Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Portable Design Wall – Tutorial

My sewing room is small and, sadly, I don’t have room for much in the way of a design wall on an actual wall.  Instead, I mostly use a portable design wall.  It isn’t large enough for a full size bed quilt but I can work wall quilts and the better part of a lap quilt on it. 

I’ve been using the same one for years.  It’s gotten a little too much love, and its batting has actually worn through.  Since I needed to replace the batting, I thought I’d show how it’s put together for anyone who may be interested.


  • 3 insulation panels (I used R-Tech) sized 2' by 4'
  • Warm and Natural Batting – 59" by 84"
  • duct tape
  • flat head thumb tacks

Directions:  I was simply replacing my batting so my panels were already taped together, but I think you can get the gist of it here.

  1. The panels have a silver side and a styrofoam plastic side.  Place two panels butting up next to each other with the silver side facing you.
  2. Tape them together using the duct tape (tape both the side facing you and the back side – before taping the back side, fold the panels so that the silver sides meet face to face – then tape the side edges of the panels from the back). 
  3. Line up the third panel, back side to back side, with the middle panel.  Tape the side edges together.  Tape the back as well. 
  4. Your panels now have a tri-fold that allows them to either fold out long and straight or fold together so that they all line up.
  5. Lay out your panels on the floor with the silver (front) side up.  Drape the batting so that it completely covers the panels and has fold over allowance on all sides. 
  6. Fold the batting over the edge of the first panel and tape. 
  7. Continue to tape down the batting, moving down the panel.  You want the batting snug and sag free. 
  8. Joining the panels: with the first two panels that you taped together, you can stretch the batting over the join as if the join wasn’t even there.
  9. The second join (the ones where the panels were placed back to back and had their side edges taped together) needs to have the batting mold to fit the stretch that occurs when the last panel is folded back.  Fold the panels so that they are once again back to back.  Smooth the batting over the edges and use the flat head thumbtacks to hold the batting in place.You can see that as you open up the design wall, the batting will lie flat inside that join.   
  10. Continue to tape the batting down in back.
  11. That’s it.  You are done.  I will admit – the back is not a thing of beauty and someone could probably make the back side prettier, but I’ve never bothered.  What matters to me is that I –

Have a single panel to work with: 

A double panel to work with:

Or a triple panel to work with:

It’s light weight so I can carry it either around the house or to a class or friend’s.  It folds up tight enough that I can just tuck it behind the door when I’m not using it.  It’s been a good friend to me over the years.  I’m looking forward to wearing this one out, too!


  1. Wow..what a neat idea! Love it!

  2. That's a great idea! Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Wow...love your great idea for this, Terrie!

  4. I would never of thought of doing it that way. Very creative and inspiring.

  5. That's a fantastic idea! Thanks so much!

  6. This is fabulous -- I also don't have space in my sewing room for a design wall -- I always use my hallway floor. I can totally do this and I am psyched -- THANKS!!!!....for sharing this cool idea.

  7. Wow! Great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thank you for sharing this; it is a great idea!