Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How I spray baste

Spent 20 minutes earlier this morning getting another flimsy ready to machine quilt.  RetiredHub and I donned our breathing masks and spray-basted on my design wall.    I can't do this without him!  I'm too short and you need a second set of hands. 
I decided to take a few photos during the process to show how we do it, not the greatest photos but hopefully you will get the idea. I have had a few quilty friends wanting to know.  I have seen it done on Youtube videos but I think the way we do it is a bit different and easier to manage a larger piece.(and fun!)  I have basted larger ones before in this manner than the one I am showing today.  Of course, the size of quilt you can baste  is limited to the ceiling height of the wall you are able to use. 

I hate to pin for machine quilting because it takes too long and it interferes with my free motion quilting.  I tried hand basting once to see what that was like...never do that again!  It's almost like quilting the whole thing before you quilt the whole thing!   because I found I needed to make smaller stitches so that the foot didnt catch on them.  Spray basting  has its pros and cons too.  I am usually very happy with the outcome so I make sure I pay attention to the cons. Especially Con#1. Very Important!

Con #1 - It's glue....your lungs don't do well glued together!  Wear a mask (I wear two masks)  and open a window or two, ventilation is a must.  Follow the directions on the label.
Con #2 - It's crazy expensive.  At least here in Nova Scotia
Con #3 - It will get on your floor so put down a drop cloth (and don't trip on your drop cloth. ask me how I know!)

Pro #1 - It's fast! and I like fast these days.  I need to get things done, done, done!

How I use my Design Wall for spray-basting quilts

I have an old flannel  double bed sheet stapled to my wall, from floor to ceiling,  nice and taut. It is in a hallway in my basement, my mostly unfinished basement, so I don't worry about marking the wall or hurting anything. 

Step #1 -  place your nicely ironed backing piece wrong side up on the wall, straight as possible. Sometimes I even iron it on the wall!  Just run a dry iron quickly over it to get rid of any wrinkles.  The flannel sheet is behind so it doesnt hurt the wall.  If my backing is pieced or is directional design, in order to get it straight, I make a centre top, bottom and side marks on the flannel sheet, just beyond the backing,so I can see to line it up. 
RetiredHub gets out his trusty carpenter's level to make sure it is as straight as possible. For this one,  I just eyeballed it . 

 Step #2 -  Attach the batting (I use push pins) just along the very top.  I always give myself lots of extra with the backing and batting and then I can trim later.  I have no problem using up leftover bits of backing and batting for small projects.  Make a nice pillow to go with the quilt!

Step #3 -  This is where the second set of hands comes in....have your helper bring the backing up from the bottom and out, so that you can spray the adhesive directly on the backing about 1/3 of the way from the top.  Now let the backing fall down and gently pat it onto the backing, smoothing as necessary.  Then repeat for the next 1/3....spray, drop, smooth and then finish up with the same process on the remaining 1/3.  Your batting should be nicely attached to your backing with no lumps or bumps. I spray lightly and quickly as I snake across and back over the surface. 
This is the point where I was about to get right in under there and spray the top 1/3 of the backing.  The spray basting adhesive is repositionable so don't worry, it can be lifted a bit  and smoothed again if you don't like it.  How do you like my Scrap Corner? It looks a mess but it is organized.. by colour.

Step #4 -  Now, repeat with your nicely ironed quilt top. This is where I would find the centre top, bottom and sides of the quilt top and make sure those points matched the registration marks I made when positioning the back) Using the push pins to secure at the very top of the quilt top, spray the batting in the same manner and continue as in the last step. Works like a charm!  Now I will just trim around and make it neater, maybe run the iron quickly over it to set and take out any wrinkles and then quilt away! Another project on it's way to completion.  I like that!

Thanks RetiredHub!  You are my basting hero!  Can I have your Man-Cave for my Scrap Room?  Something for you  to think about.

Hope this all makes sense and that I haven't forgotten anything.  Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. And if you give it a try, I would love to know. 

and hope you get time to work on something quilty today! 


  1. Thanks for sharing your method with the quilty world! I used a modified approach for one of my Plus Two quilts and it was a real life saver... I just can't kneel on the floor these days. And you are so right about wearing a mask... though I don't. I must change that!

  2. Wow! Sounds like a perfect solution to baste your quilts. So nice that hubby helps you out. Guess I better start wearing a mask now...

  3. Great post! Think hubby will give up his space? Mmmmm!!!

  4. Very nice, wish I had a wall I could use. I use my floor, and do half at a time, but I tend to do small quilts. And yes, the mask is a must! After you mentioned it to me, we went and bought the ones at Home Depot just for the spray basting.

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. Do you rent out Hubby? LOL

  6. Thanks linda. I think I need to invite myself to you place!

  7. Have only spray basted a quilt once, but it came out great. With no design wall, had to use the floor. Thanks for taking the time to share your technique. It's great that you have a helper. He's so sweet. Sure is a lot easier than crawling all over the quilt to baste it!! Which is on my agenda for today.

  8. Hmmm...Great tutorial...but reading the comments, I think we are as taken with your hubby as we are with the basting :)

  9. I'm a hand-baster, and yes, it's very much like quilting before you quilt but I know it'll hold indefinitely--I never know when I'm going to get interrupted and when I'll get back to it, etc. Does the spray hold for a good length of time, esp if getting tossed back into the closet occasionally? Also, does it "gum" up the machine? I'd like to use it at least for small projects. I know it's so much quicker!

  10. Great idea. Thanks for the tutorial.

  11. Love this Linda! I absolutely hate doing my basting on the floor, too much up and down. Going to try this next time for sure!

  12. Brilliant tutorial - thank you. xx

  13. Thank you for taking the time to explain this is so much detail and so clearly.


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