Tuesday, May 31, 2011

tutorial: how to paint a modern barn quilt sign

I absolutely love barn quilts, and here in Ohio we have a lot. Some counties around here even have self-guided tours where you can drive around the area and see a lot of them along the route.

It's so fun to see all the different designs, but all that I've seen have been very traditional designs. While I love traditional quilts, I really wanted to try my hand at making a more modern version to hang at my house. Here's how I did it.

You'll need:

* plywood cut to the size you'd like your finished sign to be (mine is 2' x 2' )
* primer
* assorted acrylic paints
* assorted brushes
* pencil
* ruler
* blue painter's tape
* exacto knife
* waterproof sealer (if you're sign will be hung outside)
* hairdryer (optional)
* your choice of hanging device (I used d-rings and screws)

Prime the plywood and allow to dry completely

Using your pencil and ruler, draw out the design you'd like on your block. I based mine on the logo of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild, which is a wonky log cabin block

Use the blue painter's tape to tape out sections where two colors will meet.

In my block, I placed the tape just on the edge of one of my drawn square sections to start

And paint! I used a paper plate as a palette and painted two coats for each section

To speed up the drying time, you can use a hair dryer to help dry the paint between coats, and between each section in your block. I can thank my painter husband Jeff for that tip

Carefully remove the blue tape once the paint is dry and you're ready to paint your next section

Here's what my block looked like at that point

Continue to paint the block until all your sections are finished, allowing each part to dry before moving on to the next color.

tip: use an exacto knife and a straight edge to trim the edges of the blue painter's tape so that they make clean angles, if your design calls for them

Keep painting

and drying

and taping

and painting some more

until your block is finished

but if you're like me, you just might not be happy with the outcome at this point. Should have listened to Jeff...

So, I painted some more, this time adding more colors to each "log" of the wonky log cabin, to give the design more of a pieced look.

Just keep going until you're finally happy with the finished result

If your block is going to be hung outside, you'll need to cover both the front and back with a waterproof sealer. I used Thompson's WaterSeal Advanced, giving each side about four coats

Here's how the finished barn quilt sign looks on the side of my house

I love it! I'm already thinking of some more quilt block designs to paint, and I'm thinking of hanging one in my studio, and possibly another one on the exterior of Jeff's studio. If you give this a try, I'd love to see yours!
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