DIY Barn Quilt

It isn’t a big secret that I love old barns, but have I ever told you about MY barn?

Well, it’s a great big old red barn, with a white door, and a hayloft on top.

red barn

There are horses in their stalls, and chickens in a coop, and we gather fresh eggs from them every day.

On the outside, hollyhocks and sunflowers are growing, and the old water spigot never stops dripping.

Hanging on the side of my barn is a big, beautiful barn quilt.

Oh wait…

          I’m so sorry.

                    I may have stretched the truth just a tad.

That’s my dream barn, not my real barn.


Actually, there are 2 truths, 2 half-truths, and the rest of that barn description is a total figment of my imagination.

We really do have horses in a stall, and we really do have a drippy water spigot.  Those are the 2 truths.

We used to have chickens, but we got rid of them (gasp!).  That’s the first half-truth.

There used to be hollyhocks growing outside it.   That’s the second half-truth, since I haven’t replanted any, so they aren’t there anymore.


But my real barn is  white…

          and it’s really is more like a machine shed than a big old barn…

                    and it doesn’t have a door at all, just a big opening…with my  son’s Jeep-fixer-upper-project sitting inside.

jeep project

I may never have a big red barn, with a pretty white door, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have  barn quilt for my machine shed, right?

Now, I realize that I titled this post “DIY Barn Quilt”, and technically you could do it yourself, but if you are hoping for a tutorial, you’re out of luck.  I bumbled my way through this, so I can’t offer you any amazing “you can make this in 30 minutes or less” tutorial, because I’ve told enough fibs for one post!  I will tell you how I managed to get the job done though, okay?

First, I went to Lowes and got a piece of indoor/outdoor plywood cut to the size I wanted, which was about 40″ square.  My teenage son had to make sure everyone knows he’s behind it holding it up for me.  Boys… 🙂

barn quilt

Then I searched online for a quilt design and found this Martha Washington quilt block pattern from Quiltivate.

I was so excited to get started!  It seemed so easy.  I started by painting one side of the board white.  So far so good.

Martha Washington barn quilt pattern

My plan was to blow up the pattern, and transfer the lines onto the board, then just paint the blue blocks.

martha washington quilt block pattern

I took it one step further though, and color-coded the blocks, so I would know exactly what I was doing.  What could go wrong?

Well, I blew up that pattern, and I printed it out on 16 sheets of paper.  Then I got out my tape to put together the puzzle of those 16 sheets of paper, but I had a Horrible, with a capital H, time of it.

I started having high school geometry flashbacks.  It was a nightmare, I tell you.

To top it all off, a tree had given its life for the 16 pieces of wasted paper, and I was feeling guilty about that.

quilt block pattern

I was ready to thrown in the towel, and just chalk this up to an idea that wasn’t going to work out, but then I got smart and called in the real brains of the operation…

          I called in my son… a graphic design major.

I figured I should see if his student loans are worth the interest they are accruing.

He had only been home from college ONE day, so he wasn’t all that excited about helping me with my project,

but I begged,

          and I whined,

                    and I offered to pay for a haircut. 🙂

graphic design student

And he agreed.  God bless him.

He spent the next several hours  mapping out my design for me, while I soaked in the tub, because  I knew he wouldn’t want me putting my two cents in.

making a barn quilt

He even color-coded the blocks for me.

          God bless him.

how to make a barn quilt

And then I set about the business of taping off blocks and painting them.

Now this project was finally getting fun!

painting a barn quilt

I got all the blue blocks painted, but the white blocks needed to be touched up, and the color-coded letters needed to be covered up.   I had another project with a looming deadline that I needed to finish up, so I called my son in again.

And I begged,

          and I whined,

                    and I offered to throw some cash his way…

And he agreed.   (although he said I didn’t have to pay him)

God bless him.

And between the two of us,

          we got that barn quilt done!

farmhouse barn quilt sign

And he got a haircut, which made his momma happy.

graphic design major student

So even though I don’t have a big red barn with a pretty white door, and sunflowers and hollyhocks growing along the side of it, I do have the barn quilt…

          I am totally content with that!

farmhouse quilt sign

Now, I don’t want to leave you high and dry, without a tutorial, so I searched online and found one for you here.

It’s kind-sorta how I did mine…except they make it look easier…

and they didn’t have a graphics design major son helping them.

signature 2

Click HERE to see some projects I really DID do myself! 🙂

DIY Projects

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  1. Great Job!! Love, love, love it! Oh, and your son’s haircut looks great, he looks pretty cute no matter the length;)

  2. Love it. You should be proud of your son. He did an awesome job helping you out. I might have to try this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. That looks beautiful, Angie…I love the blue and white! I always love finding new barn quilts here…I’ve even seen them on garages!

  4. and THAT’S why I used a piece of beadboard MDF and just painted a TEXAS Flag(easiest flag EVER) on mine…and had the hubby screw to the side of the house!
    … I say easiest Flag ever–
    …. but really,
    …I painted it upside down
    …the FIRST Time.
    I’m sure the neighbors might have thought we were in distress when they drove by.
    OR wondered if we were captured by pirates.
    …I love yours! The BLUE AND WHITE is beautiful on your white barn…er, uh, Machine shop/ project car shed. 😉

  5. Sally Christiansen says

    Love your quilt barn!

  6. This was a delightful post! I smiled when you had to beg. Kinda sad isn’t it?! We have a barn quilt trail here in Ontario. I followed it twice while on my way to visit my folks. The trail runs on both sides of the major highway. Here is the link if you have time to check it out
    You got a good looking son too and so nice of him to help out his mama! I love your quilt and it looks so nice hanging there. Enjoy the rest of your week! Diane

  7. sandi Allen says

    Love, Love, Love this! How Beautiful!

  8. What a cute story, Angie…you have great son and thanks to him your wonderful, barn quilt!

  9. I really like the quilt pattern. At first glance I wouldn’t think it wouldn’t be a difficult project either, however as you explained the situation I began to have math terror flash backs. It is great that your son was able to step in and bring it to life for you. I vote that your shed could be a barn….wish I had one. Love barns too, they are one of my faves.

    • Barn or machine shed, I am grateful to have it Tracy! One of these days (once my son finishes his Jeep project), I’d like to do a little remodeling, and make the inside look better…some day.

  10. Are you ready now to make a bed quilt or a wall hanging? Love the pattern you chose. As a quilter I am a big fan of blue and white quilts. Have a great day Angie.

    • Nancy, you have no idea how much my sewing machine dislikes me, but believe it or not, I have made a quilted Christmas tree skirt and table runner – with a lot of help from my mom!

  11. Love the pattern! I also have a son that loves his mom!

  12. I love this post! Thank you for sharing.

  13. Oh Angie, what a story!!!! Your barn quilt is to die for!! I never thought about doing that to our barn, but wonder if my hubby would actually hang it on the aluminum wall? True life is MORE interesting than fiction, isn’t it??!!!?? I also have sons, two to be exact, and they’d probably react the same way!!!! Is it just that males MUST complain first, then do what you’ve asked them? My husband is the same way…NOW, to convince my husband that the repurposing I plan to start doing WILL be worthwhile, and NOT make our home on our farm, “MISTY MEADOWS,” look junked up, as he predicts….Oh, husbands……

  14. Wendy Johnson says

    Looks even better than the original picture you drew in my mind, if that makes sense.

  15. I love it. It really adds something special to the side of your shed. And personally there’s nothing better than working on a project with a son or daughter, it just makes it so much more fun.

  16. Jennifer says

    i follow a couple blogs but YOURS is my favorite ! You are REAL and honest and tell it like it is ! I live in the country on a dairy farm, so many of your ideas would look perfect at my house ! just to find the time ! Wish i had a couple BOYS that didnt have chores to come “help” me ! girls just pin things and show me all types of cool things i SHOULD do, but they are married and live away..thanx for your inspiration tho, i may, just may, do one some day ..i save YOUR ideas 🙂 God Bless ! Jenn

  17. Very well done and great color choice, Angie! It looks beautiful on your barn.

  18. I love it. Really love it. Does anybody really have a functioning wood barn anymore? Aren’t they all metal? Maybe those with lots of money and time have painted wood barns?

    • I think all of the new barns being built are metal, but there are still a lot of big wood barns still in use. I’ve shared a few photos, but beginning this Sunday, I’ll be sharing more every week!

  19. It looks fabulous, Angie! You and your cute son make a great team!

  20. I don’t think I need to tell you how much I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!! I don’t have a barn in either red or white, but we do have a huge yellow detached garage. I’ve been wanting to add a quilt block to it … you’re inspiring me!
    Hugs …

  21. Thanks for the inspiration! Several ladies in my area have been putting quilt blocks on their garden sheds and I plan on doing one for our barn. We just got a metal roof for it and we’ll get new siding this fall or next year. Years ago we had a Penn Dutch sign on the barn and our corn crib. They have since deteriorated. My barn is white with black trim-void of animals now but in its day, our kids raised a little if everything through FFA and 4-H. Fun times.

  22. Oh I forgot to compliment you on your son. What a handsome, talented young man. I love the hair before and after!!!

  23. I think your barn quilt looks lovely on your shed. How nice to have your son help you. You had me fooled, I saw the big red barn photo and read about the horses and chickens and thought… wow, she has a fabulous barn!

  24. Oh, I soooooooooo LOVE this…I’m a sucker for quilts and I think one would look soooooo lovely on my barn…er…ummm…shed. Well, in my defense, it is barn-shaped…hehe! I can appreciate all of the frustration you went through in getting this project off the ground…how wonderful to have your son help you…he may not want to admit it, but I’ll bet he’s pretty proud of this quilt every time he sees it, as well he should be! For years to come, this will be the quilt that you both built together…that makes it all well worth the all the frustration at the outset! Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea with us!

  25. I just loved reading your post….so funny. Handsome young man with that nice cut. And the quilt…beautiful! I too have a barn, not red, oh wait, not a barn, its a shed and it has a couple of big old sun flowers painted on it. Take look if you have time…

  26. Lillian Cagle says

    Angie! You just gave me an idea! Probably not one Uncle Bob would like but! I have always wanted a big metal star on the side of our house that faces the street as you come into our area. Maybe, just maybe I could make a barn quilt design & put it there instead. Especially since I make quilts! It would define our home more? I love yours. It is a very good design. Love, Aunt Lil

  27. I love the barn quilt block! I now realize that I could put one on our shed in the back yard! I will have to think about that and will check out the tutorial. Your block selection is perfect!

  28. I love to read Amish “cozy” mysteries…I guess you could say I am addicted to them.
    In the last one I read, the protagonist was a young Amish girl who’s family were quilters but SHE wanted to paint a quilt pattern on barns…Your barn quilt so reminded me of the book.
    Your barn quilt is sweet and I think I might do one myself. I so enjoy your blog!!

  29. Naomi S. says

    What a fun post, Angie! You not only have your barn quilt, but you have a super-handsome and helpful son! I do like the imaginary big red barn, too, though! Have you ever seen or read the children’s book called The Big Red Barn? It is a sweet little book that chronicles a day in the lives of all the animals that live in the Big Red Barn. Can’t remember the author off-hand, but if you would like to look it up you could google it, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing your “Barn Quilt Experience”!

  30. Our old neighbors (from our old house) make lots of these and they are just so pretty on barns. They actually hang them on their home! You son is so handsome!

  31. That’s hilarious! You and I both have the same dream barn!

  32. You barn quilt is beautiful, I love the clean, crisp, simplicity of the blue and white. 🙂 I also LOVE barn art and actually have a big red barn! 😉 I’ve added a bit of barn art to our barn, chicken coop, and shed and love how it brightens the place up… You can see my barn art here:

    Have a great day, and thanks for a great post. 🙂

  33. At first I was giggling – because I write up posts like this – only it’s my Paris Apartment for me LOL
    Angie – you blow me away – ( well so does your Son ) this is incredibly beautiful – and it looks gorgeous on your white ” barn “.

  34. Of all the things I will read today, whether they be blogs, news items, emails, etc. you get the idea. This will be my favourite! Probably because it sounds “real”, happens to everyone, and would definitely happen to me! The only difference is, if it happened to me, I would probably go to the store, buy the plywood, buy the paint and stop there lol. I have a lot of “projects” that this happens to, so I applaud you not only for your perseverance, but also for raising, I think, two fine sons, who step up and help a mother out when she needs it!

  35. Caitiedid says

    Hello, this is fantastic and I hope to work on mine soon. What paint did you use as the base? Did you put a sealer on it? THANK YOU


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