If there was just one tip I could give a designer of wall art looking to improve her compositions, it would be: use a design wall. Experienced art quilters wouldn't live without one.
I can't explain exactly how it works, but there's something about seeing your design up on the wall that makes what's working (or not working) jump out. A yellow fabric that looks fine on your worktable suddenly seems jarring when you put your design up on the wall. Or you notice how the embellishing that appears subtle when you're looking down on it completely disappears when the piece is vertical and viewed from a few feet away.
In practical terms, a design wall can save you time and money. Because you can audition fabrics and their placement, you won't waste fabric or have to rip out stitches.
Some quilters like to simply cover a piece of foam core with felt to make a basic design wall, but I wanted to add a little patchwork interest to mine to decorate my quilt studio. When I'm not using it as a design wall, it can serve double duty as a bulletin board!
- Large frame without the glass (I went to the frame section of my craft store and bought the biggest one they had.)
- White and light-colored fabric (Patterned fabric adds interest, but make sure the patterns are low contrast.)
- Piece of foam core cut to size to fit inside the frame
- Black rubber-stamping ink
- Rubber stamps with bold, chunky designs
- PVA glue (such as Aleene's Tacky Glue® or Sobo® glue)
1. Cut 2 1/2"-wide by the width of your fabric strips.
2. Strip piece the long pieces together using a 1/4" seam allowance. Continue to piece until your finished piece is larger than your foam core piece. Press the seam allowances open.
3. Lay your strip-pieced fabric onto your cutting mat so that the lengths are horizontally oriented and rotary cut crosswise into new 2-1/2" strips.
4. Reposition the newly cut strips so different fabrics are next to each other.
5. Piece these new long strips together.
6. Stamp randomly all over.
7. Saturate your brayer with gesso and roll the brayer over various parts of the pieced fabric. Do not cover it entirely, but do roll over the stamped areas to tone down the black ink. Allow to dry.
8. Cover the foam core with the finished patchwork and glue into place so it is taut. Allow the glue to dry.
9. Insert into frame and hang.
That's all there is to it!
This design wall is one of just 13 items you can make for your studio featured in 101 Patchwork Projects + Quilts. In this new, whopping 196-page special issue, you'll also find contemporary patchwork quilt designs as well as more than 90 fun and easy projects for your home, family, pets, and yourself!