Spray Basting Your Quilts Tutorial

First off – Disclaimer alert!!!

I am NOT the worlds leading expert in the proper “approved/perfect” Spray Basting methods as set down by the “Quilt Police”. I am a self-taught quilter who specializes in the “make-do with what you’ve got”, totally unorthodox method of “save money/save time” quilting. I do what “works” for me – and if my method of doing things “works” for you, or if you can tweak them so that they work even better for you – then I am honored to share them with you.    😉    

That said –  here is the fastest, most efficient/easy way to secure your quilt sandwich that I have ever found! Basting Spray!!!!

I LOVE Basting Spray!!!


 Answer:  Because it is the ONLY method I have tried over the years that keeps ANYTHING/EVERYTHING  in the quilt sandwich from moving/puckering when I am pushing/twisting/turning/shoving/man-handling my quilt sandwich thru my dinky domestic home sewing machine for topquilting!!!! It also cuts my basting time way down!! How far down? I can securely Spray Baste a large quilt in under 30 minutes!!! Other methods (listed below) can take you HOURS!! I can better use that time doing something/anything else!!

Other benefits of Spray Basting:  There are no blood drops on your quilt top from pricked fingers (a given every time) from Pin Basting. There are no little plastic tacks (100’s of them!!!) to find, snip and remove from Tack Basting (think of the plastic thing that holds tags on new clothes at the store, and shrink them to 1/2 inch long for those of you unfamiliar with this method), not to mention the holes that they leave in your fabric!! There are no Basting Thread Stitches to make ALLOVER your quilt – and then search and remove from underneath all of your precious Topstitching/Topquilting (and DON’T snip and remove the wrong thread!!).

The Basting Spray holds securely for several weeks (important if you can only work on the quilt for a few stolen minutes at a time) and when I’m done – it washes right out, and you will never even know it was ever there! Pretty awesome huh?!? I think so. And since they are my (until gifting) quilts, that is all that matters!   🙂   

Now – how do you Spray Baste a quilt? I Spray Baste a quilt like so:

First – you need to gather your supplies:

Quilt Top, Batting, and Backing fabric.

1 can of Basting Spray (there are a couple of varieties out there – I recommend/use  Sullivan’s Basting Spray)

1 roll of Painters Tape (you know – the blue stuff, any width is okay) The reason I use Painters Tape is because it temporarily sticks to anything – but will not pull/distort your fabric – or leave any residue behind!! You will see what I mean shortly    😉   

Scissors (to trim off any excess Batting or Backing Fabric after basting)

A length of 3″ diameter PVC pipe (clean/new), or Carpet Roll Tube (the cardboard core that they roll the carpet up on).  These are both available at your local home improvement store – the PVC costs, the carpet tube is free. If you  happen to know any Construction Workers, you can possibly obtain either one of these things from them for free as well since they usually have “throw-away” pieces/leftovers from jobs they are working on.    🙂    Have them cut you a piece of either material in the size you will need. I keep a 6′ length for crib/throw size quilts, and a 8′ length for twin/double/queen size quilts. You want the tube to be at least a few inches longer than the width of the quilt you are working on. The 6′ tube stores nicely under the bed, the 8′ tube stores upright in the back corner of the closet, out-of-the-way!

You will also need to find an open floor space (I use my back deck outside – in good weather, and the living room floor in inclimate weather).

Step #1 – Lay out, and tape down (wrong side of fabric UP) your Backing Fabric. Smooth out any wrinkles as you go. ( Ignore the furniture in the pict – I moved them out of my way later, but since it was so windy that day, I used them to help hold the fabric down while I taped it in place)    🙂     

Step #2 – Lay out your Batting on top of the Backing Fabric and center it where you want it.

Step #3 – Fold your Batting in half (lengthwise – top to bottom), then fold it this way again. Now fold it into a quarter by folding it in half widthwise (left to right). Remember –  as you UNFOLD it, it will lay out flat on the Backing Fabric. (If you are working with a Full or Queen size quilt you may want to fold it top-bottom three times, since you only want to be spraying 3 foot sections of Batting at a time)

Step #4 – Grab your can of Spray Baste and spray the exposed batting (never spray the fabric – just the Batting) that you are about to flip over onto the Backing Fabric as you unfold the Batting.

Lay that piece over onto the fabric – bringing the whole piece of batting with you that was underneath the part you just sprayed (you still have to spray what was touching the Backing Fabric).

Spray the newly exposed piece of Batting that was brought up from the bottom, and lay it back down. Now, spray and unfold the newly exposed area of Batting, continuing this routine until entire piece of Batting has been sprayed and layed out flat. Then run your hands over to smooth out any wrinkles and reposition as needed.

Step #5 – Lay out your Quilt Top (right side up) on top of the Batting and center it. Smooth out any wrinkles. Lay your tube or pipe on top of the Quilt Top, at either the top or the bottom edge of the fabric. (pict 5a below)

 Now tape the edge of the Quilt Top fabric to the pipe/tube to hold it while you roll it up. (pict 5b below) That tape is about to be your third hand!! (NOW you understand what I ment by I like this tape for no pulling/distorting/residue!!)    🙂   

Step #6 – Roll the fabric up onto the tube.

When top is completely rolled-up, tape the exposed edge in a spot or two just to hold it while you roll the tube OFF of the Batting to spray the starting point for securing your Quilt Top. (pict 6b below)

Step #7 – Spray the Batting all the way across the top edge in a 1 foot wide swath (where you will start unrolling your fabric tube); position your tube, remove tape, and start slowly unrolling – just to the bottom edge of where you sprayed the Basting Spray. Now, spray the next 1 foot wide section and unroll some more. Continue this pattern until you have unrolled the entire Quilt Top off of the tube. Smooth out any wrinkles (although you really won’t have any – THAT is what the tube is for!! Wrinkle Prevention!!).

Ta Dah!!!!

Step #8 – Since you will NOT be sending this out to a Longarmer for Topquilting, take your scissors and trim off any un-necessary Batting or Backing Fabric (watch out – its sticky!). 

*I tend to bring my Backing Fabric around to the front, miter the corners, and bind my quilts with it instead of Bias Binding (THAT”S a whole other tutorial – maybe, we’ll see)    😉   

Guess What?!? You just Spray Basted your first quilt!!! Woo Hoo! Now see, that wasn’t so hard after all! And the best part – No sore, bloody fingers!

Now for the fun part – go grab some of these…..

Or some of these…….

And start Topquilting/Thread Painting to your heart’s content!

Or, you can just go grab a beverage, take a break, and pat yourself on the back because you tried something new – and succeeded.   😉   

Good Job!!



2 Responses to “Spray Basting Your Quilts Tutorial”

  1. SewCalGal Says:

    Excellent tutorial! I do like spray basting, but had never thought of the benefits of using the tube. Great trick…and excellent tutorial.

    I also love your quilt. Beautiful.


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