Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Barn Quilt Obsession

Do you ever get an idea in your head, and then you can't rest until you follow through with it?  For some inexplicable reason, I started thinking about barn quilts.

Have you ever seen a barn decorated with a quilt block? I'm not sure how the tradition started, years and years ago. But in some areas of the country, people painted quilt blocks on the side of their barns -- with the block name usually having some significance to the family living on that farm. When I lived in New Hampshire, I used to drive by a barn on my way to and from work that had a quilt block on it. And sometime in the last 20 years or so, the tradition got revived in a modern way. There are even barn quilt trails that you can follow in various places in the Midwest.

If you've been watching the new NBC crafting competition show called "Making It," they even have a barn quilt on their barn.

I'm not sure what got me thinking about barn quilts. But I have some weird spots of empty fence in my yard, and I got thinking that barn quilts would decorate those spots rather nicely. So, next thing you know, I was obsessed. I was searching and pinning images to a barn quilt board on Pinterest. I read about how to make them, and even started researching about the best saw to buy, because I don't have any woodworking tools and clearly a saw was going to be needed.

Along the way, I mentioned my obsession to my friends Paula and Jim. Paula was immediately enthralled, and Jim (a handy fellow) said he'd be happy to make us some boards to start experimenting with.  We were off and running. 

I had read a lot of different directions, but the ones I liked the best were from Abby at Tweedle Dee Design Company. (She sells pre-made barn quilts in all sorts of sizes, in case you need one and don't want to make one.) So one bright and early saturday morning a few weeks ago, we set up tables on my patio, and started off. We decided to start with something a reasonable size, so ours are about 22 inches square.

 Here's Paula, having masked one board to star painting, and getting ready to draw the design on to another.

It did take a lot of masking.  We decided that Frog Tape is the best stuff 

Starting to apply the color was very exciting! Can you tell we were having a great time?

 By the end of Saturday, we each had come close to finish two.  The two on top are Paula's, the two on the bottom are mine.  But we had to let the paint fully dry before the last steps to make them look intentionally weathered and worn a bit.

So by the end of the day on Sunday, we'd each finished three barn quilts!

At the moment these are hanging on my fence -- which makes me think they look small and I need BIG barn quilts for this weird empty patch of fence.

I don't think my obsession is done yet. I just took delivery of three more blank boards and Paula and I are planning another painting weekend. Yee hah! There is nothing like a good crafty weekend with a good crafty friend.


  1. These are fantastic! I love them :)

  2. What great fun! I love the idea of barn quilts. And, the green frog tape doesn't allow the paint to ooze under it...therefore no fuzzy edges. What kind of 'blank' boards did you use? They are all cut to a specific size...did the lumber yard cut them for you?

    1. You could use plywood or one big piece cut to size. But I liked the boards made up of 1x6 fence boards put together (I liked the look of the seams) -- so Jim assembled them using 1x6 (or maybe 1x5.5" boards) laid parallel with cross pieces holding them together on the back. The link I put in the blog shows how that maker made them that way.