Barn Quilting 101

I want to make a barn quilt, but where do I start?

*First, it's important to understand the basics. A barn quilt is just a quilt block painted on wood. While you see them often adorning barns all across the countryside, I make them for home interior. With that said, our pattern books can be used to make any size barn quilt for interior or exterior projects!

Baker Nest Recommendations: 

*Start with our Classic Stars Collection Pattern Book  -or-

*Order the complete DIY Barn Quilt Starter Kit


Materials List:

  • Pencil 
  • Eraser
  • Wood Pallet
  • Ruler (yard stick for larger pallets)
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brush
  • Frog Tape
  • Fusion Mineral Paint
  • Hairdryer
  • Sanding Block (Optional)
  • Stain (Optional)
  • Polyacrylic (Optional)

Step 1: Wood Pallet

You need a square wood pallet. I prefer to construct mine from pine common boards. For larger barn quilts (27"+) I use cedar because it is much lighter and easier to hang. You can certainly use a sheet of plywood, but I prefer the texture and character the plank boards add. 

Step 2: Grid

I plot every pattern out on a square grid. The grid size varies from pattern to pattern but I first draw my grid on my wood. 

Step 3: Pattern

Next it's pattern drawing time! 

Step 4: Taping & Painting

After the pattern is complete it's time to tape and paint. For me, this is a step process. I prefer not to cut my tape and paint all at once. Instead, I tape off the parts that don't overlap when taped, then I paint my 1-2 coats using a hairdryer to dry the paint quickly between coats, then peel the tape off and continue taping the next spaces. 

Step 5: Distressing & Staining

Then I allow the paint to dry a minimum of 24 hours before distressing or staining. Distressing and staining are both personal preference and for me, it always depends on the pattern and location to be hung. When distressing, I use an electric hand sander, but a sanding block will work as well. When staining, stain over the entire pallet to include the painted pattern. 

Step 6: Sealing

I use Fusion Mineral Paint because it is an interior and exterior paint. While I make barn quilts for interior use, they can still be hung outside too, unless it has exposed wood. Then I recommend using a water-based sealer instead of an oil-based poly that will yellow over time.