Portable Design Wall

Hey Everyone, welcome back to Technique Tuesday.  Today my topic is about how to make a design wall and, in particular, a portable one. I needed one in a hurry this fall for a demonstration I was doing at Country Concessions.

Naturally, I checked out what was available commercially but I just wasn’t happy with the fact that they seemed very flimsy, small and difficult to pin to.  My prime considerations were that I wanted something light and very portable yet substantial.  I also required the ability to pin into it.

I already knew that fabrics stick really well to flannel – who remembers those flannel fabric sticky toys from when we were kids? So, I just needed a way to support the flannel.

Off I went to Home Depot to see what I could come up with. No Home Depot near you? That’s okay, just check out your local hardware/lumber store.

I asked about cork board and was pointed in the direction of the lumber. Here I found sheets of pink styrofoam insulation in all different sizes and thicknesses.

Portable Design Wall 8 ft Styrofoam 1in thick

One piece of pink styrofoam endorsed by the Pink Panther

I chose a piece 2 x 8 feet and 1 inch thick at a cost of $14.

portable design wall stryofoam Home Depot shelf tag

The shelf tag at Home Depot.

Looking at this piece of board a problem became quite apparent to me – it would not fit in my car and strapping it to the roof rack was not an option being so light it would fly away as I drove down the 400 towards home.

{Editor’s Note: it wouldn’t fly away, ’cause I’m sure Jen would have tied it down, but it certainly would have snapped into pieces and THEN flown away. So, okay, maybe it would have flown away!}

I asked a nice man about getting it cut and he said they don’t cut this stuff and then he said just a second.  I stood there while he left and then returned.  Upon his return I told him it won’t fit in my car and I need it cut in half.  He kindly pulled out his pencil and tape measure and drew a line perfectly in the middle then cut it in half with his x-acto knife.  Now I had the 2 pieces that I needed to build the wall.

Once home I taped the design wall together with a piece of Gaffer’s tape. (Duct tape will work just fine, too, and it comes in many different colours now.) Only tape one side so that the tape can act as a hinge letting you fold it in half.

This design wall measures 48 x 48 inches square. A perfect size to travel with and will accommodate designing for smaller quilts and wall hangings. As well, it is a perfect size for those who limited space (you can easily fold it and store it under a bed or dresser).

portable design wall, two halves taped to form a hinge

Tape the two pieces together length wise.

To cover it I used a piece of cotton batting as it is easy to wrap around the styrofoam as well as material will stick to it without having to be pinned.

portable design wall - Cotton batting cover

Cotton batting will work to cover it with.

Cut the piece of batting approximately 4 inches larger all the way around than the design wall. So 52 inches square will work for this design.

portable design wall - styrofoam centred on cotton batting

Place board in centre of batting with about 4 inches of batting showing all the way around.

Place the batting down on a flat surface and then fold over the edges and pin to the back of the styrofoam board.  Do two opposite sides then the other sides as it will be easier to mitre the corners.

portable design wall with cotton cover folded over onto the back with mitred corners

Fold extra batting around to back of design wall.

I used small applqiue pins with a head on them.

Small appliqué pins with heads.

To make the corners nice and smooth I created mitred corners.

Make a mitred corner for a nice smooth look.

A simple and inexpensive design wall that is portable and will fit in the back seat of your car.  Great to take to retreats and classes when a design wall is required.

A lightweight portable design wall.

Another bonus is that it folds in half for easy transport and storage.

Wall folded in half.

Looking for a larger design wall for bigger projects that is still light weight yet more permanent for your studio? Stay tuned as I have built one of those as well – but that is another post.

Until next week, Happy Quilting!

Bargello Sunflower

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