Jul 28, 2012

How to Make a Barn Quilt

Making a barn quilt is easier than it looks. I admit it does appear to be intimidating when you stare at an 8x8 square hanging way up on some one's barn, but it really is simple to do. I would actually say the most difficult part about making a barn quilt is choosing what design you are going to go with.

There are soooo many choices it really does make you head spin. There is the choice of what colors do you want it to be, what size, and if it will have meaning behind it. Don't forget to name you barn quilt, especially if you are going to be on a barn quilt trail you will probably have to have a name for it.

These are all fun things to decide on especially if you are doing it as a family. Although beware it might take a little longer when there are so many different opinions flying around! :)

Once you have chosen your pattern, color scheme, and size you are ready to make your barn quilt.

You will need two 4x8 sheets of plywood to make an 8x8 quilt or a 6x6 quilt. If you choose to go with a 4x4 or smaller then you will only need one sheet.
Once you have your pieces cut (for a 6x6 or smaller), or for an 8x8 simply place the two sheets of plywood together, you will need to prime them. Front, back, and sides.
Let it dry completely before moving onto the next step.

We screwed the two sheets of plywood together by placing it on top of pressure treated 2x4's. One on the top, bottom, and middle. You can see it in the picture below.

Using a straight edge, with a pencil, draw out your design onto the primed surface.
You will notice in the above picture the pencil lines.
Now, you can buy the painter's tape to keep the edges straight if you don't trust yourself to keep it in the lines, or if your kids are getting in on the painting. I chose to paint it free hand with out any tape, so that's why you won't see any tape in the photos.
I outlined the shapes for the kids and had them paint in the middle.
Tape off the section you will be working on for day 1. Using exterior paint, paint your taped off section. I used paint that was paint and primer in one. It was thick and covered in one coat. Awesome! Let your paint dry for a few hours before applying a second coat.

Day 2, tape off and paint next section. Repeat this process till all of your shapes are painted at least twice. You can give it more coats if you want and you may want to if you don't use the paint and primer in one. You may also want to coat the entire barn quilt, when it is finished and completely dry, with a clear coat for extra protection. That's up to you though.

If you are going to add any special little details do it after all the final coats have been put on your quilt.

We had the eagle, globe, and anchor image enlarged onto a square piece of paper that would fit into the center of our quilt. Then, my hubby cut it out with an exacto knife.

We placed it in the center square and using a roller rolled over the image.

For the stars, I placed a star cookie cutter onto the material you can make stencils out of. Not sure what that's called. Perhaps a crafty person could leave a comment on the the exact name of it.

I cut out my shape and then placed it where I wanted it to go and painted the stars with a paint brush.

To hang your barn quilt you will need bolts for each corner and the middle. Pre drill your holes.

You will also need to make sure that where you hang your barn quilt on your barn there is a beam or something that will accept the bolts and be able to hold the weight of the barn quilt. You may also want to choose a location where you can enjoy it as well as people passing by. If you don't have a location on your barn where others can see it as well as you then, you have to decide if you want to be the one to see it, or the people passing by.

Now, it's time to hang the barn quilt! Make sure your quilt will be level!!! Depending on the size of your quilt a few extra hands is a good idea!

To read our other post on barn quilts check out  Our Barn Quilt is Finished! and Choosing a Barn Quilt.


  1. It's even more beautiful in person!! We would love one...we just need a barn first. :-)

    Maybe we could do a small one on our shed.

  2. Thank you!! Yes, I have seen them as small as 2x2 in the village! Your shed would be perfect!

  3. Love it! I've been wanting to make a barn quilt for my parents but have put it off due to a fear that I'd be over my head. I can do this! I love your design!

  4. So glad you're gonna do it!! I would love to see what you come up with!

  5. Ok you have inspired me. I will start working on my block. Im glad you did this post.

  6. Do you coat it with a Marine varnish or something? How long does your barn quilt last out in the weather?

  7. Terri and I are making 4 small quilts for our girlfriend's shed. Each pattern that we chose has a significant meaning to her. Terri gave each sheet 2 coats of primer and now after a morning of drawing and taping, we are ready to paint. It has been much easier than I expected. And this is going to be a special surprise for our friend. So if you are hesitating...don't!!

  8. Hi-
    Thanks for posting this "How to!" I have a few questions? Does the plywood warp in the weather? And, did you use outdoor paint? Thanks again! -sj

  9. Susan,
    The wood does not warp in the weather and I used exterior paint. Thank you!:) good luck on your barn quilt!

  10. What an awesome tutorial -- I just love barn quilts and yours is unique!

  11. I love it! Now I just need a barn. My hubby is finally retiring from the Navy next year. YAY! We can't wait to settle down and hopefully buy a little farm. Thanks for sharing. Might I ask how much you estimate the cost of the barn quilt?

    1. Thank you! I would estimate it to be about $ 80-$100. The cost of paint is where it gets ya. The more colors you have the more paint you have to buy. Hope you get that barn you've been dreaming of!:)

  12. That stencil making material is called vellum :)

  13. Awesome barn quilt design! Ooh-Rah!

    We're having one done for our mom for Christmas...she wanted a patiotic one as well!

    1. Thank you, Dave! What a great gift to give someone you love!

  14. Thanks for great tutorial! I'm selling 2x2 and have sold a few. Listed it on Craigslist and an older man contacted me he wants an 8x8 and two 4x4s by spring. Him and wife chose their 3 designs. Now I'm searching online on taking on this BIG task! I hope I can do this!! I'm trying to search for pricing on these sizes!

  15. Thanks for great tutorial! I've been making the 2x2s and have sold a few. An older man contacted me on my ones for sale listed on craigslist. He's wanting an 8x8 and two 4x4s. We decided on the 3 patterns now I'm trying to give him an estimate cost! I am intimidated by taking on this BIG task but I KNOW I can do it! Any recommendations

  16. Thanks for the great example!! It looks great on the barn! And tell hubby once again...THANKS for serving our country!! Lord Bless!! SAC

  17. AnonymousJune 14, 2014

    I've been planning on making 2 barn quilts...one for each end of our garage. You're instructions have been very helpful. My biggest issue is deciding on designs!!!! I do have a question...when making smaller ones (say 3'x3' or smaller), would it be necessary to have a framework around the backside or just mount them without? Thanks, again, for your easy to follow directions...I'm anxious to get started! My family, too, want to thank your husband for his service! "Just Me"

  18. I am trying to get my nerve up to do a barn quilt. Your blog has helped me so much.


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