Sunday, August 16, 2009

Large Design Wall Tutorial...

Webster's definition of procrastinate: to put off doing until later; delay. Well, this tutorial is the perfect example of procrastination. Why did it take me so long? Why did I put it off until now? I made the larger frame at the same time I made this smaller frame, but when it came to sewing the fabric for the covering, that's where I put it aside.
I've had so many emails about the tutorial for the larger design wall, I put my frustration with the fabric part behind me and here we are...
This large design wall measures about 6 feet by 4 feet. You can use the easel leg or you can just lean it up against a wall in your sewing room. See the original tutorial in conjunction with this one for all instructions.

The pvc pipes I used are 3/4" and they come in 10 foot lengths. You will need three -10 foot pipes.

You will also need:
4 corner pieces (90 degree angle) smooth on the inside, no threads. Make sure all parts are for 3/4" pipes
1 T unit (has 2 opening on the sides and 1 on the bottom)
1 cap cover for the tripod leg, just to finish off the edge
rubber mallet
tape measure
hack saw
and skip the box of velcro...that was for the frustrating fabric part that I won't be sharing!!!

Here are the measurements that you will be cutting from the three -10 foot pvc pipes.
From each pipe cut:
*three -6 foot pieces
*you will have three 4 foot pieces left over.
*keep one at 4 feet
*cut the second in half so you will have two 24" pieces
*and the third pieces is just a left over.
this is the set up for assembly:
the two 24" piece on the top with the "T" joiner in the middle
the 4 foot piece on the bottom
the three 6 foot pieces are the sides and the tripod leg.

close up of the top.

close up of the "T" on the top row.

close up of one of the four corners.

The next few pictures are of the assembly and measuring of the top row.
Take the two 24" pieces and with the mallet or hammer, tap each piece into the "T" into the side holes.

Take the bottom pipe that is 4 feet and just mark a line at the half way point of 24 inches.

Now take the assembled top row (with the "T" in the middle) and match the halfway pencil mark of the bottom 4 foot pipe to the center of the "T".

Because the "T" adds some inches to the length of the pipe, you need to make sure your top pipe and the bottom pipe are the same size. The picture below shows the extra inches on each side.

Trim the extra pipe with your hack saw.

Now your top and bottom pipes are the same size. (it doesn't look like they are in this picture, but they are.)

All you need to do now is tap all the parts together!!!

To make the tripod leg go back to keep the frame standing up, just twist the "T" joint and the leg until it's at the angle that you want.

Now for a very short version of the fabric frustration. I tried to make a single layer for the fabric cover, because this frame is so large. However, you need the fabric to be taught on the frame not loose where the quilt blocks will fall off. I sewed 2 rod pockets for the bottom pipe and one of the side pipes, then I used velcro for the other side and the top to pull it tight around the pipes. Not be honest...looked like crap!!!
My suggestion is to make the same type covering as I did for the small a pillow case. You will use more fabric, but when the front gets dirty, all you need to do is turn it around. The only difference with the larger pillow case is you need to slip the cover over the frame before you add the tripod leg. Make your slip cover out of felt or flannel according to your measurements of the finished frame. See how I measured in the other tutorial (every one's measurements will be a little different, depending on how hard you've hammered the pipes together.) Slip it over the frame and then cut a small hole in the fabric where the "T" joint is, then add your tripod leg.
If you don't want a free standing design wall, you don't have to add the leg. All you need to do is just lean the frame against a wall.
If anyone can think of a better method on how to cover this monster, let me know and I'll share it with everyone.
I'm so happy I can finally check this off my "To Do" list. Actually, I have a lot checked off's a good feeling.
See you at the hardware store in the pvc aisle!!!


  1. I like it. I wonder could you in some way clamp to the sides and top a picnic table cloth that has the flannel on the back to it in some way so you can "stick" you fabric to the flannel? I have room to make a small version of this but I don't have room for anything of the size you show. I would be tripping over it! LOL I have such a small narrow room.

  2. I love PVC! What a great idea, both the big one and the smaller one.

    To cover the big one, I think making a covering just like you did for the smaller one would work fine. You would just put it on from the bottom of the big one and add some velcro dots or strips to close it around the top of the frame and the T.


  3. WOW, that is some frame! Wonderful tutorial!

  4. Very nice tutorial! You are awesome!

  5. Love it love it love are so handy! I HAVE to make me up one of these. Thanks Karen for posting about this one xo

  6. Hi Karen,
    What a lovely idea to make a design wall. My DH helped me make one this weekend.

    I used felt to hold the fabric and made sleeves and putt the pipes through it. I will post pictures on my blog and a link to your blog!
    Thank you for the tutorial!

    Happy sewing!


  7. WOW... thank you for the tutorial!! I was just looking for a portable design wall to take to bees and retreats.

  8. Great tutorial!! Thank you for sharing how to make this. I think the pillow case cover idea is a good and easy one to do. Just reversing it when it gets dirty is perfect for my lifestyle.
    Love this blog!

  9. I Love your design wall, perfect for my sewing room, & thank you for your work on this.
    Have you seen one that's sold now @ the quilt shows using bungee-corded tent poles? They are the little ones for a pup tent, about 1/2" diameter. Unless you got a cheap tent @ a yard sale or thrift shop, I'm sure those would be too much. Perhaps if I find a deal on an old tent with "shock-cords", I would prefer it for a portable design wall for classes/ travel. Let us know if you try this & can blog it. Of course then I would have to figure what to make with the rip-stop nylon from the tent;)

  10. Snaps? How about snaps to keep the fabric taut (sp?) over the four sides? I see something (in my head) with two flaps at the top and one flap for each side and the bottom . . . and a few snaps per side as needed to hold the fabric nice and tight around the back side?

  11. BTW, LOVE this, thinking of making one for craft/vendor booths to have my logo signage on! Cheap and lightweight and TALL, which is always good for those events!!!!

  12. Thanks for this tute! I made two of them to take to a quilting retreat I'm hosting this week. Took me a little while as I was having to piece together the flannel bits from blankets but in the end, works a treat. The frame came together great! They're nice & big enough for multiple people to use. I'll tell everyone where I got the idea!

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  14. You are so imaginative, and creative. Congratulations and thankyou. I am desparate for a design wall, and the little on is just fabulous, I use cotton wadding(batting) as my fabric hung on a curtain rod, so this is just brilliant. I got side tracked and came to check out the large frame, and it got me thinking, you could use the method they use for the snap quilting frames to keep the fabric tight. Again thanks for the inspirations.

  15. Hi, i went to a quilting retreat and one gal made her wall in two sections and she joins them if she
    needs a larger wall. she used a smaller diameter pipe and used large alligator clips (from the
    stationery store) to hold the flannel in place and taut. It worked great..she made a bag to carry
    them all in. The wall was easily 6-8 feet high.

  16. Thank you for sharing this! I'm just starting quilting, and this is perfect for my small room! I won't glue the pipes, so I can dismantle it. :0)

  17. This is great, thanks for sharing!


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