02 April 2013

Make a Design Board

If you were following me on social media yesterday, you may have seen the  pictures of my design board.

Which I made.

All by myself.

With my husbands staple gun.

While he’s away.


Design Board by SameliasMum


I have no space to lay out quilt blocks. I could use the floor, but I have children who don’t look where they’re walking. In the old house, I had a huge 6’ x 6’ shelf (from Ikea) with a curtain rail (also from Ikea) screwed along the top. It came with little clips which held the fabric. I could hang my batting and use that space as a design wall, but now I don’t have that luxury.

So I’ve wanted a design wall for the longest time – and finally made one of sorts. It’s not a wall, but it’s a board.

I have to admit that it wasn’t rocket science – but I took great satisfaction in using the staple gun. I’d never used one before and had no idea how to even load it, but with persistence comes victory – right?

I bought a large white canvas from the dollar shop. My canvas measures 30” x 40”. There was a larger one there, but I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to get it home, so this size was good enough for the job at hand.


Design Board Ingredients


I then sent my husband a text message asking where I could find the staple gun. He was very good with his instructions and led me into the garage, into his blue tool box and into the second drawer in the bottom section.

It was the first time I’d inspected his tool box. It’s a mix between electric and royal blue. It is quite shiny. It has  lot of drawers. A lot of space. And I think it’s seriously under utilized. Now, if a quilter had that amount of drawers and spaces, we’d have them crammed full of bits and pieces without batting an eyelid.

So anyways, where was I. Oh yes, my Design Board… I got a large piece of batting and made sure it would cover the whole front and fold back enough that I could staple it into the wooden frame.

It was then a matter of going around and pulling the batting quite tightly, but still ensuring it was straight-ish. I didn’t want to pull it too firmly on one side and then realise that it wasn’t going to cover the other side – know what I mean?


Design Board Attachment


And that is basically it. About 5 minutes of work and I have a lovely Design Board to use when creativity strikes.

It is currently filled with Dresden Plate blocks and Wagon Wheel Blocks. As you can guess, I’ve been playing with my wedge ruler.


Do you have a Design Wall or Design Board?

How did you make yours?


  1. This is a great space saver! Love that he knew exactly where the staple gun is - my hubby would have no idea where anything is in his shed!

  2. I love your idea of using a canvas as backing as it would be nice and rigid. Might have to consider doing that myself!

  3. I got a piece of 4' x 8' foam board from the hardware store. Applied spray adhesive and smoothed on a large piece of white flannel, then nailed it to the wall in my sewing room. I love it!

  4. My design "wall" is a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth (from our favourite Big Box Store!) hung on a curtain rail using eyelets and shower curtain rings from that Big Hardware House in front of a built in wardrobe I need access to! You can see part of it here (if you like):

  5. I have been thinking about a design wall for ages and then I saw yours and now I am not just thinking about it but really considering getting one.
    Two things: What wadding did you use? and Does it matter?
    I see that someone has used flannel and someone else a flannel backed tablecloth so I was wondering why you choose wadding and if this is the best or if it is just what you had handy etc.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks so much for sharing this, I think I need to go and brave the garage to see if we have a staple gun.

  6. Love your idea" I have a small one on my wall but would love to have more room so may use your ide and make a portable one. could hite it under the bed or someeeeeee place when I am not using it.

  7. what a great idea - I'm thinking a few smaller ones would be great for taking blocks from said design wall to sewing machine too !! thanks :)

  8. I've got a baby's flannel sheet that I've been waiting to make a design wall with, but not had a clue!!!! I'm off the the $2 shop to get me a canvas!!! Thanks for the fantastic idea!!!!! sweeeeeet!
    sugary hugs
    Wendy :O) xo

  9. Good idea - nice and light too! I would use flannel that would be cheaper, right? I am dying to make a dresden right now...

  10. I also used foam board from the dollar only store. I covered it with white flannel and used the black heavy duty clips (dollar store) to hang from two anchored screws. I'm thinking that if you put 2 or 3 foam boards next to each other, you can have it as large as you need for your available space, yet be easy to take up or down as needed---plus storing it would not be a problem.
    There are different kinds of expensive adhesive hooks if you don't or can't screw into the wall.
    The back of a flannel tablecloth using the clips like the above method works also, but without any board backing.

  11. My design wall is a Fons & Porter flannel sheet with a 2" gridded vinyl backing I purchased several years ago. It got lost in the mess in my sewing closet until I began working on a project that needed proper placement and I actively began to hunt for it. You can read all about the construction on my blog at

  12. Isn't it amazing what we can do when we have smaller spaces? Brilliant idea!

  13. how does thee canvas wear with pins going in? I was wondering if you would eventually tear a hole in it.

    1. You don't use pins. Friction holds the pieces in place. I have hung finished quilts on my wall to photograph them just by pressing them onto the surface.

  14. What Wedge Ruler? just curious. Love your design wall too, so practical for those who don't have that room or space.

  15. Which dollar store did you find a canvas that big? Love this idea???

  16. Good idea. I also made one from a cardboard picture in which i added a piece of flannel like material (a old blanket i had) and stapled it around the cardboard pic and have it resting on my recipe book stand in my sewing room. If i can figure out how to send a pic i will....

  17. Cover batting (size of your choice) with flannel. Secure it to the wall with carpet tack strip.

  18. Cover batting (size of your choice) with flannel. Secure it to the wall with carpet tack strip.

  19. what a great idea ... like you, i don't currently have wall space for my 'hanging' design wall ... but this one .. i surely would have room for ... cos it could live under the bed when not in use .. which would probably be ummmm .. never ... but that is what i will tell hubby and he will like that ... haha ... am certainly going to look at doing this when i get back from my little holiday ...
    thanks for the tutorial ...

  20. I got a very large piece of cardboard from my friend who owns an auto body repair shop. The cardboard is extra stiff, but very lightweight. I went to Joanns and bought some flannel from the red tag section. I trimmed the cardboard to about 36x48 and laid the flannel over, tucked it around the back, folding the corners neatly. Extra wide duck tape secured the flannel to the back. Its fantastic because I was storing it behind the door to my sewing room/office but now it gets tucked behind my bookshelves and out of the way. The board is now almost 2 years old and even moved 650 miles from NY to VA a few months ago!

  21. Brilliant, using a stretched canvas. Nice and lightweight!

  22. I use "foam" poster board that I have gotten from the Dollar Store....cover it with "Warm and Gentle" batting and use "Duck Tape" to the back to hold the batting in place. If you use the tape very sparingly you can remove it without damage to the "foam" poster board and any time your child is in desperate need of a poster board for a last minute school have one!! :)

  23. Great idea! I don't quilt but was thinking it would be good for designing clothes. You could draw a scaled down version of your front and back on the flannel and use scrap material to get an idea of what your finished garment will look like. Sounds great for trying to figure out color blocking etc!

  24. Do you pin your trial blocks on or do they just stick? ITs a great idea by the way.

  25. Oh thanks for the great idea! I am headed to by garage to dig into my trash can. I threw out some canvases that I used for painting classes years ago. Now I know what I can use them for!!

  26. I love all these tips! My apartment is a 2 BR for 4 people and I need sll the space saving I can get!

  27. I have used for the last 20 years a large piece of 72" wide felt. It has a sewn casing in the bottom that I slip in a couple pieces of doweling to keep it close to the wall. It is hung from the wall such in the hallway, or sewing studio, wherever I have room. I am happy to see your idea, because I am deciding if I will use my method or go to something new that I can put up temporarily in front of the clothes closet.

  28. I so love your design board..thank you and I am off to make one myself...and don't you just love using the staple gun??


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