Quilting Blog

Spray Basting Your Quilts: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Have you ever heard a quilter say that basting is their favorite part of quilting? There are several methods for basing — many quilters swear by pin basting or using long, loose stitches for to secure their quilt sandwich — but the simplest method is spray basting

Read on to learn why spray basting is so easy and how to spray baste 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. I recommend:

  • June Tailor Quilt Basting Spray
  • Dritz Basting Spray
  • 505 Spray and Fix

To spray or not to spray?

Like most basting methods, spray basting has its pros and cons.

Pros of spray basting your quilts:

  • It’s quick: With basting spray, it’s possible to baste a twin sized quilt in about 10 minutes without using a single pin.
  • It’s effective: Quilters who swear by basting spray say it produces far fewer wrinkles than pin basting. Pin basting can introduce more wrinkles than spray basting.

Cons of spray basting your quilts:

  • It can be 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.
  • It can be more costly: A can of basting spray costs can cost as much as $13 for a 10-ounce can. Depending on how lightly your spray, many quilters can baste several quilts from one can.

How to spray baste your quilt

There are a few different ways to spray baste your quilt. This method requires the least effort in rearranging fabrics, and is ideal if you’re working just one one table.

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.

Step 1: 

Layering The Quilt Sandwich for Spray basting

On a large table outside, layer your fabrics in this order:

  • The backing, with the wrong side up
  • The quilt top, with the wrong side up

Leave the batting out of the way for now. This set up lets you quickly spray with minimal moving of fabric.

Step 2: 

Spraying Adhesive on Wrong Side of Quilt Top

Spray the wrong side of the quilt top with spray adhesive. 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.

Then, you can fold up the quilt top and store it out of the way. Don’t worry — the adhesive isn’t that sticky, so the top will easily unfold. Just be sure to fold it so the sticky side faces in, because you don’t want any debris sticking to the top.

Step 3:

Spraying Quilt Backing Fabric

Once you’ve removed the quilt top, you should see the wrong side of the backing fabric. Apply spray adhesive all over the backing, as you did in the previous step.

When you’re done spraying, leave the backing in place. We’ll stack the remaining layers right on top of it.

Step 4:

Now it’s time to layer your batting over the backing.

Quilt Batting on an Ironing Board

If you hadn’t already, we recommend pressing your batting so that it’s totally wrinkle-free before you baste it.

Step 5:

Laying Quilt Top Over Quilt Sandwich

Finally, layer the sprayed quilt top, wrong side down, on top of the other two layers.


Step 6:

As we mentioned, spray adhesive isn’t super sticky — you can easily reposition your fabrics. Make sure your three layers are aligned, and look out for wrinkles. It’s easy to just pick up the section where you see the mistake, and place it again, smoothing out the fabric with your hand.

If you spray basted the quilt very lightly, you might try securing the layers with just a few safety pins.

Step 7:

Trimming Excess Quilt batting

If you have excess batting, now is the time to trim it off.

Finally, take it to the sewing machine! 

Spray Basting Tips & 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 Outdoor

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!




My concern is mostly with fumes. I like Rachel’s idea of doing it outside on the clothesline. I may have to get myself a clothesline.


I like the idea of the clothesline, but wonder how you can get everything smooth with no solid backing. Suggestions?


I think since it’s able to be maneuvered around you can hang it on the line and spray it, wait for a few seconds or minutes and then take it inside to finish it by putting the backing or quilt top on it.


How do you remove the spray basting. I used the spray basting and the needle is getting a film on it and it will not allow me to quilt! ugh


I use 505 or just make sure the spray adhesive says it’s ok for sewing. 505 has created a problem with my machine needle and I’ve spray basted over a dozen quilts and machine quilted them on my domestic machine. I hope this helps.


I do spray basting. I have a kit for doing home videos, poles, lights & backdrop cloth. I use the poles from that to hold the quilt. It is already designed to hold a large piece of cloth, so it works well. I can then take the poles down for storage.


These are obviously not “green” products so I avoid them since I am chemically sensitive.


I too was concerned over the fumes etc. I found a temporary spray adhesive called “sulky KK 2000” green lid. It is non-flammable, non-toxic, odorless and clear. Ozone friendly and no CFC’s or HCFC’S. More about it on the Sulky website. Doesn’t have as much overspray as some others as you also spray closer to the fabric. It states it will last 2-5 days but after just finishing a baby quilt the adhesive was still sticking after that. It costs a couple dollars more than some others but was able to get it 50% off on sale so the price isn’t an issue. I have also used the 505 spray which works well also but now prefer this one.


Oh my gosh – this makes the process look so much less intimidating! I wonder if you could use this method on other small quilting projects… I think so!! Thanks for this post. 🙂


I have used this method for several years. I am a little older and i can get down on the floor but if i do i don’t get up….. so i have a big wall that i had my SIL put carpet padding on with staples and i use that to spray baste my quilts. I also use it for my design wall.
I fold half and spray using pins to hold the batting and fabric. I then stabilize the quilt by stitch in the ditch on a few vertical and horizontal lines, then i can quilt as i choose with full confidence.


I am assuming that the iron used in this is with no heat.


Good question! I used the iron to smooth out the fabric and batting with heat BEFORE spraying. After spraying, I find that I can smooth out the layers pretty well using my hands.

Leslie from Alabama

I like the idea of spray basting, but it frightens me.
Seriously, how do you deal with the overspray? I’ve used spray paint before, and you get paint EVERYWHERE! What happens when that spray adhesive ends up on your cabinet doors, countertops, cooking surfaces…?


The overspray can be wiped off with a wet cloth. I use a class table top to baste my smaller quilts and just wipe the class down after spaying. You might want to put an old sheet down first, and then you can always wash the sheet afterwards, news paper with you can then throw away.


I spray baste my quilts and works great! Thanks!


I spray the backing and quilt top, not the batting. It takes more spray glue to spray the batting than the top or the back. I was taught to use spray glue when I started quilting in 2002 and have never pin-basted a quilt. Sometimes I will add a few pins around the edges to stablize the quilt sandwich.


How about batt that’s fusible on both sides, no mess ! Our gals at QoV from the Heartland, have had GREAT success enabling them to complete quilts on domestic machines !


How soon can you pick up the sprayed quilt and quilt it?


I’m pretty sure the last thing I spray basted (a quilted tree skirt) I went right to the machine with. It worked wonders. And I didn’t bother to shell out the $$ for quilt basting spray, I just used Elmer’s spray adhesive in a can. Wouldn’t do that for a bedspread, but for the tree skirt, it worked wonderfully (other than the overspray on the floor – use newspapers!)

Jane B

I also use the Elmer’s White School Glue. Buy glops just before school starts when it is on sale. Works wonderful and WAY less expensive and no fumes. Use it basically just how the smelly spray is used. Only caution I have found is smooth any globs that may exist and use a gentle smooth squeeze to get a thin line of glue. Iron to heat set the glue. Wash quilt after completion!

Julia S

Just wanted to add that Therm O Web who makes HeatnBond interfacings also makes a great basting spray…SpraynBond which is my choice for a Basting Spray! http://www.thermowebonline.com

Beverly Cotton

I started quilting 2 yrs. ago. I followed Patsy Thompson On a YouTube video about spray basting. No other way to go for this step in quilting. I use 505 Temporary spray which is odorless. I place old sheets on my basement floor or ping pong table, & tape them down. I lay the “backing” right

Wendy D

I love the basting sparay–makes it so much easier to quilt my own quilts
I leave the doors wide open when I am spraying .
I have tile floors and it works well.

Beverly Cotton

… side down. Spray whole backing. You can either fold the batting in quarter, for ease of handling, or flip,like a sheet, over the batting. Do several times in various areas to get it evenly placed. LIGHTLY smooth from center outward. Lift and smooth again where a crease appears. Spray batting and repeat same procedure for adding quilt top. Trim backing & batting to at least 4″ around. Fold overage of backing & batting up to quilt top edge & safety pin (keeps tacky backing & batting out of way). Pick up your quilt sandwich right away, carry it to you sewing room and get to work! Really eliminates puckers & pinches. Plus you have totally open space (no pins) to quilt in any space -non stop!

margaret valsechi

I use the spray basting for small quilts and find it so helpful and its a faster way to get my quilting done

Julie Scriver

I use 505 with great results and I do it the same way as in the pictures. takes about 5 minutes to dry. I do use a few pins just to secure the edges. I didn’t use it on my last quilt (don’t know why) and I had a few puckers on the back side to deal with. Great product!


I use an old bedspread over my guest bed. I pin the backing down to the bedspread at the top and bottom so that it doesn’t move when I spray baste. If there is any overspray, I can just throw the bedspread in the washer. I like it better at this height so that I am not on my knees on a hard floor. The bed is easy to walk around and is more at eye level. I have been spray basting for years and never had any reaction to the chemical. Not any difference then hairspray.

Patti Falo

I have been using spray adhesive for a long tome. I was a screen printer and used it to keep t-shirts in place. I have not used any other method since the 90s….quick and simple. Have never had a problem.with fumes. Just remember a little goes a long ways.


I use a piece of plywook on sawhorses to put my quilts on. I clamp the edges if the backing is big enough, otherwise clamp what I can and tape the rest. I spraybaste with any brand I happen to have, but I usually pin the edges–just in case;


I have heard say not to spray baste for a baby cot quilt, does it wash out immediately, or does the spray stay in the quilt for a while that worries me a bit

K McKee

I use a ping pong table for all my spray basting – easier on the back. I have a collection of hardware store clamps which I use to hold the backing in place on the table. Be careful to smooth but not stretch the backing. I also spread old sheets on the floor to catch the overspray. I do have some trouble with free motion quilting after spray basting – it wants to skip stitches. But the convenience outweighs the skips.

Kathy Toms

Ive machine quilted right after spraying.


This is great!! Thank you for the info. I’m at the stage of putting my first quilt together. Was feeling intimidated, not so much now. A note to Grace – the bed idea is great….thanks!!!


Hi was just wondering have been told not to spray baste baby cot quilt, could somebody tell me yes or no. thanks in anticipation


Thanks! That is very useful info since I will be putting together a quilt soon, my first.


Sulky KK2000 adhesive spray is friendlier to you and to the planet. Plus it is Odorless!

Lynn Parker

I’ve been spray basting for many years. There is definitely residue left on the floor from the overspray, and it cannot just be wiped up. I always put a sheet down first that’s bigger than the quilt. It can easily be washed. I try to wash any baby quilts before sending them.


I have used the Heat n Bond spray on twin size quilts with good results. You can find it at Walmart for around $10. I have also used others but do not see anything better about the more expensive ones – I know others will disagree.
I have never done the pinning at the edge, but am going to try that for the larger quilts. From all the moving around while quilting, the edges do get loose sometimes. Maybe I will even throw a few down the middle if the quilt is large enough.
Spray basting is great with something small that you are not rolling up and stuffing through a home size machine. I find that even if you have to throw in a pin or two, or respray if it is coming apart, it is much faster than pin or stitch basting.


Moira, Yes, the basting spray does wash out (I use 505). Since all new items for a baby should be washed before using, it isn’t going to be a problem. Just iron it well after washing and it will be fine.


Be careful about using other products not labeled for fabric. Early in my quilting career I ran out of spray baste and finished using scrapbooking spray glue. I was unable to do free motion quilting in that area because of skipped stitches. Using the proper product, I have successfully sprayed up to a queen size quilt. Thanks for the bed idea. I will be using that one for sure!


I pin mine to the wall and spray with it on the wall. It hangs pulling out the ripples. No back breaking crawling around. I learned it from a You Tube video.

frances ensing

I spray baste and find it is far superior to just pin basting which I tried and found to many wrinkles to deal with. I have also discovered a fuseable batting by Hobbs and really love how it works; and no mess to deal with.

Judith McLean

I have used almost every kind of spray adhesive, and I find at times that the adhesive will gum up the needle when machine quilting large surfaces. It doesn’t happen every time, and I try to have a light hand, but this is one of the complications of adhesive spray.


If you get gummy needles you can wipe them off with rubbing alchol on a cotton ball.

Sharon Schakel

I love spray basting and have used several brands. The only problem I have had is being too free with the spray and it gummed up the needle, which had to be cleaned with a goo off product. Now I’m more thrifty with the amount of spray I apply. If I have to spray indoors, I use an old shower curtain and spray small areas only and with the window open. I was warned about breathing fumes and sticking your lungs together, so I try to spray in the garage or patio. Also, I don’t want overspray to reach my sewing machine or computer hard drive and make them gummy. So be cautious and save lots of time for a more perfect quilt.

Ellen Zurn

I have used 505 Spray for 10 years. I use tables to sandwich my quilts and put old sheets down on the floor to prevent overspray getting on the floor. If by chance you do overspray, 505 makes a glue remover in a spray. I have used it on my table when I sprayed a small wall hanging and didn’t have it protected enough. I had two queen size quilts sprayed with 505 and didn’t get them quilted until five years later and they were still tacky enough to quilt without respraying.


I am making a quilt, and have spray basted with an adhesive that does say its for fabric, I got wrinkles and have tried to lift to reposition however, in some spots its trying to tear the batting, what can I do if I already have wrinkles to remove them?

Tonya Peters

Thank you so much for this awesome post! I HATE basting my quilts. I’ve used the basting pins and I can never get it tight enough so there are always wrinkles of some sort. Plus I’ve noticed they leave holes in my quilt top. Not cool! I bought a can of the Dritz basting spray at Wal-Mart today, it was around $9. I’m making a signature quilt for my friend for her wedding in a couple weeks and I want it to look really nice since I don’t have time/money to have it quilted by someone with a quilting machine. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to quilt as I go, but I’m not sure I like that idea. I think this will work much better. The pictures help a lot too!


I wonder if you could use this method with a quilt as you go strip quilt???


I just used 505 to spray baste a queen sized quilt. Where has this stuff been all my quilting life?? I will never ever baste another way. It took 20 minutes start to finish, no wrinkles.

Two things, maybe three: first, spraying the back and front, NOT the batting, was a huge help. Ignore anything that tells you to spray batting. Second, get help. My husband and one of his friends held the batting up while I smoothed it a few inches at a time (the backing was sprayed outside then taped to the floor), and the same with the top. It helped so much to have them hold the material out of the way so that it could go down evenly. And third, use a topstitching needle in your machine. I have a Pfaff 2056 Quilt Edition, and nothing has gummed up or even slowed down. Spraying lightly helped.


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I use a large roller from the inside of a bolt of batting to roll the batting and quilt top once it’s sprayed.

I do it one half at a time, as shown, but roll instead of unfolding. It isn’t perfect but works better for me than unfolding.


How do you remove the spray after it has served it’s purpose, I got marks on the thing I was making (Karate GI) because I was using it to keep the pieces in the right place before sewing them

Cynthia Astle

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve just been quilting for a few months, so I love anything that helps me improve my technique. I started with spray basting, so it’s the only method I’ve used. I have a king-sized sheet that I spread on the carpet in my sewing room. I had trouble with getting the first couple of quilt to smooth out and stay put. With this post I’ve seen how to spray baste and assemble with much more precision. Can’t wait to try it!

Kitty Letsch

I did not read through all the comments so I hope I’m not repeating anything. I do pretty much what you do. I have a huge table in my garage and I clamp the backing . After the spraying and layering is done, I take it to the ironing board and press both sides to better adhere the spray.


Is it ok if I share a photo from this post in a round-up I am doing for the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild? I’d link back to this post of course, crediting Craftsy. Thanks for your consideration.

Linda Petersen

I tried a sample and the 505 spray glue does not wash out, just becomes less tacky. On their website they say it “disappears into the fibers of the fabric… leaving toxic chemicals in the fabric. The new less toxic Sulky even says it doesn’t wash out. I love the process, just can no longer rationalize making and gifting toxic laden quilts…seems a contradiction…toxic comfy.


I only spray baste (I like 505) on both large and small quilts. Mine is a babylock machine and the quilt sandwiches stay together without issue no matter how much rolling and flipping around I do. I have a long pole curtain rod that I will loop it over to dry about a day before quilting. With the Joannes coupons it is pretty affordable for my needs.


Also, after taping the backing down, I use an empty tapestry cardboard tube (joannes uses them for their home textiles and will give you the empty ones free) and roll my batting on it. Spray baste the entire backing and then slowly roll the batting onto the backing, smoothing as you go. Repeat the same process for the top…it is quick, easy, and almost wrinkle free even before smoothing!

Judith Lakin

Help! I have used my new 505 for a small part of the quilt and it has stopped working. A friend had the same problem has it happened to anyone else? and if so how did they solve the problem?

Pat Hough

I have the best results when spray basting. It is so easy. Yes the fumes are bad but just spray carefully and I put an old sheet under my project to protect the floor.

kathy ciambruschini

I’m trying to free motion quilt a batik fusible appliqué wall hanging that I spray basted and wish to use MonoPoly on the top. When I test a scrap sandwich of cotton-batting-cotton it works out fine. But, when I go to work on the wall hanging….UGH!!! Thread nests on the underneath and skipping all over the place! Could it be the spray baste gumming things up? YIKES and HELP!!!

Suzy Wilde

I’m having the same problem. Did you figure it out?

Becky Soden

I haven’t been Quilting long, but I seen a tutorial an they were using hair spray as a basting spray. Is it kind of the same kind of spray? I don’t want to gunk up my machine or ruin a quilt by trying. Please let me know. I’m a little confused


I spray baste my quilts and smooth out any ripples on the front and back. I lay them on my floor or bed until I start to quilt them. Now they have many ripples on them mainly on the back. Any idea why? Am I smoothing them out too much? Maybe spraying the material rather than the batting would help. I probably can reposition again as I quilt but wondering if others have this problem

Angela S

I have carpet and I have never tried to baste on it. Has anyone done that using the T pins? Nervous it will have a lot of wrinkles. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


I’ve almost always used 505 spray to baste my quilts, and love it. I’ve got a large section of wall in the middle of a long, otherwise open, hallway where I have a lot of available light. To protect my wall from overspray, I bought a box of banner paper (it comes in several sizes and is cheap) from Walmart for really cheap and use blue painter’s tape to hang as many overlapping sheets as needed to greatly exceed the size of the quilt sandwich being basted. I used to draw a straight line with a large T-Square toward the top, leaving enough room above it for overspray.

Then I use the painter’s tape to hold the top edge of my backing (wrong side facing me) along the drawn line, then to tack down the other edges…spray as lightly with 505 as possible while still getting complete coverage. Continue in the same method to add the quilt top (right side facing me). After checking for wrinkles , I remove it from the wall and quilt it. My paper can remain up on the wall for as long as I choose.

I have also used the bamboo fusible batting, which I was a bit hesitant to try. I thought it would be difficult, but it was actually quite easy to use and I loved the experience. It was pretty easy to do and the process went much more quickly.

The cause of adhesive on the needle is spray basting too heavily. You only need enough to make the sandwich hold long enough to quilt it without moving. I used to spray it too heavily routinely when I basted at the beginning. Not only does it cause adhesive on the needle and skipped stitches, but a can of the spray is expensive and gets used up far too quickly!

Someone mentioned skipped stitches because the needle was really sticky, which in my experience is too much spray adhesive. Sewing on velcro dots have the same issue. I’ve used baby wipes, alcohol, or a drop of my sewing machine oil on a small scrap of fabric to clean the needle (use scrap fabric afterward to make sure that the oil doesn’t ruin your quilt!) so that you can continue sewing, but you’ll have to stop periodically to clean it in order to continue quilting. It can be done, but it is very frustrating and if it’s a large project, I’d be tempted to take the sandwich apart, wash out the adhesive and re-bast more lightly.


I’m worried about the flammability part, I suppose washing removes the glue and the quilt is safe from a fire point of view? Also I have never washed a queen size quil. I’m making some for my family. I don’t have a big washing machine, any hints on how I would wash it if I use the spray basting? Thanks

Fran Ontiveros

A little late to the party, but I thought I would share my experience. I spray my quilts outside, always. Luckil,y I live in Texas and the weather is nice almost year round. I borrow my husband’s saw horses, setting them out in the drive way of our home. We have a 4′ x 8′ plywood sheet to place on top of the saw horsesthat we bought for basting quilts. Place the plywood sheet on sawhorses. I clamp the quilt backing to the board. Spray it. I place the batting on that and then place the quilt top wrong side up. Spray it on the back and my husband helps me flip the top over and position it on the batting. While it is on the board, I smooth out any wrinkles. I have found that the Dritz spray lasts a long time, and you don’t have to finish the quilt right away. Also I have been able to reposition it easier than the 505. It is the spray that has worked the best for me. I have never had a problem with the sewing machine gumming up.


Me, at Joann Fabrics: Where will I find the spray basting?
Joann Fabrics employee: Is that for cooking?



Colleen Rangel

Me at Joann fabrics: Do you have any queen size batting in the back?
Joann fabrics employee: the crib size is on the shelf! Can’t you use that??? *totally exasperated*


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