Quilting Blog

Create Your Own Portable Design Wall (It’s Easy!)

While we’d all love a quilting room with a huge design wall, not everyone has an entire wall that they can dedicate full-time to crafting. So we turned to Craftsy instructor Nancy Smith, who shared a great idea for a space-efficient portable alternative. Just use it anywhere and stash it in any room or closet — no wall space required.

Quilt Inspiration Board How-To

Here’s what you’ll need:

Portable Quilt Board Materials

Here’s what to do:

Step 1:

Using your utility knife, cut the foam core to your desired dimensions. (We chose to cut multiple smaller boards, but you can go as big or small as suits your needs.)

Step 2:

Cutting quilt batting with rotary cutter

Using your scissors or rotary cutter, cut a piece of batting large enough to cover the front of your board and fold over onto the back. (No need to completely cover the back of the board — just make sure enough batting is available to attach the edges to your board.)

Step 3:

Ironing out battingIron your batting to smooth out any wrinkles.

Step 4:

Spraying adhesive to quilt board

Apply spray glue or preferred adhesive to the front of your board.

Step 5:

Center batting on foam board

Center batting, attach it to the adhesive and let dry.

Step 6:

Apply spray glue or preferred adhesive to the sides of your board, as well as the area on the back where you will attach your batting.

Step 7:

Folding batting over board

Fold batting over the sides and onto the back of the board, attaching it to your adhesive as you go. (On the back, fold the excess fabric at the corners as you would a gift.)

Step 8:

Your design wall is ready! If you’d like to hang it, you can do so safely by following the directions on your 3M Command™ Strips packaging.

Step 9:

DIY Quilt Design Board

To use use your design wall, just stick fabric pieces straight to the batting — no pins required!

Get more expert tips for getting your makerspace ready for quilting season here.



Thank you for this! I live in a small house with very little room to spare, and definitely not enough for a design wall. This will definitely help!

Christina in FL

And I adore the foam core board! IF I need to use pins, I can, but I don’t have to with the batting. 🙂 And my pieces on the board are art as well. 🙂 Winner idea, thanks!

Wanda W

This might be a dumb question but what is Foam core insulation board and where do you get it?

Jenny G

Foamcore is two poster boards with stiff foam between. You can find it at any craft or art store, probably also at Walmart or Target near the art supplies.


Foam core insulation board is a rigid polystyrene or polyurethane product formed into sheets that are used mainly in building construction. Lightweight and easy to handle.

You can find it at Walmart, Lowes, or Home Depot, just to name a few.

Jean Bosse

Michael’s and Hobby Lobby also carry it.


You can also use flannel instead of batting. It is a lot cheaper and lots of variety if you want to leave on your wall.

Kathie Fleming

I use the back of cheap vinyl tablecloths.
Spraybasting helps pieces stick and can be simply repositioned over and over but pieces adhere to flannel back. I also use this to spray baste smaller projects.

Ria Favoreel

I used black felt …

Sunny Chandonais

Great idea IF you have space to hang it. A good friend did something like this but instead made a folding “design wall” similar to a room divider. She stores it in front of her closet stash and folds it up when not in use. It folds in two parts and gives three large spaces to hang pieces on.


Is your friend’s design wall made from foam core board for her folding panel? If so, how did she attach the panels together?

Thanks for sharing!


Place boards together and use duct tape. Tape down the side like book binding. You can fold in half for storage under bed, in closet…..open for use.


This is perfect. I’ve been looking for directions for a design wall. I want to attach it to a wardrobe closet sliding door (in my sewing room). I was figuring it out myself but these directions make it easier. Great tip. Thanks

Ana from The Lost Apron

What kind of iron and ironing board (with the grid) are used in the photos above?


Looks like a portable cutting/ironing board. One side cutting mat and the other an ironing surface.


Follow-up answer……. June Tailor Quilter’s Cut’n Press II


I made a portable design wall a couple of weeks ago and I love it! I used a tri-fold foam core board, glued the fold seams to keep it flat, and covered it with a large piece of felt that was leftover from another project. I added a length of ribbon to the back to fit over the command hooks I put on the outside of my sliding closet door. It works perfectly!
it’s about 28″ by 40″ and I have 15 blocks (9″) on it ready to put together. I saw one that was 36″ square that cost $89. I couldn’t possibly spend that much money for a design board! I’d rather use it to add to my fabric stash. Happy quilting!

Mariette Forget

Hi! Thanks a million for showing us how to make a design wall!

Nancy Johnson

My design wall is a $3 vinyl table cloth from Big Lots, and 3 , 3M hooks. When I quilt . i hang the 3 hooks on any wall . and hang the tablecloth flannel side out and viola. I can layout all my blocks, stand back admire, photo and change around. When I’m done I can fold it up and put it with my other table clothes.

Lois Michielli

What an awesome idea! You could even lay it out on a spare bed!


Plastic coreboard is what the auto dealers use for outside advertising signs. Because they usually change the signs every month, you may be able to get one from them when they are finished with them. There are two sizes, and the larger one folds in half. You could always use one of these and just cover with either flannel or batting.


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