It has been just over a year since we moved into this house and my DH has been working hard to finish our lower level which will include my new sewing space. Logistics and budget meant that the area is being finished in stages and at last the sewing room and adjacent sitting room are complete. Since our youngest son is here for a few weeks before starting a summer job in Virginia we hope to take advantage of an extra helper to make the move down 2 flights of stairs so we have been tackling the final details before the grunt work can begin. First, DH set up the table/frame for my longarm and it is now in position on one end of the room. The machine is still not there but that will hopefully be installed soon. You can also see some open shelving on the right wall. This was a weird niche in the wall of the room so he just drywalled into the niche and added some IKEA shelving units that we had. The center shelves had to be customized to fit the space but I love all that storage. The laundry baskets do have some fabric in them, some quilting cottons, some home dec fabric and finished tops etc. I have not really organized the area yet as this was extra stuff that I never moved into my upstairs room. The table is not permanent, it is just being used to help me get an idea of placement but is probably where my cutting table and ironing station will end up.
Here is a shot of the opposite end of the room showing the blank wall that is just awaiting the design wall installation. It is a large wall 11 1/2' across and 9' high under the soffit. One of the things we love about this house is the super high basement ceilings. It was great doing this ourselves because I was able to add lots of lighting including 24 can lights!
After doing a bunch of research on design walls, both on the Internet and talking to my quilting friends, I decided to mount batting covered foam core insulation boards to the wall. I used fairly thin inexpensive boards (I think they are 1/2" or 3/4" thick and cost about $15/board). I will be using 3 boards total and one board needs to be cut down a few inches to make it fit the space. Originally I had planned to use flannel to cover the boards and looked into purchasing extra wide flannel. But after speaking to other quilters I ended up using Warm and White cotton batting instead. It seems to hold the fabric to the design wall a bit better, comes by the yard at 90" wide and was on sale for 1/2 price at JoAnn's. Perfect.
So here is how we tackled each panel. First we rolled out the batting and laid the insulation board on it so I could cut the batting to size. I cut it about 4" bigger on all 4 sides and then cut out the corners as you can see in the photo. We then tipped the board up on it's side so I could lightly spray the batting with spray basting glue and then leaned the board back on the batting. This step may not be necessary but I thought it might keep the batting from shifting and it did seem to work well. Then with DH's help we wrapped the batting around the edges and taped them with duct tape. One note of caution. The other side of the board is silver and a friend had trouble getting the duct tape to stick to the silver side so make sure to place the silver side down.
In order to attach the panel to the wall we used industrial strength adhesive backed Velcro purchased at Home Depot. We cut 9 strips each one 6" long and put 3 along each end and in the middle. Making sure to keep both sides of the Velcro together we took the backing off one side only, we used the softer side, and pressed them in place on the board. Then we removed the adhesive backing from the hook side of the Velcro which was still in place on the board. The adhesive backing is still covered in the photo. By keeping both sides of the Velcro on the board you don't have to worry about how to make sure it is in the right place on the wall. This is probably obvious to you but it wasn't to me until DH explained it - I was thinking we had to measure the wall to make sure we put the opposite side of the Velcro in the right place. I felt pretty stupid when I caught on.
Finally the whole panel was lifted and pressed in place on the wall. The instructions for the Velcro say that the adhesive takes 24 hours to fully cure but it was sticking great immediately. Certainly you could screw the panels in place, which would be cheaper, but I really wanted the clean look of an invisible installation. Plus I figure if it ever needs to come down to replace the batting it should be pretty easy to remove. Two panels in place and I am thrilled with how it is turning out.
After over 20 years of a piece of using a 72" square piece of design wall batting thumbtacked into a wall this huge new design wall is a dream come true. One more panel to go and the moving can begin!