The making of a barn quilt

Barn quilts are awesome, and if you don’t know what they are, you probably don’t see as many barns as we do. Out here in Wisconsin they are relatively common, though I still encounter folks who don’t know what they are. Look out your car window, yo! Enjoy the scenery!

Anywho, I’d always told Todd that if we ever owned a barn I would hang a barn quilt on it… The barn hasn’t happened yet (maybe someday), but we have a chicken coop and that’s close enough!

Contrary to their name, these aren’t actually “quilts”, they’re wooden boards painted to look like quilts. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find an amazing variety of colors and patterns. Some even have images of flowers or animals. Anja wanted me to paint a chicken on this one… I patted her head and thanked her for the suggestion.

My barn quilt happened in stages. I’d originally wanted to use colors that signified San Francisco Bay. My colors were dark blue (for the water), light blue (for the sky), deep orange-red (for the Golden Gate Bridge), and light gray (for the fog). After sketching it out, Todd and I both decided the colors wouldn’t do…

The gray was too… Gray! And I didn’t love the red either. I wanted bright color, and more of it! After a few more test sketches I found something I was really proud of, and I got to work.

Todd graciously trimmed some scrap plywood to a 20″ x 20″ square. I would have liked it to be a bit bigger, but the sides needed to be easily divisible by 4 and using free plywood is better than buying a whole new piece. After sanding and priming the whole board, I set about laying down the quilt lines, using the sketch as a reference.

Once the lines were drawn, I used Frog Tape to block out certain sections. I blocked out the light orange and dark blue first, so I could easily paint the dark orange and light blue sections at the same time.

Wondering how I managed to get such neat angles cut in my tape? Why, I have a trick for that! I found that when I laid the tape over my pencil lines…

The tape picked up the line!

A little snip snip with the scissors, and voilà!

The painting was the fun part, I let the kids in on this one. I used exterior paints, since this baby is going to face the elements. Marin got a little crazy with the dark orange, but it was okay because I could just cover the mistakes with the next color.

Once the first colors were very dry (I waited at least a few hours), I just repeated the taping process, covering the now painted sections and revealing the blank ones.

I then forgot I was taking pictures of this… Oh, well.

After letting the whole thing dry, I coated it with a layer of polyurethane, just to be safe. Todd mounted it to the coop with two big screws, and there you have it.

The beautiful boat on our chicken run, the “Tiny Take III”, was built by my grandfather many years ago. We like that we can display it here and it also provides shade for the hens. Win win!

I also was able to make this little pouch for my cousin, Ginny, this week. Zipper pouches are such a great go-to gift, and the free tutorial from Noodlehead is my favorite.

Thanks for letting me share!


2 thoughts on “The making of a barn quilt

  1. Yup! It’s just some heavy plywood we had lying around. The one we used was about 3/4″ in thickness. I wouldn’t go too thin, or it will warp over time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s