DIY Quilt Design Wall

Improv quilt hanging on my DIY design wall | Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs

My design wall to date consisted of cotton batting taped to the wall behind my sewing table.  It worked all right in a pinch, but inevitably I would return to it the following morning and it would be laying in a heap on the floor – along with all my nicely laid out blocks L  I have spent countless hours re-taping and re-laying out quilt tops and I finally had enough!

After scouring Pinterest for a DIY design wall for quilters, I finally got around to putting one together last weekend!

Most DIYs seem to consist of 1” thick Styrofoam insulation boards with either cotton batting or flannel wrapped around it.  Some were hung on the wall, even with a cut-out for an outlet, others were left free standing and one even went so far as to make it reversible!

Plus Infinity quilt top hanging out on my design wall | DIY Design Wall Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs

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Here’s what I did:

I picked up a queen flannel sheet set at Sears (*this gray set is similar, since Sears is no longer open). It was already on sale with an additional 30% off. Yay!! I love a good bargain!

Whole Home Gray Flannel Queen Sheet set | DIY Design Wall | Shannon Fraser Designs

I then stopped at my local Reno Depot and picked up three 1½” thick Styrofoam insulation boards.  These were the cheapest I could find at $7.59 a pop.  Thankfully I had the hubs with me as driving home with those puppies would have been impossible on my own – they completed blinded you on one side.  Definitely not the safest. It is the first time I wished we had a pick-up truck!

1.5" styrofoam insulation boards

While my sheets were washing and drying, I measured and cut my Styrofoam boards down to 80” long as I wanted to be sure I could get them through a doorway if I needed to change the location.  Plus I wanted to be sure my sheet fit!  If you do cut your boards down, I highly recommend having a vacuum at the ready – there were little pieces of Styrofoam EVERYWHERE! 

I then taped them all together using *Black Gorilla tape.  You can certainly tackle this on your own, but it went so much quicker with two people.

Measuring my design wall panels and then taping them with gorilla tape

At that point, I was actually considering making a sleeve so that my design wall would be reversible, but after what felt like an eternity on my hands and knees trying to smooth out the fabric so I could cut it down to my specified measurements, I gave up. Every time I got one end smooth, I looked to the other end and it had bunched in the middle.  So I abandoned that idea and just decided to go with a one-sided design.  Once I made that decision, things came together really quickly.

Mondrian improv quilt top hanging on my DIY design wall | Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs

I laid my top sheet with the right side facing down and laid my taped together Styrofoam wall over top.  Starting in the centre of each side, I pulled the fabric taught and taped into place.  I continued this until all sides were taped up.  It doesn't have to look pretty, it just needs to stay in place.

Then it was just a matter of flipping it over and resting it against the wall!  Easy peasy! Here she is in all her glory with my charity quilt blocks already laid out. 

The final design wall measures 80” by 72 ¾”. 

Post it notes with my DIY design wall calculations | Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs


The materials I used were: 

The reason I chose grey was twofold: 

  • 1 it was the only solid colour I found on sale, and 
  • 2 apparently grey is a true neutral, so I went with it!

So far I'm loving it and would definitely recommend this project for any avid sewer or quilter.




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