod from across a closet door and then pull it down to use, making sure to have eyes screwed down on the floors to hang the “wall” securely when working on projects. 🙂 Those can be quite decorative, too.

Denise Forsythe

The tablecloth idea is a great idea too. I did that and it works beautifully.

Libbi Toscano

Fab tip. Went out and put up the rod immediately. Serves as a display for completed quilts. When needed I hand my Fons and Porter design wall.

Ruth Hurley

I found a Fons & Porter design wall on sale and hung it with Command removable adhesive hooks. I really like it because the plastic grid side shows through to the cloth side so I can arrange my blocks evenly. Also, the Command hooks make it easy for me to take the wall down and re-position it when I rearrange the sewing /guest room.


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