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a new design wall

July 1, 2021

Back in this post I showed the new design “wall” I put up. It’s loose, no board behind it. Figured it would be fine because I could still pin stuff to it after all. What’s the big deal?


That lasted about ten minutes. It got on my nerves in record time. 

So, being a good Virgo, I set about obsessing the topic of design boards to death. I know many quilters use the foam insulation boards from Home Depot. I used that in the past and liked it fine. I was doing a little bit of research on them and learned that they are treated with chemicals to make them fire retardant. Over time some studies have shown that these chemicals can off gas and since having had NHL a couple years ago, I decided to err on the side of caution and look for an alternative.

I looked at cork boards, free standing design walls (which were pretty much the same thing as what I had with the grey felt), maybe even just using the floor instead of something on the wall. And then I discovered self stick felt tiles. The heavens opened, the angels sang, there was dancing in the streets. Well, not really but it was a huge aha moment for me.

In the end I went with Felt Right tiles. There were a few reasons I chose them, here they are:

  • On their FAQ page, they answered my primary concern:   How do Felt Right tiles contribute to healthy indoor air quality? Felt Right tiles are manufactured to strict quality standards and do not contain any red-list chemicals or materials that are harmful to human health.  Our materials have also been tested to confirm that they do not emit any harmful gasses into the spaces where they are installed.


  • They have a design program so I could be sure I got what would fit in the space I was working with. It’s called “My Studio” and you enter dimensions and play with tile placement and color and then just click add to cart when you are done. No math needed.


  • Their sample pack is useful. I’ve ordered samples from other companies (not for felt) and you get this teeny tiny little thing that becomes useless clutter. The sample pack isn’t cheap but I get something out of it at the end and it’s useful to see all the colors in person in the space.


(And this post is not sponsored, just my honest opinion.)

The sample pack was also useful to me because I wasn’t sure if I’d like the chamfered edges. Turns out they don’t bother me at all, I just pin around them but it was worth investigating before committing the cost to the wall.

Here is the before and after of what my design wall looks like:




I debated making the wall all one color. In the end I went with a checkerboard of neutral colors. Why? Because it takes away the “blank page” paralysis and it makes me feel organized because I can use the grid to separate different works. Because who only works on one thing at a time, right?

And here is the sample pack of tiles off to the side of the main design wall. I’m planning on using that for any templates that I made from the art quilts I’m working on.


Wondering what the weird plant person is that’s pinned up there? That’s Lotus Pod Lottie. I’ll be showing her evolution here on the blog because I love seeing how a design changes and morphs and it seems like a good topic for blog posts.

At any rate, that’s my new wall. It’s already in use and I love everything about it. It is so important to have creative spaces that make us WANT to be in there. And this has transformed my little creative space from “meh” into “woot!”. I’m digging the “woot!”

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  • Reply Sarah July 2, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks so much for this post, Lynn! I never knew about the off-gassing of the foam boards, though it doesn’t surprise me. At 10 years old I’m hoping mine have finished that process, but if I ever have to move I think I’ll go the felt route also. Plastics are not good for the planet, humans, or anything else. The color pack can be a great bulletin board! But I’d agree that neutrals that won’t affect the color of the fabrics on top is great. Here’s to the WOOOOT!

  • Reply SueF July 2, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Love how your wall has turned out! I’ve been looking online at these tiles for some time and just now ordered the sample pack. I have a small kitchen area that “needs doing” and if I like how it turns out I will definitely go for the design wall. Thanks Lynn!

  • Reply Lynda Heines July 2, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    Lynn, I had never heard of these felt squares. What a great idea! I ended up covering a canvas and hanging on the back of my door but it’s a hassle since I have to hang it every time I want to use it. My only place for a design wall is on the back of the door. Not sure these would work since the door isn’t a flat surface, but sure like this idea. Too bad I don’t have any wall space! Great solution!

  • Reply Susan+Dunne-Lederhaas July 2, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    This is a wonderful, non cluttered idea.. Neat,clean lines and versatile!

  • Reply Barbara+Fox July 6, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Very cool. Mine is the insulation board from Home Depot. Never thought about the off-gassing. It’s been up for 7 years. Yikes.

  • Reply Morna November 8, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    This is great! Thanks for sharing. I like the idea of the checkerboard and even that you used the 4-patch rather than the solid tiles. It breaks up the wall and is subtle. It also allows space betwen projects. What color did you use? I also like that it goes up with adhesive that you can remove. I may think about this. I was going with the fabric you had before and still haven’t ordered it. I like that you can take the installation down and then if you move, move it with you and get more adhesive.

  • Reply Jeannie Evans-Van Hoff January 10, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been wanting to change my design wall ever since I put it up. I used homasote because it was relatively green and we had an extra sheet when we soundproofed Carl’s music room. I covered it with flannel, but putting a pin in is a pain and I’ve ruined too many pins trying to force them in. Thanks for the link and for sharing your experience.

  • Reply Helen salo January 11, 2022 at 12:21 am

    Great look, great idea. Have to investigate for my space. Love

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