How to Make a Quilt Barn Square

    by Ruth O'Neil

    About the Author

    Ruth O'Neil has been a freelance writer for almost 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles and stories in dozens of publications including "Parentlife," "CBA Retailers and Resources," "Lookout" and "Standard." She has also worked with a publishing company editing and preparing manuscripts for publication.


    A barn quilt can be made using an 8-by-8-foot square of plywood that is painted to look like a quilt block. These squares of wood are hung on the outside walls of barns. Many states have quilt barn trails that visitors can follow to see different styles and designs of quilt blocks. You can choose any quilt block you want, but using one that has only straight lines in its design is easiest, especially for beginning quilt barn painters.

    Things You'll Need

    • 8-by-8-foot sheet of plywood
    • Primer
    • Paint tray
    • Paint rollers
    • Quilt block pattern
    • Yardstick
    • Pencil
    • Assorted colors of latex paint
    • Paintbrushes
    • Clear coat
    • Screws
    • Drill with bits

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    Cover your entire piece of plywood with a coat of a light colored primer using a paint roller. Allow the primer to dry for the manufacturer's recommended amount of time. Add a second coat if necessary.

    Choose your quilt block pattern. Divide your quilt block into smaller square sections to make it easier to divide up your plywood. For example, if you choose a pinwheel pattern you should divide your pattern into four different sections, just as you would when making an actual quilt.

    Divide your plywood into the same number of sections necessary to make your quilt block. Use the yardstick and the pencil to help you make straight lines and even sections.

    Sketch your quilt block pattern onto the grid you drew on the plywood if you do not feel comfortable painting it freehand.

    Follow the sketched lines to fill in the appropriate paint colors for your quilt block. Allow the paint to dry before painting sections that are next to each other. Use multiple coats of paint to give you better coverage and really make the paint colors stand out.

    Allow the last coat of paint to dry for at least 24 hours. Apply a clear coat to help protect your barn quilt. Use clear coat that you can pour out of a can, and apply it with a fresh paint roller.

    Give the barn quilt another coat or two of clear coat to help protect your paint job from the elements.

    Attach your barn quilt to the side of your barn or house using screws and a drill fitted with the appropriate bits.

    • Don't think that you can't hang a barn quilt if you don't have a barn. You can make smaller versions and hang them on the side of your house or your garage.
    • Get involved in your local barn quilt movement. If there's none in your area, you could always be the first to start one.