How to Make/Build A Quilting Frame

Building quilt frames from the comfort of your home are going to require you various design skills but also some thoughtful planning ahead.

Some frames are large enough to sustain the whole quilt, where you can sit and quilt simultaneously. There are also small frames that can take only half a quilt at once.

What do you need for building a homemade quilt frame

Build A Quilting Frame

A pencil, a measuring tape, and a set of deck screws (number 8) that are 12in long are what you need at first. You’re also going to need a drill that comes with 1 ½ in drill bit attached.

A set of table legs for the quilt frame is also on the list. You also have to think about how you’re going to attach the machine carriage, and track kits are of big help for that.

The lumber is the central part you need for your quilt frame. Two 2x6x12 foot boards, six boards 1x1x24.5in, two 1x1x12 foot boards, two 1x8x12, and two boards of 1x4x24in are mandatory for making your quilt frame.

How to get started

Now that you have all the lumber in your shop, you have to put it together somehow. Remember that the table for your quilt frame doesn’t present a flat surface, and you’ll need a very long table frame (use the two 2x5x12 ft boards previously mentioned). You have to place them parallel and connect them by the four 1x4x24in.

The four boards that you connect are also known as cross members, and you can modify them for a more heavy machine (20+ in long). When you’re done, you should also set the other 24.5in boards too. You get stability by connecting the leg of the table to the cross members right in the middle.

How to add the track for machine quilting

You bolt the track across the table lengthwise. It’s essential that you also attach a paper stitching template to the shelf (make sure it’s very long).

Get a stiff wire and place one end on the carriage of the machine. Continue with bending the other side, making sure it lies right on the template design.

You should move the carriage both backward and forwards when you’re stitching the quilt. When you’re moving, the machine is stitching the design.

How to build a quilting frame with PVC pipe

You’re going to need a lot of patience and skill when quilting. As quilts are supposed to be large and loose, it’s tough to work on them without using a quilt frame that stretches the sections flat for better sewing. 

An excellent solution for quilting frames is one made out of PVC pipe as it works as well as a professionally made one. You can make quilt frames in rectangles, squares, and even triangles, in the size you need.

  • Step 1

You need to know the size and shape of your quilting frame. You will work on the area of the quilt that is connected to the frame, so it has to be small enough to ensure easy access, but large enough that you don’t need to move it as much. You also have to know if you plan on holding it on your lap or if legs are going to help you more (it’s going to stand on its own).

PVC pipes are an excellent solution for a small frame and go with CPVC (it’s a durable pipe for both cold and hot water) in the case of large frames or the ones with legs.

  • Step 2

Draw a diagram of the quilt frame you want and make the measurements you need before heading to the hardware store. If you plan on adding legs, it’s mandatory that you know if the quilting frame table is going to have a tilt. When it does, it’s easier for you to take a look at the whole section of fabric.

  • Step 3

Begin with cutting the pipe (a CPVC pipe may be as long as 10ft). Make the measurements and use a marker for marking, cutting the pieces with a good hacksaw. Four lengths of pipe should do it for a lap frame, whereas eight lengths work for a table frame. The front legs should be 2 to 5 inches shorter than the ones in the back, but it depends on the tilt you want.

  • Step 4

Put together the shape by connecting the elbows on the ends of the cut pipe. Remember that the third opening on all the three-way fittings has to face the same way on all. The short legs should be on the front of the table.

  • Step 5

Give stability to the table by placing the PVC caps to the bottom of the legs. Mark the center on the side of the pipe (it should be 2in wide or broader than that- it all depends on the thickness of the quilt). Make signs on the top of the pipe for the number of clamps you’ll use (2in increments). One or two clamps on every side are going to do it, most of the time.

  • Step 6

Cut the pipe you need for clamps (around 2 in off). Cut every pipe (go along the length), eliminating less than half of the pipe’s circumference. You don’t want the edges to catch or pull the fabric, so make sure you sand them smooth.

You may drape the quilt fabric over the frame pipe, snapping every clamp over both. Trap the material and keep it in place against the frame pipe. Sometimes, you’re going to need multiple diameters of clamps for holding the different thickness of the fabric.


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