Barn quilts make such a fun decor for outdoors – why not make one to fill a large wall inside? Here’s a full tutorial on how to paint a barn quilt on bead board or plywood for unique indoor – or outdoor – decor. This also would make a sweet handmade gift!
2018 Update: Mary repainted her barn quilt to go with a new room makeover and shared the new version with us – scroll to the bottom to see!
I have a special treat for you – a guest post from Mary of Front Porch Ideas and More. When Mary showed me her colorful (and easy) barn quilt she made with recycled bead board for her foyer, I
begged asked her to share it with you all because I thought it was such a unique and clever way to fill a large wall AND would make a special gift.
Have you ever noticed quilts painted on barns? Barn quilts are getting to be more popular as I see them across the country. They add a colorful pop of charm to many rustic barns. There are even quilt trails in some states where visitors use maps to stop by and visit the decorated barns.
I have been admiring these painted quilts for quite some time so I wondered why not paint a barn quilt for inside our home? I want to share with you how I did this. Even if you do not know how to sew a quilt, you can create a wonderful piece of quilt art for your home or as a unique gift with only some plywood or beadboard and a bit of paint.
- A piece of plywood or beadboard cut to 4 ‘ by 4 ‘ (or any size you want, square recommended.)
- Several colors of paint (left over house paint works, acrylic craft paint also works fine – you will be surprised at how little paint it takes really)
- Painters tape
- Hanging apparatus (to hang the artwork on the wall)
- Note: if wanting to use outdoors, purchase an outdoor sealant as well
Instructions for Making the Barn Quilt
1. Find a quilt pattern that you’d enjoy painting for your home. For a first-time project, I would suggest a simple pattern without curves involved. My wall art was inspired by the quilt on the barn above (which I found on this Pinterest board of barn quilts).
Looking closely at the photo as I am writing this article, I realize the quilt on this barn has been “photoshopped” in. Perhaps someone wanted to see how a quilt would look on their barn? I like this pattern but I do not know the name of it. I chose colors that would coordinate with the décor in our home (2 shades of blue, buttery gold and green).
2. Paint the entire board the predominant color that it will be. If there is no predominant color, then just choose one and paint the entire board with it.
The reason I did this step is two-fold: First, it’s easy to paint the entire board. The rest of the painting will be inside lines. Secondly, it puts a primer coat on the board making the rest of the colors go on easier. I painted my entire board light green and the edges navy (for a little accent).
3. Next draw the quilt pattern onto your board. For the pattern I chose, I divided the 4′ x 4′ beadboard into 16 squares (4 across and 4 down) using my ruler and light pencil lines. Just imagine the beadboard being a grid and lightly pencil in the lines for the quilt pattern. If you chose a fairly simple quilt pattern, drawing it on your board is an easy step. (Sorry you cannot see my lines very clearly in the pic above!)
4. Mark each of the marked areas with the color that it will be painted. You can write the color inside the lines or just dab a touch of that color paint inside the lines. This will help prevent you from painting a section the wrong color. I used little pieces of painters tape marked with a “B” for blue, “G” for green and so on.
5. Time to start painting. Choose a color and mask off those sections with the painters tape. Then paint all of those sections.
I painted all of the medium blue sections first. Then I did the dark blue, followed by the navy blue and then the gold. (it’s kind of like paint by number!) The reason I do one color at a time is to prevent from having to wash your paint brush every time you move to a new section to paint. Allow to dry in between colors.
Don’t worry if your paint bleeds from one section to another a little bit. Especially with beadboard where there are grooves in the wood, it’s likely to bleed a bit.
You can paint near the lines with a dry brush to prevent the paint from seeping. But don’t worry about it being perfect. You can touch it up after you remove the tape and the paint is dry. My wall art is far from perfect – but that’s fine. Up close you can see my paint bled a little – but it still looks great overall.
6. Edge and hang the quilt. After I finished painting all the sections and touched up my little goofs here and there, my husband built “sides” for the beadboard to make the wall hanging stand out from the wall about an inch. This is optional though it adds a nice finished edge.
Updated information on the finished edge: The barn quilt “frame” is 3/4-inch by 1 1/2-inch slats that were cut to the height and width of the beadboard and secured with a nail gun. The top slat is slightly shorter as it fits between the two side slates.
We only added the “frame” to the top, right and left sides. You don’t see the bottom so it wasn’t needed there. The blue “edging” you see in the photo is simply painted onto the beadboard and the same paint was used to paint the wood edging making it appear to be completely framed.
To Hang: We used loop-type picture hangers spaced 16″ apart so that the wall art is hung from studs because it’s a heavy piece. Whether you use this type of hanger, wire or something else, be sure it’s capable of supporting the weight of your barn quilt. You can also hang your artwork flat on the wall or even rest it against a fireplace mantel.
Note: if you want to use your barn quilt in the traditional way outside on a barn, you can use a sealant that’s rated for outdoor use and you may want to nail it in place because of winds.
This was my original decorative barn quilt, a basket pattern. When we moved, I painted over it to create the new one. If you ever change your décor or just want a new barn quilt for inside your home (or on your porch), it’s easy to paint over the older one and do another quilt.
We get lots of compliments on our barn quilt. A barn quilt is a fantastic solution to a large empty wall.
Try It for Yourself or for a Gift
I hope you are inspired to paint a barn quilt for your home. Whether it’s used to decorate a foyer, living room or front porch, it’s much quicker than sewing a quilt. And you don’t need to be an artist either. It’s just like paint-by-number!
Imagine a trio of painted quilts on the wall. How about three 1′ by 1′ squares side by side? Or seasonal quilts… Have fun with it!
My thanks to Jami for giving me this opportunity to share my painted quilt with you! I am honored to be included on An Oregon Cottage!
And thank you, Mary, for such wonderful instructions. I have some scrap bead board somewhere, I’m sure…
New Barn Quilt Color Scheme for 2018:
Mary redid her living room with new curtains, pillows and rugs and repainted her barn quilt to match. She shared it with us for inspiration and to show how it looks with different colors. That’s just one of the benefits of making something yourself – you can change it when you want!
Make sure to share your creations with us on Facebook or tag #anoregoncottage on Instagram.
Be sure to visit Mary and her husband Dave over at Front Porch Ideas and More for lots of porch decorating and building ideas! Oh, and you can find lots more easy, DIY gifts here or on my Handmade Gifts Pinterest board, too!