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Easy Video Guide to Glue Basting Your Quilt - Quick & Simple Step by Step Video Tutorial

Easy Video Guide to Glue Basting Your Quilt

(pictured is my Base Camp Quilt Pattern available by clicking here.)


Quilt top - I highly suggest using a whole cloth top ( fabric that is not pieced). 

Batting - a piece of natural fiber batting that is 2-4" larger than the quilt top on each side. You can definitely cut it closer  like I did in the picture, but if you aren't experienced at basting I recommend giving yourself that safety net. 

Backing - a piece that is the same size or slightly larger than your batting.

Washable Elmers Glue - It is very important to make sure before basting that the glue you are using is clearly labeled as washable. This is the type I use.

I have two or three bottles that I refill using the gallon jugs of washable Elmers glue that go on sale during the school year. I use about 1/2 a 4 oz glue bottle/throw quilt. 

 Painters tape - You will need this to tape down your quilt backing. I use the blue Scotch brand 2" tape. 


Why Elmer's Glue Basting?

I started using Elmer's glue to baste my binding in 2019 using the Sharon Schambers method. My results were amazing and it was a gentle introduction to using washable Elmer's glue during quilting. In March of 2020, I basted my first whole cloth quilt using washable Elmer's glue. I am sure you are asking yourself, why glue basting when there are other options like pin basting and spray basting? Well let's talk about my experience with both. I had pin basted maybe 5 quilts with mostly poor results. I had puckers and just felt defeated each time after using the method. Plus, my delicate fingers were sore as heck each time. Then quilting around the pins was the annoying cherry on top of my mountain of frustration. I then learned about spray basting and thought I had found my perfect solution. Welp, since things are never that easy, I quickly learned that even after following manufacturers guidelines, every time I used spray baste I ended up with a horrible headache that lasted days. I had amazing results though and no puckers, so if I could use the washable Elmer's glue I already use during binding to replicate the adhesion of spray basting then that seemed like a perfect alternative for me. Here is a picture of the first whole cloth I ever basted and free motion quilted. 


How Do I Glue Baste?

I glue baste by applying the glue in a grid like pattern (about 4"-6") between the parallel horizontal lines and vertical lines. Here's a video that shows how I do it. The quilt pattern in the video is my "Stars in Court" pattern and is a freebie when you sign up for my newsletter. You can sign up here

Here's a quick bullet point explanation if you'd like a quick run down.

1 - tape down the backing, so it can’t move or slip.

2 - layout and smooth the batting on top of the backing.

3 - pull the batting up to expose 1/2 of the backing.

4- apply glue in a 4”-6” grid like pattern on half of the exposed section.

5 - pull the batting taut over the glue grid that was created then rub and smooth the batting onto the backing.

6 - repeat the glue grid on the remaining half of the backing and pull over the batting and repeat as in step 5.

7 - repeat on the opposite side of the batting until the entire batting has been basted into the backing.

8 - using the same method glue baste the quilt top working in sections.

9 - allow the basted quilt sandwich to dry overnight or heat set the quilt using your iron.

10 - quilt and bind as desired.

11 - wash the quilt using a pre-soak, extra wash and using warm water. Here are the cleaning directions per manufacturer. 

12 - check for obvious glue spots and if none are apparent you can dry the quilt. If there are apparent glue spots repeat step 11.


Final Remarks

1 - try this method on a pillow top or whole cloth quilt before trying it on a pieced quilt. Work your way up to larger sizes starting with small wall hangings and building to bed sized quilts.

2 - let the quilt air dry in place for an hour before moving to ensure no movement in the quilt sandwich.

3 - mop and vacuum your basting spot prior to basting. Mop your basting spot after basting.

4 - clean your glue nozzle and make sure nothing is plugging it. If you are having a hard time getting glue out that’s probably the reason.

5. This method can be used while table or wall basting using the same concept.

Information: I have been glue basting while quilting since 2019 and have never noticed gumming of my needle or glue transfer onto my machine. ONLY use the glue labeled “washable Elmer’s glue”. This glue is a PVA (polyvinyl acetate) and the carboxyl groups make it high soluble in water (that means it washes out in water). I take no responsibility for any quilts you deem ruined while using this method. This is a method I have taken years to perfect and it’s ultimately up to you to execute your best judgement and proceed with caution. I didn’t make up this method, I use the Sharon Schambers binding tutorial and I had seen someone else glue baste, using a different method, on Instagram. After that a quick google search showed forums talking about glue basting as early as 2011. Any other questions or comments are welcome below.


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