For years, I’ve admired the hundreds of colorful, vibrant barn quilts that can be seen proudly displayed on barns all across my home state of Iowa. Finally, I decided to make a barn quilt for myself.
My DIY barn quilt is a down-sized version of the huge 8-foot panels typically displayed on barns. Since I don’t have a barn (yet 😜), I wanted one that I could display on my mantel. A 2’x2′ size is more appropriate for that.
I am partnering with the Dixie Belle Paint Company for this post. Paint and stain were generously provided to me by Dixie Belle, but all ideas and creations are my own.
Choosing a Pattern
The quilt pattern I selected for my DIY barn quilt was inspired by my many trips to Washington, D.C. over the years. One of my favorite places to visit there is the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
The National Quilt Exhibit there houses hundreds of quilts, including an early 1800s LeMoyne Star quilt, which is the pattern I decided to use for my barn quilt.
How to Make a Barn Quilt Out of Wood
Below you can see the crude blueprints I drew for myself when planning my DIY barn quilt using plywood and craft wood.
Since most barn quilts (and fabric quilts, too!) are made of various color combinations of squares and triangles, you can customize your own barn quilt to be any size that you want– you just need to do the math to figure out the appropriate sizes adjustments.
To keep it simple, I went with a 24″ square, that I divided into sixteen 6″ squares. Then, I cut some of those squares in half to form triangles that would give me the LeMoyne star pattern I wanted.
- One 2’x2′ Plywood Sheathing Handi-Panel (1/3 inch thick)– for the back of the frame
- One 12″ x 24″ Craft Plywood (1/3 inch thick)—for the stained triangles of the star
- One 6″ x 24″ Craft Basswood Sheet (1/16 inch thick)–for the white background pieces
- Two pieces of scrap wood 52″ long each, for long sides of the frame (optional)
- Two pieces of scrap wood 48″ long each, for the short sides of the frame (optional)
- Gorilla Glue
- Paint and/or stain in your choice of colors
I bought my craft/hobby wood at Menards, but you can find hobby wood that will work in other places:
- Amazon has a wide variety of hobby wood in various sizes
- These from Target are already cut into 6″ squares
- Home Depot also carries craft wood and plywood that could work
*All of my measurements are for a finished barn quilt that is a 2’x2′ square. You can make yours smaller or larger, just remember to make the appropriate size adjustments.
I used a 2’x2′ piece of plywood sheathing that was 1/3 of an inch thick to make the backing that would support all the quilt blocks for my barn quilt.
I wanted it to be sturdy, yet not too heavy. I applied one coat of Dixie Belle’s white chalk paint in Fluff, using a roller. Most of this will be covered by the quilt blocks, so it doesn’t have to be flawless.
The Optional Frame
My husband helped me create a frame around the plywood back using some scrap pieces of oak that we already had.
Framing is optional. The real barn quilts are simply painted on an 8-foot square sheet of plywood, but since my DIY barn quilt was going to sit on the fireplace mantel, I thought the frame would give it a more finished look.
I experimented with three colors of Dixie Belle’s Voodoo Gel stain, first applying a coat of Tobacco Road, and wiping it back with a shop cloth.
Then, I dry-brushed on a little stain in White Magic and some Up in Smoke, until I had the sort of weathered barn wood color I wanted.
When the frame pieces were completely dry, we attached them to the 2’x2′ plywood back using Gorilla Glue and a few finishing nails. We clamped it overnight to allow the glue to dry.
The Background Quilt Pieces
I decide to make my barn quilt 3-dimensional by using wood of two different thicknesses for the quilt blocks.
The background pieces of my quilt were cut from the thinnest sheets of my craft wood (1/16″) and the star pieces themselves were cut from the 1/3″ thick wood. This makes the star stand out just a bit more because it is thicker than the background.
The background pieces required eight 6″ blocks of the thinner wood. Four of them remained as squares, and four were cut diagonally in half to make 8 triangles.
I decided to make the background blocks white so that the star pattern would be the literal star of the show, but I wanted some of the wood grain to show through as well.
Dixie Belle’s water-based Voodoo Gel Stain in White Magic was perfect for this.
The Star Pieces
For the LeMoyne star, I used Voodo Gel Stain again, in two of the same colors from the frame. Half the triangles got a coat of Tobacco Road, and the other half got Up in Smoke.
For each color, I smoothed on a couple of drops of stain, and then wiped it back with a shop towel to allow the wood grain to show.
Glue the Stained Pieces in Place
After arranging my finished barn quilt pieces correctly to form the LeMoyne Star, I used a few drops of Gorilla Glue on the back of each piece, then weighed the whole thing down with a heavy case of Spindrift overnight to allow the glue to dry thoroughly. 😛
My Finished Barn Quilt
When my barn quilt was finished, I decided to display it on the mantel in our three-season porch. It goes well with the fall decor I currently have out there, and adds such a nice focal point above the fireplace.
Some Final Thoughts…
- This project is so customizable. With some basic math skills, you can make it any size you want.
- I chose neutral stain colors to go with my home’s decor, but you can use paint or stain in any color you choose. Go bold if you want!
- I did not apply a sealant to mine because I plan to use it inside. Although Dixie Belle paints and stains can be used outdoors, a clear coat sealant, such as Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide, would be a good idea if you plan to display yours outside.
What do you think? Is a barn quilt in your future now, too? If you make one, I’d love to see a picture! Tag @thehouseonsilverado and @dixiebellepaint to share.
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PS. If you liked this project, be sure to check out some of my other DIY projects HERE.
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56 thoughts on “How to Make a Barn Quilt”
Thank you for linking up to Whimsy Home Wednesday and sharing your inspiration with us. I’m loving your barn quilt! My aunt makes these barn quilts and I see them on barns in Tennessee where my parents live so this speaks to my heart!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Kristin! I love seeing them on all the rural farms here in Iowa, too. They are so pretty in so many patterns and colors. Very cool that your aunt makes them!
What a beautiful way to decorate your mantel! I love it! I’d like to see a quilt pattern painted in Christmas colors for the mantel! If anyone has, please share pics! Thanks!
Just STUNNING! Love everything about this. I’ve done some paper ones but this is simply outstanding. Featuring when my party opens!
Thank you so much, Carol! You are so kind. 🙂
My goodness… this wooden barn quilt project is so beautifully executed! Adore your neutral shades on the wood! So well one!
Thank you so much, Donna, and thanks for featuring it! I always love to see all the creativity shares on your blog. 🙂 Very inspiring.
Wow this is amazing. It looks so good! Great post!
Thanks so much, Karin!
I adore those quilts too but never attempted to make one. Thank you for sharing and showing some great tips on how to actually make one. This post will be a feature this week. Thanks for linking up. #HomeMattersParty
Thank you so much, Donna! I appreciate it. 🙂
Wow, Niky! This is really impressive! You’ve created a beautiful piece of artwork that you’ll enjoy for years to come. I love the different shades of wood stain that you used. It looks perfect on your mantel. Thanks for sharing the great tutorial. Pinned 🙂
Thank you, Rebecca, for your sweet comments. 🙂
I love this idea! The colors you used are perfect.
Your DIY barn quilt is beautiful! I’d love to make one of these for my home – love the paint shades you used too!
Thank you so much, Jayne. 🙂
Your barn quilt is so lovely, Niky! The details are easy to follow and results are perfection. Barn quilts are so fascinating and yours will have a beautiful welcome for each visitor to your home. Thanks so much for sharing!
I love barn quilts. Thanks for sharing how to make them.
I love this. I plan to share a link to your tutorial on my Sunday, Dirt Road adventures. Thanks for your inspiration.
Thank you so much, Rachel!
I love it! Thanks for sharing on Happiness is Homemade at LifeasaLEOWife.com! I’ll be featuring your barn quilt on Sunday!
Thank you so much, Niki! 🙂
Beautiful Niky; I’d love to try this!
Thanks so much, Sara. I also love so many of your projects. The wall clock upcycle was a favorite!
Love it! I’ll be featuring you this week when the next To Grandma’s house we go party starts – thanks for sharing with us!
Thank you so much, Tarah!
Very pretty and the perfect adornment for your mantle. I’m liking your farmhouse style! Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.
Thank you so much, Jennifer!
Wow! This is really a beautiful piece and I admired your skill in cutting all those pieces so expertly!
Thanks so much, Pat. It was a fun project to work on. 🙂
That is beautiful!
I’ve always wanted one of these painted on the side of our barn but this is definitely the next best thing! Thank you for sharing the DIY on Farmhouse Friday LP. Pinned
You knocked this one out of the park girl! I love everything about this and am so impressed with your skills. Great job!
Well, aren’t you the sweetest. Thank you so much. 🙂
This is beautiful! I love the colors you chose. They match your decor so well! I love seeing barn quilts pop up everywhere.
So pretty! I was an avid quilter for years so when I saw this in wood – it just stole my heart. Seriously, it’s so pretty! Pinned!
Wonderful!! I love the neutral stains you used- looks fantastic!
Thank you so much, Barbara. 🙂
Amazing Niky. This looks exactly like a quilt pattern
Thank you so much, Cindy!
Niky, I love this project. It truly is a work of art. Great tutorial. I was fascinated by the entire project and the construction of your star. It will be a piece you enjoy for a long time. Enjoyed the entire process.
Thank you so much, Carol. It was a fun project to work on. 🙂
I have been wanting to make a barn quilt for some time. The wood … in love! I have only seen one other done with wood and it looked so complicated I was like, “nope.” With your tutorial, I think I could make one. So beautiful!
Kelli, thanks so much for your comments. I have no doubt you can make your own, and I’m so happy to know that my tutorial will be helpful to you. 🙂
I love this idea. I need a large wall hanging on the side of my shed and I think I may try this!
Oh, that’s a great idea! It would be so beautiful outside to add some color and interest to the side of a shed. Love it!
Gorgeous piece. Well done.
Thank you so much, Ellen.:-)
Wow, Niky! You are so creative and talented! Your barn quilt looks amazing and it blends in so well with your stone work! You did a fabulous job in creating it!
Gail, thank you so much. I really enjoyed making it. I appreciate your kind comments. 🙂
Thanks for sharing this tutorial. I honestly wanted to make one and now with your help I can! Your tutorial is very easy to follow. Pinned to save to make one for myself. THANK YOU!
I’m so glad you found it helpful, Terrie. It was a really fun project to work on. I’d love to see a pic of yours if you end up making one!
Wow, you amaze me!! What a great idea and it turned out beautiful. We live in Mennonite country and see these on all the barns.
Corine, isn’t it fun seeing all the different patterns on colors on the barns? I’ve enjoyed them for years, and finally decided that I didn’t need to have a barn to have a “barn” quilt. 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to leave your sweet comment.