Friday, 18 October 2013

My design wall

So, way back when I first started reading quilting blogs, people would write about their "design walls" and I was pretty skeptical.  I mean really, isn't taking over a whole wall in your house just for quilting stuff a little bit excessive?


And then I got sick of laying quilts out on the floor and the cats running over my careful layouts and disturbing them, so I made this really excellent "temporary" design wall with batting and painter's tape.  Well, my skepticism ended pretty quickly after that.  It's wonderful having a vertical surface to lay quilts out on!  

So that "temporary" design wall became essentially a permanent fixture.  There were two problems though - it was too small, and from time to time the painter's tape would give out and I would come home to find the whole thing (and usually a quilt layout) on the floor.  Not ideal.  So I decided to bite the bullet and put up something more permanent.

My new design wall

This is my nice big new permanent design wall.  It's 85" high by 100" wide, so has plenty of space to lay out a large project (or to work on several small projects as I'm doing here).  I stuck with batting as my surface of choice - I did think about using a flannel sheet or similar but fabric doesn't stick as well to flannel as to batting and I didn't want to have to pin everything on.

I don't have much in the way of DIY skills but I'm willing to give things a go, and for that reason I was quite proud of my efforts at making this design wall.  In case anyone else is interested, I'll describe my method because it was pretty easy and did not require help from anyone else (well, the nice chap at Bunnings (the hardware store) helped me find stuff, but that doesn't really count, does it?).

This design wall is hung in essentially the same way as you might hang a quilt, using a hanging sleeve, a long skinny piece of wood and a couple of brackets on the wall.  So, first I added a really rough hanging sleeve to my batting.  Unlike a quilt hanging sleeve this is not beautifully finished because no-one will ever see it.  I just cut a strip of muslin into 3 pieces approximately 30" by 4", and sewed them to the back of the batting leaving a gap in between each.  I used the longest stitch length of my sewing machine so that if I ever want to use this batting in a quilt, it will be easy to unpick the stitching.

Design wall 2

I then measured the distance between the two gaps in the hanging sleeve.  This was important because it dictated where my brackets should go.  I then marked the points on the wall where the brackets should go, using a tape measure to ensure they were the right distance apart and a level to make sure they were the same height.  I then screwed a plasterboard/drywall anchor (like this one) into the wall at each point.  I don't have a drill so I just used a screwdriver for this bit - it took some effort but it really wasn't too hard.

With the help of the nice man at Bunnings (who didn't look at me like I was totally insane when I explained what I wanted to do), I found some curtain brackets that were just the right size to slot the piece of wood I bought into.  I screwed them to the wall, slipped the wood through the hanging sleeve, and clipped the wood into the brackets (which conveniently line up perfectly with the gaps in the hanging sleeve) and Bob's your uncle.  Excluding the batting, the total cost of making the design wall was less than $30 and it took me a couple of hours, including the trip to Bunnings.  Totally worthwhile, and in the absence of any particularly vicious cat attacks, this design wall should last a long time.

So tell me - do you have a design wall?  Is it permanent like mine or do you move it around, or maybe you just have a design floor, like I did for the longest time?

Linking up with finish it up friday with crazy mom quilts.

14 comments:

Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts said...

Loving the design wall. I made myself one this year too and don't know what I did without it! I hung a flannel sheet once and the cats played in the fabric "puddles" at the bottom overnight and pulled down a design I had pinned up all evening. So now I have a permanent wall!

Beth said...

I still don't have one. Whenever I read posts like this, I say to myself that I am finally going to hang some batting or flannel - maybe after reading yours I will. . . But for now I still use the floor which is definitely not ideal!

Kelly Young said...

awesome! I have those same thoughts sometimes, especially when I'm working on a bigger quilt. It looks great!

:) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

Suz J said...

I have a permanent design wall - batting attached to soft board using spray adhesive, then screwed to the wall. It has moved around a bit - now onto it's third position, so has a few extra holes than when it started. The floor still comes in handy when you have filled up the design wall, which happens quite often! They also make taking photos much easier, as you can get a better perspective. Well done on using some good old Kiwi (girl) ingenuity.

Megan said...

I've thought about making something like yours but I kept wondering if it needed a weight at the bottom too to hold the batting taut. Do you think it is fine as is? Love that cat on the ironing board shot - clearly there is a world-wide cat network that teaches cats how to annoy quilters ;-)

Lyndy at Stitchbird said...

I am jealous. My chances of getting a design wall rest on one of my children moving out so I can get a spare wall. Love Ralph photo bombing on the ironing board.

Kelsey said...

Tat photo is so cute! love that your cat is chillin on the ironing table. So far my design wall has been cat attack free but i'm sure she is still plotting. Give it time..... lol

Cille said...

In between I would say... I have a permanent design wall... But it's too small - around 50x50. The problem is now I need a larger sewing space. Lovely picture :)

Erin Quinn said...

I want one!! I have asked my husband to make me one, but he seems to think this will mean that my quilting "mess" spreads. I think I could do your method by myself though, so I might give it a go. Thanks!
E xx

knitnkwilt said...

Design floor when i had room; then design bed and I'd sleep on the guest bed till the quilt was sewn. Now I have a portable medium size design wall and love it for small projects ( 54 x 54). Bigger ones still get the bed treatment--and since I've downsized, I sleep on the couch till it is finished. Not ideal, but it works. You have a great set up that you have created.

Kirsten said...

I have a design "floor", but would really love a design wall - yours looks great! Love your kitty helper on the ironing board too - as soon as I get ours out, Simba runs away as he doesn't like the sound of it being put up.

Erica said...

How fun! Yours turned out great and it is huge! I am planning on making one sometime in the next couple weeks. In fact I have a gray flannel sheet here waiting to be used but your post is making me think maybe I should take it back and just use batting.

Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts said...

I have a teeny little one, so now I have quilt wall envy!!

jeifner said...

Nary a design wall in sight. Wouldn't mind one but its not going to happen any time soon :)