Hello fellow barn quilt fans!

In this post, I’m going to be adding the progress of my own barn quilt journey in a step by step fashion.  I should tell you that I am not a quilter. I’ve never made a quilt in my life, but I think I can handle some tape and paint, and I know how to read a tape measure.

So, with those skills tucked into my pocket, I embark on the journey with a blank 4ft X4ft  sheet of j1/4 inch plywood, and a vision for a magnificent piece of painted wood to hang on my barn.


  1. Sheet of plywood or outdoor signboard.   I think a block that’s 4×4 will look great on our barn, although in Southern Ontario I’ve seen barn quilts that are 8×8 as well.  If you are just trying this out for fun, a 2X2 board would also make a nice quilt for a garden shed or garage.4X4 Plywood Primed and Painted.
  2. Primer.  I used a Tremclad product, first is spray form and then rolled on.  Two coats rolled over one coate sprayed gave a nice finish.   You could use just one or the other, but I was experimenting.
  3. Craft Paper to draw your pattern or a purchased pattern.  I found a design I loved on Etsy by seller MontgomeryGraphix.  However, the pattern was for a 2X2 square and had a Christmas theme for 17.00 CAD.  I really like all the designs by this seller and would recommend a trip to her shop if you are searching for a 2×2 pattern.  I wasn’t sure how to enlarge the pattern (maybe a trip to Staples?) so I pulled out the craft paper and drew my own design, inspired by the one found online.  It took about 2 hours to draft the design.  I then wrote the color I would paint each piece so that I could follow the pattern from start to finish.
  4. Painters Tape.  Get the good stuff in multiple sizes.
  5. Paint sponges.  I bought a bag of 22 different sized painter sponges from Michaels. It was under $10.00 and now I have plenty of sponges to change colors with.
  6. Acrylic Paints.  I purchased Artist Loft 4 oz acrylic  paint tubes at Michaels.Barn Quilt Acrylic Paints Used.
  7. True story:  About 25 years ago, I painted the interior of my son’s bedroom to look like a comic book; complete with Superman, Batman & Robin and Spiderman hanging from the ceiling by a thread.  I used projection to get the characters outlines on the wall and started painting with interior latex.  Not only did the latex bleed through my tape masks, but I also found the colors very transparent and in need of a LOT of coats to get the comic book look.  So … I started over with acrylics.  I got great coverage, less bleed and the characters lasted 15 years, at which time the room was repainted as an Arizona thunderstorm.
  8. Sealant.  You’ll need a good quality outdoor sealant to protect the final product from the elements.
  9. Exacto knife.  Nice and sharp please, and keep it far away from anyone who is clumsy.
  10. 4x4 Quilt Block PatternScissors.
  11. Paint tray:  I used a dollar store plastic serving tray. Works great at a fraction of the price of artist supplies. Cleans up well too.
  12. Fine sandpaper.  You’ll need to do some light sanding as painting the board brings up the surface of the grain. Sanding between coats will give you a nice smooth finish.
  13. Gloves.   But only if you value your manicure.

After drafting the pattern, I taped it to the plywood just to be sure I was spot on with my measurements.  Then I numbered every piece of the pattern so that I knew where each piece should go.

Step One:  Cut away a piece of the pattern, and use it as a template to draw the area on the board.  Mask off this area with painters tape.  I started with the outer edges in burnt red ochre.  Then I did the corner squares.   This really is an exercise in patience. You’ll want to be sure each color dries before applying any tape to the painted area. You don’t want to peel off your work with the tape!  I’ve been told a hair dryer helps to dry and seal the paint.  Regardless, I still had a few bobbles show up, which I’m sure can be touched up in the end.

Stay tuned as I add more pieces and update the progress here!