Whether you’re a professional quilter or just a hobbyist, you don’t have to be reminded of the essential nature of a quilting frame. Let’s get this straight from the onset, making a DIY quilting frame is not just about its cheap cost, but the ability to custom build a quilting frame that suits your needs.
This post is here to answer all of the questions that have been raised on quilting and sewing forums about DIY quilting frames.
That’s why this post will be as practical as possible to help you build a quilting frame with a carriage that rolls and one that holds the fabric firmly on the poles.
Sit back as we take you on a short learning curve to build your own quilting frame from scratch.
What is a Quilting Frame, and How Does It Work?
A quilting frame is a large structure that the backing, batting, and quilt top hang on to. The quilting frame is either made of wood, plastic, or metal and can be used for hand or machine quilting.
Professional quilters cannot do without a quilting frame as it helps to pull the quilt taut while they work. In reality, no crafting room is complete without a quilting frame.
In simple terms, the quilting frame acts as an extra pair of hands that help you put the quilts in place. While many believe quilting frames are limited to hand quilting, it can also be used for machine quilting.
Quilting can genuinely be relaxing and meditative, but using a quilting frame will make the craft even easier.
Types of Quilting Frames
While we’re concerned with DIY quilting frames, it’s important to give a thought to the ways quilting frames can differ.
This will help you decide and understand the type of quilting frame that fits the bill. In making a DIY quilting frame, there are factors that should guide your choice.
This is of utmost importance to your quilting. The size of your quilts should decide the size of the DIY quilting frame.
But also keep in mind where the space in which you actually do your quilting, and where you might store it when not in use.
Durability and Usability
You can make a DIY quilting frame with either wood, metal, PVC, or light plastics. All of these materials have their strengths and weaknesses.
Usually, quilters settle for wood and metal due to its sturdy nature, but there’s also PVC and Light plastics that weigh less and are easier to store.
Before settling for a DIY frame, you need to decide whether a quilt is either an investment or a luxury. There’s a huge difference in how much you should invest in a DIY quilting frame if you quilt once or twice a year, or if you quilt regularly.
How To Make a Quilting Frame
This will be a step-by-step guide to use PVC pipe to make a DIY quilting frame to a professional standard.
Let’s set a budget of $200 in the bid to make our DIY Quilting frame using PVC.
You can make your DIY quilting frame in either triangle, squares, or rectangles. It can be in any dimension you so desire base on your needs.
Step 1: Settle on the DIY Quilting Frame Size and Shape
You can choose either a PVC or a CPVC pipe as they’re excellent for a sturdy frame. Knowing that PVC pipes generally come in 5 foot increments, this will help to eliminate waste and give the frame stability due to the minimal cuts it will require.
To give the DIY quilting frame stability, choose a 5 by 2.5 foot plan. This is the point where you should give a thought to the type of quilting frame you will prefer.
Step 2: Gathering Supplies For the DIY Quilting Frame
These are the supplies needed for your quilting frame:
- 8 Units of 5 foot 1-inch PVC pipes
- 8 Units of 3-way 1-inch PVC elbow fittings
- 1-inch Pipe Snap Clamps
You will also need the following tools:
- measuring tape
- pipe cutter or hacksaw
- PVC glue
All of these supplies can be obtained from any hardware store.
Keep in mind, it’s not necessary you buy white PVC pipe. There are other colors, even though they might come at an extra cost.
Step 3: Cut PVC Pipe to Size
This is why you must have made a decision on the dimensions your DIY quilting frame will assume.
We settled on 5 by 2.5 feet. Ensure you are using only a hacksaw or PVC cutter. Mark out the measurements before cutting.
If you are going with the 5 by 2.5 plan, then you will need to cut 4 of the 5 feet pipes into 2.5 feet. In the end, you should have 4 x 5 feet pipes, and 8 x 2.5 feet PVC pipes.
Step 4: Assembling the Quilting Frame
This is where your crafting skills will be put to use. Assembling the frames will only take a few minutes if you follow these directions.
Attach the 3-way elbow fittings to all of the four 5’ pipes. Then line up all the 2.5’ pieces and connect it through the elbow fittings.
You can use the PVC glue to hold all of the pipes in place. However, depending on your chosen size, this might not be advisable for storage purposes.
Step 5: Making the Snap Clamp
This is to hold your quilt and batting to the quilting frame. While there are ready-made quilting clamps in craft stores, you can ride along the DIY lane by making yours. To make yours, you’ll need different pipe sizes to accommodate the varying fabric thickness.
Cut through along the length of your pipe; by removing a smaller section, it will be smaller than the pipe’s circumference. Hold your pipe down, and use a rotary tool, ensure the cut is as straight as possible. Eliminate the edges so that they will be smooth to the touch.
Making a DIY quilting frame is actually very straightforward and easy as you have seen in the 5 steps above. While we walked through using PVC, you can also make use of other materials depending on preference. Happy quilting!