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How to Build a Quilt Design Wall

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Some say having a quilt design wall is a luxury but I say it’s a necessity for all quilters! A quilt design wall can be permanent (mounted to a wall in your house) or made to move around. The basic materials are a foam board covered with felt or quilt batting. Foam is great because you can use pins if you want too.

I’ve been using this same quilt design wall for 6 years now! Using pins has never caused a problem. I did need to replace some of the duct tape after a few years, but the wall is still as sturdy and wonderful as ever.

For this Quilt Design Wall design you’ll need:

  • 2 foam core insulation boards 4’ x 8’

  • duct tape

  • 3 1/2 yards of 108’’ wide flannel fabric


I found foam core insulation boards at our local home improvement store. They cost about $14 each. Just so you know – you can fit these in a Honda Odyssey minivan if you lower the back seat and take the headrests off of the middle seats.

I also picked up a roll of white duct tape while I was there.

108’’ wide flannel is usually available at Joann’s and also on Amazon. I chose a mottled cream colored flannel that won’t distract from my quilt pieces. Perfect!


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How to Assemble the Quilt Design Wall

1. Cut the flannel into two pieces, each about 63’’ x 108’’ (two 1 3/4 yard pieces). Iron the flannel if needed.

Cut some of the height off of the the insulation boards, if desired or necessary to move the quilt design wall around your house. I cut 9’’ off the length of each of my boards so they could easily stand up and be moved around all the rooms in my house.

2. Spread one piece of flannel out on the floor, right side down and lay one of the insulation boards on top.

Leave about 6-10” of flannel around the board and cut away the rest.

Then wrap and fold the flannel to the back and tape it all around with plenty of duct tape.

Repeat to wrap both foam boards with flannel.

Note: Kaffe Fasset says that he glues the flannel to his quilt design boards, but I don’t. It seems like it would be too much of a mess.

3. Stack the foam boards with the flannel sides together and tape all along one long edge.

Open the boards and place them flannel side down. Place three or more long (4’ or longer) pieces of duct tape horizontally that will act like long hinges.


What I love about this design wall is that it stands on it’s own – kind of like a giant greeting card, and when I want to put it away I can fold it up (even with stuff on it) and slide it behind a bookshelf.

Most of my quilt blocks stick to it all by themselves. Some of the larger ones, or blocks with lots of seam allowances need a pin or two to help them stay on. But the foam core is easy to pin.


My daughter quickly recognized the benefits of this wall also so now we share it.

So, do you have a quilt design wall? Did you make it yourself? Please share!


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16 Comments

  1. Thunder Kaplan says:

    Yes I have a design wall !! It is two pieces of that board placed sideways. Bolted to the wall in my hallway. It is covered with a thin fleece, I got on sale. 🙂 I love it. It’s hard to get a good photo being in the hallway, but I did not have a good wall space in my studio.

  2. I am a retired kindergarten teacher and used my PVC pocket chart stand with felt stretched over it. It isn’t as big as I would like, but it is portable and can be broken down to store when I’m not using it. I really like your idea of using foam board though. It is light weight and is also portable and gives you al large surface to use for design.

  3. Margaret Warren says:

    I made a design wall from a vinyl table pad I had bought intending to cut it to fit my table, but never did! It is flannel backed and quite large. I glued foam boards at the top on the vinyl side, that is, after I sewed a pocket along the top to run a cafe rod though. I installed the cafe rod with small hooks, ran the rod thought the pocket of the pad and hung it in my hallway next to my sewing room. By gluing the foam boards just to the top, I can stick pins in it to hold the heavy quilt as I sew and after it’s done. The blocks stick to the flannel side as I sew them. I have a picture of my finished quilt on the wall in my Facebook page.

  4. Margaret E Warren says:

    I love reading your tutorials and checking out all the beautiful things you and others have made!

  5. I made a very similar wall with foam board and quilt batting but I used a staple gun to attach the batting to the board and finishing nails to attach the foam board to the wall in my sewing room. I love that you can move yours around, but my room just isn’t big enough to have a free-standing board. =( Anyway, if your tape starts to not hold, you might try the staple gun. Love all your pretty blocks on the board.

  6. I do have a design wall, but it is large piece of felt, at least 20 years old, that I have hung freely on the wall in the hallway. I use this to lay out my quilt blocks (they usually stick to the felt by themselves). I also use it to spray baste quilts. It works perfectly for me in our small home.

  7. Lynn Douglass says:

    I made one just like this, but attached it to my wall. I also chose not to use the glue, and I’ve since wished I had, as the flannel does stretch and sag. I need to remove mine from the wall and make it portable (my son moved back home), so I’ll redo it with spray adhesive.

  8. Patricia Miller says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this and answering my question on how to do this. Your time is very much appreciated.✂️😊📐

  9. I made one very similar to yours with 2 pieces of insulation boards and flannel, but I used the hot glue gun to secure it. It has worked great and the flannel stayed tight for 10 years. I move it around the house all the time. A design wall is a MUST for fabric artists! 🎨✂️

  10. My daughter made one for me following your directions, and it is great; however, I ended up stapling the fabric to the back.. The duct tape didn’t hold.

  11. What is the thickness of the board you used?

  12. Mine is also made of foam core boards. I used Warm and White batting, just sewed it like a slip cover. I have two boards and am lucky enough to have a wall that they lean against. I did not glue them either, I’ve been using them for years now. Just run a lint roller over them when they get to much lint on them. I also have a 4 x 4 ft panel I put above my sewing table for ideas, and simple patterns I use a lot. Love my design wall

  13. I really like your idea. I am going to try that. I like the portability as I don’t want to attach it to my wall.

    Also thank you for all the cool patterns and ideas that you share. I really love to read your blog! Great patterns. Just need more time!!

    Thanks again!!

  14. Patti Neavin says:

    I love all of these ideas! I have some wire shelves on wheels that I got from Amazon. I put batting on the back of them so I can just turn them around when I want to use them as a design wall. Works great!

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