How to make your own Design Wall!



Design wall envy???


Guilty! I have been wanting one of these forever! And If you are like me…you just do not have a wall big enough(or empty enough) to dedicate as a design wall. I have seen some options for hanging something on the closet doors or frames that stand in the middle of the room, but those are either too flimsy or take up too much space. I wanted something free standing(but slim), light, easy to move around, and that I could mount on the wall if I decided too. I read once you could use some sort of foam board to make one, but that is about all I remembered! So I headed off to Home Depot and Joann’s and made it happen!

This tutorial will show you how to make your own Design Wall for about $25 or less!!!


→One sheet of foam insulation board. I bought this at Home Depot for $12. It measures 4′ x 8′ x 1/2″.


The foam insulation board actually consists of a 1/2″ piece of foam with a paper layer on both sides. The back side of this board is a metallic paper. These foam boards can look different or even be just foam. Doesn’t really matter because we are covering it up any way.


→A vinyl Design Wall by Fons & Porter or If you want to save even more you can use the back side of any vinyl tablecloth(no grid lines- no big deal).

I bought this at Joann’s for $25 then used their 50% off coupon so it was only $12.50. They have a 50% or 40% coupon every week.


→Binder clips, about 12 will do. I didn’t price these, but they are very inexpensive and I figure most of us have some laying around anyway.


How to assemble:

1. Center and stretch the pre-packaged design wall or vinyl tablecloth onto the foam board. Smooth out any wrinkles to make as flat as possible. Leave excess foam board all at one end.

Tip: If your vinyl design wall or tablecloth is wrinkled…do not iron it! Just stretch it out and let it relax naturally. You can see on my board that I have a few “bubbles” in my wall. I got a little too happy with the iron trying to steam out the wrinkles. These spots are not a problem, but best if avoided all together!



2. Lay foam board flat on the floor and using your longest ruler(6 x 24 here) line it up with the end of the design wall where you want to remove the excess foam board.Here you need to decide how much board you want to leave at the bottom.

Things that may affect where you trim your board:

how you are going to use your design wall– horizontally or vertically.

I am using mine vertically and didn’t want the design area touching the floor. If horizontal, you may want a small area left on each end for mounting or none at all.

will your design wall be movable– fixed to a wall or movable from room to room.

I want mine to be able to move to where ever I am sewing at- kitchen, sewing room or I can break it down and take it to a guild meeting.

your height– I am short so I left only 2″ at the bottom.


3. Using your rotary cutter, gently press the blade through the top layer of paper on the foam board and work your way across the board.

Be careful not to go through to the other side here!!!


4. Gently snap the foam board, leaving the paper backing still intact.


5. Using a pair of scissors or an x-acto knife/box cutter to slice through the paper backing.



and Voila!

You can save that small piece for another project or make a mini design wall using leftover batting or flannel to cover it.


Here is mine in action.

I have to say I am head over heels in love with it! It is so light and portable. I can just bring it in the living room with me while I am sewing at the kitchen table and easily take it back to my sewing room when I’m done:) Because it is so light it should be no problem to attach it to a wall if you like. Some simple hooks or Command strips will do the trick if your real classy and don’t want to put any nail holes in the wall:)

No need for a giant empty wall to get your design on!

Sassy indeed


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  1. Love it! Great tutorial Paula. Thank you for sharing. ~Shari

  2. Melissa Greenfield says:

    Nice job and what a wonderful idea! Do you use push pins for the small pieces?

  3. Great tutorial, Paula. I too suffer from design wall envy. Thanks for reminding me about the vinyl tablecloth idea. I have one of those lying around here waiting to be used for something!

  4. Perfect! I’m struggling right now with needing to lay out this pattern I’m testing and I’m out of space to do so. Darn kids and dogs put a crimp in my quilting ;).

  5. Awesome and really a super tutorial…Hi I could actually understand it, LOL!
    ~ Love, Nina ~

  6. Your design wall looks great!

  7. Great idea. I love that it’s portable. I need to make one!

  8. Great idea Paula! Project in progress is looking good too!

  9. I do like your idea, not sure whether a foam wall product is available in Australia, but I’ll check it out. Love your triangle WIP.

  10. Nice! I made my designwall with a flanell sheet and grommets so I can hang it on the wall. It works but I like that yours is portable! So many possibilities!

  11. This is great! So simple yet would really come in handy. I need to make myself one of these!

  12. I need one of these.

  13. Perfect! Exactly what I need. I should so do this over the weekend!

  14. Just what I needed to see today – the next part of the new studio is a design wall, and this might just work perfect! And no power tools needed make it even better!

  15. This is brilliant. The only space to permanently keep up a design wall long term in my sewing room is along a wall that gets extremely poor light at night. This would be perfect because I could pull it out into the light while actually working, and I love that I could carry it to the dining room since my dining room table is my favorite surface in the house for sewing.

  16. I only got one this year myself and now I can’t imagine why I waited so long! Great idea!

  17. Great tutorial! I had no idea Fons and Porter sold the design wall grid! I’ll have to go find one with my next set of coupons. Thanks!

  18. Love this! And i think the Mr. would too, Right now i have two flannel backed tablecloths on our living room wall. The Mr. keeps asking how long they’re going to stay… he doesn’t know that i’ve stapled them to the wall! Might be time to make something else!

  19. really, really cool, paula! what a brain you’ve got. love it. =)

  20. genius design wall. and I loooove what you’ve got on it! awesome triangles!!

    I’m so happy you shared at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  21. That looks great…I don’t have space to utilize that, but I love that you made it yourself!

  22. I have a small piece of flannel washi-taped to the sliding door behind my sewing machine – too small, but it’s what I have and it is useful!

  23. Great idea! I love that it is flexible to move to a different room!

  24. This is exactly how I made my first design wall. Great idea. I like how you can put your pins directly in the board and hold stuff down

  25. Nadine Stu[elli says:

    Thank you Paula. I need to give this a try this summer. I’m thinking it will work very well. :-)

  26. Great idea, thank you for this!! I have purchased two of the F&P grid design walls (I love the grids) and taped them together to get a bigger size, but I need a free-standing frame. This is perfect! I love the idea of the foam board backing, and I can imagine using two foam boards so that I can fold this in half and make it easier to transport. (Folding is important for transportability, since my wall is like 72 x 72.)

  27. I have trouble with my pins rusting. I am thinking that the foam board is the cause. Does anyone else have this problem? What kind of pins do you use?

  28. I love the idea, but how does it stand up?

  29. Nice post. Can I see anything else?


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