Thursday, January 5, 2012

Design Wall Tutorial

I was with Diane today who is getting ready to open her second Quilters/Crafters retreat next week!! and we were making the design walls for the workroom.   I mentioned how we have had many people ask us about the design walls in the classroom at the shop, and she said,  "You should do a tutorial!" 
So like any good blogger I whipped out my camera and away we went!
Here is what you need:
A well ventilated room
A friend
A large work surface ( a clean floor would be okay but I like a table--not thing you can't wipe down because glue and flannel bits get everywhere on it and make a mess--DO NOT coat a nice table with newspaper or your pretty white design wall will be dirty!)
6"x24" ruler
Duct Tape*
Loctite* or other spray on glue/adhesive suitable for multiple surfaces including fabric!
Nice pair of scissors
108" flannel (available at Quilters Crossing)
1 4'x8' sheet of residential insulation board or styrofoam board* 
(*the spray glue, duct tape, razor and insulation board are found at a local home improvement store)

First you measure the area you want to cover with design wall, if you do not want the whole piece use your ruler and razor to cut the foam board down until it is exactly how big you want it. 
We needed a large design wall so we left it intact.
Next measure out your flannel - with 108" flannel you have plenty of length so you won't have a seam in your design wall. Measure out your width plus add 10-12" extra to wrap around the back so you have a nice finished looking edge.
 (You don't have to cut precisely or neatly here so no need for a rotary unless that is handy)
Next lay your insulation board plain side up on your work surface and cover it with your flannel making sure there are a few inches all around extra.
Now fold back one half of the flannel like so and spray on the glue after shaking it well.
Now here is where you really need a friend. You gently smooth the flannel you had folded back, over the now glued tacky area. Keep the loose part held up out of the glue. Starting in the middle and working out towards the sides and end lay the flannel down. Smooth out wrinkles as you lay it down, if you get a ripple or wrinkle just gently pull it up and re-smooth.
Repeat the process on the other end of the foam sheet:
fold back, spray:
Smooth you have this now:
It is nice, smooth and glued down on the foam but loose on the sides. Flip it over:
Now you are going to pull the loose bits to the back side. Start with the corners. Have your handy friend cut pieces of tape for you while you pull it snug like doing hospital corners on a bed- It won't be perfect but you won't see it at all on the front so don't worry.
Hold with your finger then place the duct tape to hold it in place. Be sure to catch a bit of the foam board as well as the fabric. Repeat for the other corners.
Using the duct tape put the tape on the edges of the flannel and give a little pull to make sure it is snug and place the tape down on the foam as shown:
(It won't be perfectly even if you cut it really straight because of all the pulling and smoothing when you were on the other side)
So now you have completely taped down the loose edges:
 And when you flip it over....
 it looks like this: perfect and ready to hang!
Use a drill to screw right through these in the four corners wherever you want your design wall. Make sure your screws are 1/2" -1" longer than your design wall is thick so they'll reach the wall. 
(Some styrofoam is pretty thick and
 you'd need really long nails for it)
For a fun touch you can even cover up each of the screw heads with a button like we do at the shop! 
Or maybe you have another idea to personalize yours.
The table will have received some of the glue spray 
(as well as your clothes, skin and hair if you aim like I do!) and then the flannel touches it you get this mess fuzzy sticky residue on your table but will wash off easily with a little soap and water.


  1. Thanks for all your help today, Mandy. I especially like how you wrote the measurements for some of the cut-outs on your hand...with red Sharpie!

  2. Love the tutorial! Hope to have a wall large enough one day to do this