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Building a Design Wall

An Essential Element of a Quilting Studio

We are so thrilled to be in our new home in Center City Philadelphia.  As in our former home, we are designating the larger bedroom as my quilting and sewing studio.

I still have no lights and today is a cloudy snowy day but here is my view from my studio window.

As I set up my shelves for storage, and tables for cutting and quilting, one of my first priorities is building my new design wall. I thought I’d share my process for building it with you.

I first went to Lowe’s to buy the rigid insulation.  I needed two pieces, each 8′ high by 4′ wide.   They claimed they could only cut it into pieces using a small box cutter.  That was simply not good enough so I went to Home Depot and, luckily, found a supervisor willing to cut it apart using a straight edge with a box cutter so the pieces were relatively straight.  they actually snapped apart vertically but I also needed them cut in smaller pieces horizontally in order to transport them.

You can see, in the picture below, that I am a big fan of duct tape.  I taped all eight pieces together

The batting I have on hand is Quilters Dream Request which is the thinnest batting.  I use this for my table runners and it comes in a folded 93″ wide piece on a roll. Last time I built a design wall I could see through the batting to the duct tape so this time I used two layers.  I smoothed the batting out on the floor then placed the wall on top.  One layer went vertically and the other went horizontally.  I pulled it tight and taped it down on the back.

The next step was to lay a king size flannel sheet on the floor. I ordered mine from Lands End when they were on sale over the holidays.  You can see in the picture below, the batting on the rigid insulation leaning against the wall is not very tight.  I made some adjustments as I laid it down on top of the flannel sheet.

I bought three 8′ long pieces of 1″ x 2″ lumber.  I lined these up along the vertical edges and the center.  I wrapped the flannel sheet as tight as possible around these and stapled them in place.  I soon discovered the staples came right out of the rigid insulation so stapled them right into the wood.  With a combination of more duct tape and staples I managed to get everything pretty secure.

My ceilings in this room are 8′ so the design wall will be flush with the ceiling.  I just have it leaning against the wall for now.  I want to be sure I have the whole room arranged just the way I want it before screwing it into the wall.  I need to figure out where the lights will be hung and where all the electrical cords will go first.  I will probably have a power strip plugged into the electrical  socket behind the design wall, running underneath the wall so I have access to power.   Lights are scheduled to be installed next Thursday.

I sold my longarm machine to Barbara Mack who so kindly allowed me to keep it in her walkout basement while I was staging my former house to sell.  Her father did an amazing job of dismantling it and keeping everything extremely organized so that he could rebuild it in her space.  We decided it would be much easier for her to just keep that machine there instead of dismantling it and moving it to my new studio.

I just ordered a new machine for myself and should have it installed in a couple of weeks.  It’s all finally coming together!  Can’t wait!



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