Why you need a Design Wall, stat!

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Why you need a Design Wall, stat!

Remember way back when, Paula over the The Sassy Quilter posted a most excellent make your own design wall tutorial. At the time, I didn’t have a design wall and wasn’t in a huge rush to make one. I’d been getting along just fine right? After seeing Paula’s post and realizing all of the professional quilters I know have design walls, I thought maybe I should just try it out. I took down all of the decorations from the dining room wall and hung one of the Fons and Porter portable design walls. The first quilt to try it out? That’s One Hot Dog!


You can see I just tossed the fabric strips on the wall and moved them around as I needed to. Taking a step back and looking at them was the most efficient I had ever been choosing which fabrics stayed and which went. Why hanging fabric on a wall is more effective than in a random pile on my table – I’m not sure. It is though, noticeably so.

One thing I found extra great and unexpected was the ability to build this quilt on the fly. I knew the size of the fabrics I had, made a few cuts and put them up on the wall. I never once did any math for figuring out what size the white pieces, face, or feet needed to be. I just took baby steps through each section, measured right on the wall and cut pieces to fit.


I was pretty sold on this design wall bit. So much so, that I didn’t even bother to put the pictures back on the wall. I started working on the next quilt, Futurama, and immediately ran into a problem.


The ability to work on these quilts vertically had quickly become a serious part of my process. Now, I’m reaching a limitation in size. The Futurama panels fit ok at this point, but it you see by the logo that it wasn’t going to work for long. This is the point were things get crazy.

Here’s my dining room, table and rug removed


I kept clearing out, moved some furniture, started a little de-construction project and was left with one big giant wall.


I followed Paula’s Design Wall how to, except I had room for TWO sheets of foam insulation boards.

SuedresDiningRoom (2)

Ta-da!! Now we’re talking!


Yep, big enough for an entire queen size quilt! I had one last issue to solve, I didn’t really love the batting background. The “bright white” color of it was a little stark and affected the colors of the fabrics I was working with. I purchased a king size flannel 50% gray sheet to take its place. The fabric does not “stick” to the flannel as well as it does to the batting. To get around that, I just use straight pins to tack the heavier pieces in place.

After all that effort – look who got to it first


Now I know something crazy like trading a dining room for somewhere to hang quilts isn’t an option for everyone.  I urge you to find what is an option for you. Looking at your quilts, their colors, layouts, and balance is unmatched by putting them up on the wall and stepping back. Just give it a try and see where it takes you!

Do you have a design wall? Want to preach is awesomeness?? I want to hear it! Sound off in the comments.

Thanks to these awesome link party hosts!
Freemotion by the River


  1. OMG, that Futurama quilt!!!! *faints*

  2. I don’t know how I didn’t see this post before. I think a design wall would be so useful but it’s a struggle to find wall space. We seem to have a window/door/fireplace/radiator allocated to the middle of each wall already to the extent that it’s hard to fit in things like beds and bookcases. I must ponder how much furniture I can dispose of without my family noticing…

  3. You’re so adventurous and that is a great idea. Awe look at your girl getting into it! I love that! Hope you’re having a great weekend! Julia

    • yeah, pretty awesome weekend indeed! Glad to be home and moving forward to new projects. Summer is here!

  4. Wow, you really know how to make a design wall! Love that you just claimed the dining room wall for it!
    Though i did take over an entire wall of our living room with my “temporary” design wall that has been stapled up, so there’s that! The flannel sheet is a good idea too, i’m using two flannel backed vinyl tablecloths… with cupcakes, and you can totally see the cupcakes on the reverse side. Kind of distracting!

    • heh! Well, at least it is “sweet”!


What say you?