Have you ever heard a quilter say that basting is their favorite part of quilting? More often than not, basting is just a necessary part of the quilt-making process, and not some form of creative expression. There are several methods for basing. Many quilters swear by pin basting, and others like to secure a quilt sandwich with long, loose stitches. Here, we'll discuss the option of spray basting your quilts.
If you’ve ever tried spray basting, you may know that it’s a quick and effective way to baste your quilt backing, batting and top. Basting spray, a repositionable adhesive specially formulated for fabric, is sold by the can in many craft stores and quilting shops. There are a few different types of quilt basting spray on the market. June Tailor Quilt Basting Spray, Dritz Basting Spray and 505 Spray and Fix are three different brands that I’ve heard recommended from quilters.
To Spray or Not to Spray?
Like most basting methods, spray basting has its pros and cons. Here are some of the most common praises and complaints:
+ Quick: With basting spray, it’s possible to baste a twin sized quilt in about 10 minutes without using a single pin.
+ Effective: According to quilters who swear by basting spray, it produces far fewer wrinkles than pin basting. Pin basting can introduce more wrinkles than spray basting, according to the many quilters that swear by it.
- Dangerous: Unless you are spraying outside or in a well-ventilated area, the fumes from spray basting a quilt can be harmful to breathe in. Spray basting should be avoided all together if you are pregnant. You should also keep spray-basting cans away from a hot iron or open flames (and away from children, for that matter), since the substance is flammable.
- Costly: A can of basting spray costs can cost as much as $13 (US$) for a 10-ounce can or more for a large can. Depending on how lightly your spray, many quilters can baste several quilts from one can. Kristie can spray baste five baby quilts or two larger quilts from a small can.
How to Spray Baste Your Quilt
There are a few different ways to spray baste your quilt, but here is the method I regularly use. To prepare your quilt top, batting and backing, make sure the batting is 2” wider than the quilt top on each side. The quilt backing should ideally be an additional 2” wider than the batting on each side.
1. Spread out the quilt back on the floor, with the right side facing down. If you have a hardwood or laminate floor, secure the corners with masking or painter’s tape. Add tape to the sides if needed. If you are working on carpet, secure the corners of the quilt back to the carpet with T pins. If you have the ability to use two clean 5' trestle tables outside, all the better.
2. Center the quilt batting on top of the quilt back. Press the batting smooth with an iron.
3. Fold back the top half of the quilt batting, so you can start spray basting from the center. You’ll generally want to use a circular motion and hold the can about 12” above the surface, but check the instructions on your can. Apply a light coat of basting spray on the quilt batting you’ve just pulled back (the center section). Once you’ve sprayed a horizontal section (left to right) about 6” wide, carefully place the sprayed batting down on the quilt back and smooth out the wrinkles with your hands. Lift up batting and spray the next 6” horizontal section until you reach the end of the quilt. Repeat with the batting on the other half of the quilt.
4. With the right side facing up, center the quilt top on the quilt batting. Fold back the top half of the quilt top. Begin spraying a 6” section of the batting. Lift up the quilt top and smooth it over the section you just sprayed. Repeat by spraying in sections until you reach the end.
5. Fold back the bottom half of the quilt top. Starting again at the center, spray a 6” section of the batting. Smooth the quilt top over the section you just sprayed, and repeat until you reach the end.
6. Starting at the center of each sprayed section, smooth out the wrinkles with your hand as you move along the quilt top and out to the sides of the quilt.
7. If any wrinkles appear, have no fear. Basting spray is repositionable, so it’s easy to just pick up the section where you see the wrinkle, and place it again, smoothing out the fabric with your hand.
8. Ideally, the batting will be a bit longer on each side than this example, but this is what your spray basted quilt should look like. When you are ready to quilt it, simply remove the taped quilt from the floor and take it to the sewing machine! If you spray basted the quilt very lightly, you might try securing the layers with just a few safety pins.
Spray Basting Tips and Variations
- Save Your Lungs: If you are pregnant or worried about inhaling the fumes, try wearing a mask especially made for toxic fumes. Ashley at Film in the Fridge suggests wearing a heavy-duty mask if spray basting in the house.
- Spray Outdoors: Rachel at Stitched in Color shares a method of spray basting your quilt outside with the help of a clothesline. You can do the dirty work outside and bring your sprayed batting indoors to complete the spray basting.
- Save Your Floors: Hollie at The Undercover Crafter tapes newspaper pages to her hardwood floor before spray basting a quilt, to keep the floor from getting sprayed.
- Skip the Tape: Worried about taping your floors? In a guest post at Chasing Cottons, Kristie suggests laying dumbbells on each corner of the batting to hold it in place. With four weights, your backing and batting shouldn’t budge.
Whether or not you’ve tried spray basting, I hope this gives you some new tips for basting your quilts!