Thursday, May 24, 2012

Easiest Ever Design Wall

My sewing room or quilting studio is ever evolving.

What do I consider are the must-haves for such a room, besides all the necessary equipment, of course?
  • Storage Space
    1. For fabrics
    2. Rulers and templates
    3. Threads and bobbins
    4. Books on quilting
    5. Projects in progress
  • A sewing machine cabinet
  • A cutting table
  • An ironing table
  • One or more design walls
  • et al
In the last 20+ years, I've been concentrating my efforts on organizing, and sometimes installing, the first four must-haves.  And for 20+ years I've been dreaming of and conceptualizing the ideal design wall.  So many wasted years of placing, arranging, re-arranging and designing quilts on my bed.
Using bed for a design wall 
A few years ago, I sent for a design wall kit from Fons and Porter's (F&P) mail-order shop and a couple of nights ago, I decided to bite the bullet and try installing it myself.  Well, as you can imagine, I couldn't find the kit even though I searched and looked in all the most logical places.  LOL!  But, guess what?  Right under my nose was another flannel sheet, probably purchased for this very purpose, but it wasn't very big - about 3' by 4'.  I imagined a whole wall devoted to designing! :)

This wall is located between the bookshelf and door
So I kept searching and finally found the F&P kit.  I swear to have looked in that exact same place before!  And it was a whopping 60" x 72"!  Awesome!  It really isn't a kit because it doesn't contain the hardware (or software) to install the design wall.  It's simply a flannel-backed vinyl table cloth with 2" squares printed on the vinyl side of the fabric.  The 2" squares are dark enough that they show through on the flannel side.  Oh, forgive me my transgressions!  There is some hardware in the form of grommets along the 'top' edge of the table cloth.  
Grommets on top edge of flannel backed vinyl
I picked up some 3M photo frame hangers and required Command strips from JoAnn Fabric and Crafts.
Medium and small Command strips
 It was really difficult to line up the grommets exactly which kept falling off the hangers, so I used medium sized Command strips to attach the vinyl sheet to the hanger, just below the grommets.  So that took care of the top of the design wall.
Medium sized Command strips
Then the flannel sheet was smoothed out and stretched from side to side and the smaller Command strips were put to use.
Small Command strips
The small Command strips are used in pairs.

These are used in pairs
The velcro sides are pressed together to fasten.

Velcro sides are zipped together
The protective paper backing is removed to expose a sticky surface which is pressed on the wall with the tabs pointing down and allowed to cure for 30 minutes.  The protective layer on top is then removed and the vinyl sheet is stretched and adhered to the sticky tape.  I did this all the way down the two sides, stretching and sticking from side to side and top to bottom.
Voila! The design wall is ready for action!
 If for any reason the design wall needs to be taken down, all one has to do is pull on the tabs in a downward motion until it stretches about 12 inches and the Command strips come right off without damaging the wall!

Not only do I have a design wall, but I also have a flat surface with a white background on which I can place my projects to photograph them.  It is far enough away that I can move to the opposite wall to get a good view when it's time to arrange units in a block, or blocks in a quilt.

What am I most proud of?  That I did this all on my own, without using a hammer or nails!



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