Barn Quilts

What is a Barn Quilt?
A barn quilt is a type of folk art.
Not made of cloth and thread……
A simple quilt block pattern or a unique design is painted onto a sign board/wood and placed outside.

Are Barn Quilts part of the IPM 2022 Quilt Competition and Beautification Contest?
Yes! Learn how to enter the Beautification Contest here. The Quilt Competition entry is now closed.

What Sizes are Barn Quilts?
●  A barn quilt that goes on a full size barn is typically 8 feet by 8 feet.
●  A barn quilt for a front porch is often 24 inches by 24 inches.
● Smaller barn quilts are sometimes added to a mailbox and could be 12 inches by 12 inches. 
For the IPM 2022 Quilt Competition, the entry size is 24 inches by 24 inches.

Quilt Block Patterns Names

Where did Barn Quilts Originate?
Donna Sue Groves is the creator of the Barn Quilt Trail movement. She wanted to honour her mother (a quilter) and her Appalachian culture by painting a quilt block on the side of an old barn on the property she shared with her mother in Ohio. Her friends liked the idea. They had the idea of a clothesline of quilts - driving trails with painted wood squares that resemble blocks on a quilt. Donna thought if we are going to paint 1, then we may as well paint 20. The plan was to promote regional tourism and to preserve heritage barns. The barn quilts proved very popular and the idea and the barn quilts have spread to many states and provinces. (Source:

Where will you put your Barn Quilt?
If you do not have a barn, then perhaps on a shed? On a silo? On your front porch? When thinking about where to place your barn quilt, consider where you will see it from or where a passerby would see it from.

What are Barn Quilts Made Out Of?
● Graphic signboard
● MDO - medium density overlay plywood - is an exterior plywood with a weather resistant resin overlay
● Plywood
● PVC tiles - these are inexpensive and not as durable, but may work in a sheltered location.

What Type of Paint do you use for a Barn Quilt?
●  If using wood/MDO for your barn quilt - prepare the barn quilt with 3 coats of primer on the front and 2 coats of primer on the back.
●  The preferred paint used by commercial Barn Quilt makers is a Premium Quality Outdoor Latex Paint and one which does not require a sealer. (Latex makes for easier cleanup). Some people use acrylic paint and may put a sealer on it after.

Painting Tips & Tricks for Barn Quilts
●  Bold, vibrant primary colours show well. Best to use only a few colours. Muted colours do not show well. Geometric shapes work well - especially with a black band as a border on your square.
●  Premium Grade Painter’s Tape is an important tool when making barn quilts and is used to tape off areas to be painted (other tapes do not work as well). It is important to have good tape adhesion to prevent paint from seeping past the desired area.
●  How do you treat the edges of a barn quilt? Adding a bead of silicon to the edges of the board and smoothing over the outside edges of the barn square will help to prevent moisture getting between the layers of the board.

Save the Dates - We look forward to seing you at:

●  Home on the Farm Quilt Show & Tea Room - Friday, August 19 & Saturday, August 20, 2022 at the WB George Centre, Kemptville, Ontario.

●  2022 International Plowing Match & Rural Expo - Tuesday, September 20 to Saturday, September 24, 2022 in Kemptville, Ontario

Additional Resources:
Barn Quilt Trails is a wonderful site that will show you Barn Quilt Trails in Ontario by region. Trail maps, pictures and stories are included. Check out the How To area for information on how to Choose a Pattern. On their Facebook page, members share pictures & tips and post questions & answers.

Watch a video from a Barn Quilt Workshop showing photos of people creating barn quilts.