Some quilts are made from a single large piece of cloth, and the pattern of the quilt is formed entirely with thread. Most of the time, however, quilts are made from many small pieces of fabric that fit together to form blocks or patterns. A quilt board is a device that is designed to help a quilter design quilt blocks.
Quilt boards are simple boards that have one side covered with fabric, usually flannel. These can be made in any size. The smallest and most portable style is a board that is slightly larger than the block you are designing, between one and two feet across. Quilters use these boards to place and arrange quilt pieces when designing a block or to hold pieces in place so that they are easily accessible during the sewing process.
A design wall is a large quilt board. These are larger than the entire quilt when put together. The advantage of a design wall is that it is possible to place all of your pieces together on the wall before sewing. This enables you to see the total effect of the quilt and to rearrange blocks or decide that certain elements, such as a particular color, are or are not suitable for the effect that you want.
Quilt boards typically use flannel for the fabric covering, as it grips other fabrics well, holding them in place. Felt can also be used. Some quilters use pins or tacks as well for extra security. The board can be made from many different materials, such as plywood, insulation board, foamboard or cork. Any flat, sturdy material that is easy to move and glue a flannel coating to is suitable. Insulation board and foamboard are commonly used because they are inexpensive, easy to cut and are more lightweight than wood.
Making a Board
Making a quilting board is simple. Decide on the dimensions you need for your board, then cut a piece of insulation board or foamboard to those dimensions. Spray one side with some spray on glue, then cover with a piece of flannel that is slightly larger than the board. Tuck under any excess fabric and glue or tack in place. Wait for the glue to dry before use.