How to Build a Design Wall

Yesterday, I built a 8' x 12' design wall for my studio! I was actually surprised to find it really wasn't hard and it wasn't expensive. In fact, I'm sad that I didn't do this sooner! I'll outline how I did it, but there's more detailed tutorials all over the internet. If you want to do this in your studio, I suggest you click some of the links at the end of this post and do some research.

4' x 8' Foam insulation board
108" Cream flannel
Duct Tape
2 1/2" nails/hammer
Two people

Foam Board
My insulation looks like this. The other side is plain pink. I put that side facing out so the wording doesn't show through the flannel. It is tongue-in-groove so it fits together really well.

I bought 1" x 4' x 8' foam board at my local home building center for about $17/sheet. I am fortunate to have an unfinished basement as my studio, so I had a large wall to work with. I got three sheets of foam board. The hardest part was getting it home! You can use one sheet for a small portable design wall and two sheets makes a really nice size if that's all the space you have. I wanted three because I can, and I have space to put up multiple projects, sample blocks, ideas, random fabrics, etc.

Cream Flannel
I bought 5 yards of 108" wide flannel. I chose cream because I don't use a lot of cream in my quilts. If you do, consider getting white flannel. It doesn't really matter. Obviously if you are making a smaller design wall, get less. I highly recommend getting the 108" flannel - otherwise you have to piece it together before building your wall. I got mine at Of course if you have narrower flannel on hand, use that to save money!

Note: Some tutorials recommend using batting instead of flannel. In my experience, batting tends to sag on the design wall over time. So I suggest using flannel instead to keep it from sagging later.

Get Started
First, put all your boards together and tape them. I used clear packing tape on the front side and duct tape on the back. The duct tape will show through the flannel, so I used the clear tape there, but it's not as strong as duct tape, so I used duct tape on the backside so it's sturdier.

Then I stretched the flannel (not prewashed) onto the front side and taped it on the back. This is where you'll need help. One person to stretch the flannel and one to tape. You can use clothespins to secure the edges while taping if you don't have help.

Once it's taped, set it up where you want it to go and check that you stretched it tight enough. If not, now is the time to fix it. You don't want any sags.

Nail it to the wall, making sure to hit the studs - if you're attaching to a finished wall. My wall is attached to an unfinished wall. We nailed about 4-5 nails across the top and bottom and a few on the edges. There was no need to nail in the center.

If you don't want it nailed permanently to the wall, you can just tilt it against the wall.

Here's some links to other similarly constructed design walls. If you go on Pinterest, you'll find hundreds of different kinds. Pick out what works for you and get building!

Good luck! Let me know if you find anything that works better than this!

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