A New Design Wall

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Hubs recently earned some extra brownie points by helping me create a brand new HUGE design wall for my sewing room. In my nearly 20 years of quilting I was fine using the floor, tables, portable walls or what have you.

However, now that I’m getting a little more serious about showing and sharing my quilts in public and online, I realized I needed a better solution. I want a larger space so that I can design and photograph bigger quilts.

Foam Core

2 Sheets of Foam Insulation

We started by purchasing 2 huge pieces of foam core from the home improvement store. Each measures 4′ x 8′ and the space we are covering is about 7.5′ x 8′.

After wrestling them in the SUV and taking them home, we cut off about 6″ with a utility knife so it would be the right size.

Design Wall

Jason putting my rulers to work!

Jason drew the straight lines, while I did the cutting. It wasn’t a perfect cut, so we decided to put this side on the bottom where no one would see it. In retrospect, I should have tried my rotary cutter, but this stuff if pretty darn thick! (We tried to get them to cut it at the store but they said they couldn’t. Bummer!)


I’d rather use a rotary cutter than a utility blade, any day!

We then taped the two pieces of foam core together with duct tape on the white side. The other side, the silver side is the “front”.

Tape the Pieces

Tape the Pieces

Next was the hardest part. We bought a king-sized flannel sheet and covered the entire wall by stapling the flannel to the back side. The problem we ran into is that the sheet was not square or even so we had to yank on it quite a bit to make sure it would be nice and smooth on the front. We pinned it to the foam sheet first, then stapled like crazy!


Staple the Sheet

We pulled it so it would be taut and attached it with a ton of staples. The corners were the hardest to finagle so that they would look smooth on the front.

Stapling the Corners

Stapling the Corners

We used my basting tables to work on but you could also do this on a smooth floor if you have enough space. It reminded me of basting a quilt but not as fun, LOL!!

Once everything was in place, it was time to mount it to the wall. Jason did this by attaching it with screws and decorative washers to make it look a little less “industrial”.

Mounting the Wall

Mounting the Wall

I am so happy that I have larger space to design. It adds such a pretty element to my sewing space. Now need to keep some WIP’s on there all the time!

Design Wall

Finished Design Wall, 8′ wide by 7.5′ high.


80 thoughts on “A New Design Wall

  1. Karen Poling says:

    My 8 foot by 8 foot design wall is just like this. Don’t know what I did before the hubs and I made it. It is super for laying up the 99 blocks as I make them for a quilt along I’m doing.

  2. Janice K. says:

    Now that is a NICE design wall! Can I borrow your hubby? LOL!!! Mine may actually try something like this is he saw how it was done. Will get him to check this out. Thanks for sharing.

  3. piecefulwendy says:

    I recall that the old “electric knife” used to be handy when cutting large sheets of styrofoam. I wonder if one of those would work to cut a better edge on these boards? Just a thought, if you have an old electric knife laying around.

  4. Helene Christensen says:

    I made one similar but made the tape hinge on the front so I can fold it in half and transport it when I need d a huge design wall that is portable.

    • Donna Rickman says:

      A couple of weeks ago I talked to a roller shade/blind company in North Vancouver, BC, Canada, and discussed their ability in making quilters a roller shade/blind with flannel backing that could be utilized as a design wall. They are talking to the Supervisors/Managers in their manufacturing area, and indicated they would be getting back to me with the results of this submission. (I sent them pictures of mine, and was told they make roller shades up to 103 inches in width and 70 inches in length – so this may be a solution for many quilters)

  5. MoeWest says:

    I did something very similar. I also used the leftover piece to make a smaller design board that I hung over a table. I sewed plastic rings to the back and used picture hooks for hanging the small one. It’s handy for small projects.

  6. Tiffany says:

    It looks great! I would love to have a design wall simply to have a nice backdrop for taking pictures of my work. Laying things out on the carpet or trying to take pictures of one or two blocks outside just doesn’t work quite as well. 🙂

  7. 8machines says:

    Nice wall. I have always wanted one and my hubby could do it for me. We moved here last May and now we are moving again and I’m sure we will move again. It has too many stairs. But someday…

  8. Sarah @ Berry Barn Designs says:

    Great easy design wall tutorial! I have a smaller wall in my studio – I went the old “wrong side of a flannel backed tablecloth” – and I will say it’s a great motivation having some inspiration pieces and WIP’s up all the time, plus a lifesaver for laying out big stuff. Hope to see you enjoying lots of use out of yours in upcoming posts ; )

  9. Sarah says:

    It looks really good! I am so ready to do something a little more permanent. Right now, my flannel sheet is hanging from a curtain rod and is taped to the wall with duct tape…Not exactly easy on the eyes, but Hubs has convinced me to bare with it until we move next year and then he’ll build me something more like what you have now. It’s only 6 more months…

  10. Peggy Jebavy says:

    This is pretty much what I used in my house and put up the same way. The only difference is I used Felt yardage for the backing. It may not stick quite as well as flannel but I didn’t think of that and pins work just fine so I pin anything that is going to stay long. It doesn’t take much to poke a pin in. I also had an outlet in the way of where we needed to put my design wall. We cut that out and wrapped the fabric around it so it’s covered and I didn’t lose the outlet. I have never appreciated any quilting accessory as much as this wall! I don’t know what I did before I had one.

  11. elsabean says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been thinking I need and I’ve got the perfect place for it too! Thanks for the little tutorial (did you even know you did that?)!

  12. Lis Ostiguy says:

    Wow! What a major undertaking. Kudos to you and Jason. I still use my table. Putting things up on a wall is a different challenge for me as the cats would think it it a scratching post. As it is all my projects are in bags to minimize the cat hair

  13. catskillquilter says:

    I loved reading how you did this, Christa! I have not put up any design wall in my workroom, and realize that I need one! My walls are smaller…thinking of using flannel to “cover” a large closet…

  14. Debi Bielawski says:

    Just finished my renodel and clean out..I started my first project today…but it is so large I I am working on my dining table. Great though. .I know where everything is.

  15. Teje says:

    Fantastic Christa! I’m so happy for you to have that huge white space to create. Looks like your blocks stay there without any pins. x Teje

  16. Alice says:

    What a clever idea. You are lucky to have such a helpful husband to work with you. Mine was like that too and it was a real blessing.

  17. Wendy Rubbo says:

    It looks wonderful! You and your hubby did a great job. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and we will be able to see even more fantastic quilts from you! 🙂

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