A few weeks ago my friend Robin and I took a class on painting barn quilts. It was just for fun; something to do on a hot summer day. But in fact, it turned out to be more than fun. Since I made my small Ohio Star barn quilt in the class, I’ve spent some time learning about where these came from and why. Also, they’ve become somewhat trendy; a way for farmers or even simple homeowners such as myself to show off their talents and interests. Barn quilts don’t have to ward off bad luck, or enhance prosperity or fertility as they once did, but rather they can be simply ornamental. Twenty-six states now have barn quilt trails and maps. I actually saw my first one in NC on the way to Mt. Airy this weekend (which should be another post because that was incredibly fun too.)
So I just finished my first large (42″ X 42″) barn quilt. Robin painted this same stylized American flag and I instantly regretted painting the Ohio Star. But now I’m glad because the one we did in class was too small for my large shed. I’m happy to have this big one!
In retrospect, no one “needs” a class. Sanding the board smooth and taping off areas you’re not currently painting are pretty simple. I chose to use oil based paint instead of an acrylic. It dries quickly with a fan, and the colors are deeper and more true. I bought red, yellow, blue, black and white, and have been mixing my own custom colors. Oil paint will last longer in the sun, if that’s where you plan to put it. My flag has a different configuration of red and white stripes than the original, which I am happy with because now it’s unique. (That’s what I always say when I make a mistake….it’s “unique.”)
So I’ve decided to make three more…actually four more. One for each season of the year, and these will go on the front of my house instead of on the shed. Installation is easy by just putting up two by fours with a level and then screwing the quilt onto them. Using screws will make it easy to change them out with the seasons.
I’m working on this fall’s pumpkin with vines on a checkered “quilted” background (preview at left). Wish me luck, and by all means, give this a try. It’s fun!
TIPS: Save some small glass jars (I used Cracker Barrel blueberry syrup jars) to store your custom colors for touchup. Also, use small jelly jars to hold some black and white so you’re not opening up the big cans all the time. This will make your paint last longer and stay cleaner. Use small rollers from the dollar store (2 for $1) for the larger areas, and foam one-inch brushes for the smaller ones. I wrap my brushes and rollers with plastic wrap between coats and reuse them several times. The blue painters tape is essential, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. I found that the sooner I removed the tape, the cleaner the line. Once the paint is tacky, remove the tape. Do not let it sit overnight. Remember to prime your wood with Zinsser.