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How to Make a DIY Barn Quilt

This barn quilt with a painted Ohio Star pattern is easier to make than it looks and all your neighbors will want one when they see it hanging above your garage, barn or other outbuilding! It adds a touch of colorful history to your home! Read on for the full tutorial.

DIY barn quilt
Happy New Year! It seems like everyone else is posting organization tips and ideas to get you organized in 2017...and I'll admit I thought about writing an organization post (for about 2 seconds)! The truth is that while I can rock a DIY project, organizing isn't really my strong suit!

So rather than try to force rabbits out of a hat...I'm focusing on a great DIY project that anyone can do! This barn quilt is a great way to beautify the outside of your home and add some colorful history!

Before we get to the tutorial, can I just wax poetic about my in-laws for a minute?

From the first time I met them, mom and dad Long have embraced me and made me a part of the family! I have no scary mother-in-law stories to tell you because I truly love and enjoy my mom-in-law!

They are generous and hospitable and their home is a treasure trove of fun, meaningful and unique finds! In fact, I would say that they were instrumental in helping to shape my love of home decor and helping me find my style. They are both collectors; my father-in-law collects antique jugs and Coke memorabilia while my mom-in-law collects nativities and has over 700 nativities from around the world! She also loves to quilt, and when she requested a barn quilt for their garage, I was happy to help!

Barn quilts are classic Americana, and there are actual barn quilt trails that you can follow to see some of them. You can read more about the history of barn quilts here, and find more about barn quilt trails here.  A barn quilt is a quilt square that is recreated on wood for displaying outside. Just as with hand-stitched quilts, barn quilts tell a story. Here are a few barn quilts I spotted in the small NC town where my in-laws live.

This is the old train station in the middle of town. I've taken lots of pictures of this building over the years because it is so unique and I love to imagine when it was a working station.

Colorful barn quilt on old building

This small house in town has a colorful Dresden Plate barn quilt.

Dresden plate barn quilt

And a local produce market has a huge barn quilt...gotta love those energetic tweenage cousins posing in front of it.

Large barn quilt

My mother-in-law grew up in Ohio and requested an Ohio Star barn quilt. Lucky for me, it's probably the easiest pattern to translate to wood! If you prefer another pattern, you can do a search online.

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  • pressure treated plywood (cut to 4' square in store, or whatever size you choose to make to fit your space)
  • 2x4's to brace the back for hanging
  • L-brackets
  • outdoor marine paint in colors of choice (they'll tint it in-store for you)
  • paint brushes and rollers in various sizes
  • painter's tape (optional)
  • measuring tape and pencil



I followed the instructions in this post for the Ohio Star pattern. It may be the easiest pattern to replicate because it's simple straight lines. No pattern needed, just simple measuring.

Let's get to the tutorial.

DIY barn quilt Ohio Star

Step 1

Sand the board really well to make it ultra smooth and ready for paint.

Step 2

Paint the board with two coats of white marine paint. We kept it extra simple with no borders.

paint base

Step 3

Measure and mark the pattern with a ruler and a pencil. The Ohio Star pattern is made by dividing the board into thirds and drawing straight lines across, then connecting the corners with diagonal lines. And just like that, it looks like a star!

pencil pattern

Step 4

If you have a complicated pattern, you may want to tape the edges to make painting easier. I chose not to tape. Paint the star with a contrasting color. I originally planned to use a small roller brush for this part, but found I needed something infinitely smaller to stay inside the lines in the corners and edges. I relied mostly on a flat craft brush for those areas and then filled it in with a larger brush and the roller.

Doesn't look great close up, does it? Red paint is like takes about 3-4 coats to really cover well. Don't worry about your edges being completely perfect...remember, this quilt will be hanging on a building so you won't see any small mistakes or slightly uneven lines!

paint pattern

The painting definitely takes the longest because you need to wait for it to dry before painting another coat. Four coats later it looked a lot better!

last coat

Step 5

My father-in-law took over at this point and screwed the 2x4's to build a frame at the back of the quilt. He used L-brackets to secure them together.

The frame gives the quilt stability so it won't warp in the changing weather. It also provided a frame for him to drill into and secure the barn quilt to the garage, rather than drilling into the quilt itself and messing up all my hard work!

add support to back

It looks so good in place and adds that perfect touch of country style to my in-laws home.

complete and hanging up

diy barn quilt

This Ohio Star DIY barn quilt is the perfect addition to their little house in the woods!

I don't have an open space to showcase a barn quilt on the front of my new home, but I may make one for our large backyard patio.

Have you heard of barn quilts before? Would you consider making one for your home?

bringing beauty to the ordinary,

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  1. Thank you, thank you! For bringing part of my Ohio heritage to our home, but also for being such an integral part of our family. You became our daughter-in-love even before your marriage to our son. We love you and thank the Lord for your grace, beauty and creativity! Love MOM

  2. Cindy this is such a statement making piece. Love the simplicity of it but it also makes a big impact. And your mom is right!!

    1. Mary, thank you so much, you are so sweet! I do love how this barn quilt adds color and charm to the whole house!


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