Spray Basting

I swear that I’m still alive. Life is just busy with the little one right now. She’s learning to stand and making all kinds of sounds…she even has a few words at 10 months! I would say that her first official word is “kitty cat” due largely to the fact that we do have a cat, Tabitha. Even as I write this, I have to stop to rearrange our bookshelves so that she cannot pull off anything that she can destroy! I turned on the pop hits music channel because she loves to dance and it’s working to keep distracted by working on her “dance” moves. LOL.

But enough of my excuses…let’s talk about something fabric related! The topic of the day: spray basting!

My world has officially changed in the light of spray basting. I’ll just start with that. So you know right off the bat that I’m a newly converted fan.

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of spray basting for quite a while. Let’s face it, I don’t know anyone who enjoys the basting process. It’s sort of a necessary evil. And you can mess it up pretty easily…which can take a beautifully pieced top and make it less than it could be because the basting wasn’t accurate enough.

Most people baste with safety pins but I’m supremely lazy when it comes to basting and I used extra long quilting pins to baste. I used the same technique as safety pins… using them often and everywhere.

This is a shot of my little container of pins and a quilt all ready to be basted.

Caitlyn's Quilt

My pictures of quilts that are basted with these pins are too far away for you to really see what it looks like. But what I will tell you is that because the pins are open ended is that I got stuck with them ALL THE TIME. Obviously this is why people use safety pins…because they are safe. But remember…I’m lazy and pricking my fingers was always worth it for the time I save both putting in safety pins and removing them as I quilted. But it made me dread working with any quilt that was basted…the quilting gloves helped protect me! LOL.

So all that being said, I was ready to experiment with the scary thing known as spray basting. Would it work? Would it make my needle all gummy? Would I destroy a quilt top with need to be even lazier? Where would I do it? What kind of product should I use? Oh the questions!!! It was enough to prevent me from trying it for a very long time.

But it was time…so I researched online to find reviews about what to use. Overwhelmingly quilters agreed that 505 spray and temporary adhesive was a safe and effective choice.

It’s a slightly more expensive option and available I believe mainly at your local quilt store (or online). I figured I would give myself the best chance of success and suck it up and pay for the more expensive product since I didn’t have anyone I knew who had tried other ways.

And my life was changed.

The first quilt that we (because my husband helps me out with the quilts on this part) spray basted with this baby quilt.

Squared Straight

I foolishly forgot to take pictures for you all when we were doing it, but I did remember the next time. Albeit it was for a much smaller quilt, my doll quilt.

So we pick a nice large flat vertical surface and for ventilation purposes we chose to go outside. Using blue painters tape, we smoothly taped the quilt back to the side of the truck with the right side of the fabric next to the truck. Manufacturer’s instructions I believe say to spray only the batting, but we occasionally cheat here and spray the back directly. Then we smooth the batting over the back starting from the center and working our way out.

My husband with the batting!

You can see why you need two people for a larger piece of batting. But this process is so forgiving. Don’t like where the batting is? Just pull it back and put it where you want it. No loss of adhesion or destruction of the batting. Easy peasy. Smooth away!

Then spray the batting side that is now facing you. You don’t need to douse it!! A little goes a long way which is nice. But spray in nice even strokes and completely cover the batting…especially the edges so that the top layer can be placed firmly in place.

My Hubby with the can of spray baste

Then, the final and very satisfying part of laying your beautiful quilt top on as the last layer. Line up what you need to just like regular basting and again start in the middle and smooth your way out.

Doll Quilt Spray Basted

All done! You now a quilt that is basted and ready to be finished.

The largest quilt that I’ve used this method on is the baby quilt see above which is approximately 45″ x 60″. Also, of interest to note, I let this quilt sit for few months in the spray basted form all rolled up. It was waiting for me to get to it. LOL. When I was ready to quilt it, I simply unrolled it and had some very minimal straightening or smoothing of the layers. The adhesive was still active and making adjustments was just as easy as when it was first applied! That’s months later people!

Since then I haven’t looked back! I will never baste with pins again if I can help it. Because let me tell you that it is soooo much easier to quilt a piece that has no pins in it. And I found that there was no shifting of the fabrics. Overall, very successful.

I have yet to try a full bed sized quilt yet, but I don’t anticipate any troubles and I have a bottle of cheaper spray adhesive that I would like to try as well. I can give small projects a quick spray in my sewing room like my mug rug or mini quilts. Yay!!

So have you spray basted? any tips? still afraid to try it? Tell me your thoughts! I’m a strong convert and have had no problems with the process at all…but perhaps you have a warning tale for the rest of us. Share!

29 thoughts on “Spray Basting”

  1. I love spray basting too! 505 only! I've done up to a queen size, and I always spray the fabric, not the batting. I've always been able to track down a couple big tables at a church or quilt shop, and I lay out the three layers, taping the backing down. Then I fold up half the batting/top and spray the backing, fold it back down smoothing carefully. Then you do the same with the other half. Then you to the same with the top – fold half of it back and spray it, smooth it back down. Then to the other side. Done!

    I've found it stays stuck as long as I need it to – sometimes months.

    No warning tales here. I can't even smell the 505 – some people say they are bothered by it so make sure you have good ventilation …

  2. I've never spray basted before, and I have a question. Do you have to worry about getting the spray on your background surface (the table, your floor, etc)?

  3. I've always wondered about spray basting. It just seemed too good to be true. I will try it on some baby quilts I'm planning and I hope to never pin again. Thanks for testing the waters and sharing your results!

  4. Ok I have only ever spray basted, I have never understood why anyone would mess w/ pins but I'm a new quilter so I figured there was some age-old quilting wisdom I was missing. Always make sure you are well ventilated though – that stuff isn't really the best.

  5. wow – ok this post has made me want to try it! I have never spray-basted before but the thought of not having to remove pins is very appealing!

  6. Emily I thought that I would answer your question publicly because it's a great question! Yes, I would be concerned about over spray. I'm sure that it is cleanable in some cases, but frankly I don't have the time to worry about that. LOL. So I don't currently have any tips for cleaning up after it, but I always protect the surfaces that I spray on. It's pretty simple to do that…a piece of newspaper under a small project will do the trick or around the edges of a quilt. But I've found that it is pretty easy to control the spray…unless it's a crazy windy day! LOL.

  7. You know what, when I went into my LQS back in February when I started quilting, I asked about spray basting and they looked at me as if I was from another planet -ooooh no, they didn't even baste with pins, they basted with basting stitches. WHAT??? talk about living in the past. So now I am going to go online, order some Levi 505 and spray baste my next quilt because I hate the whole stupid pinning process – I lean over my dining room tables stabbing myself with those stupid pins and then you have to pull them out as you go. It's a stupid, annoying process. BTW, I have a cold so if I sound a bit bad tempered, that may be why!

    Oh and you say you respond to questions, so what's seven times eight. I'm just kidding. I know you know a bit about maths, that's all.

    BTW, miss C sounds pretty advanced talking so well at her age! Maybe she's going to be clever like her dad – don't take me seriously, it's a joke Nigel makes every single time one of our kids does something good: "ooh must be my genes"!

  8. I pinned once then spray basted with 505 and never looked back. I tend to Quilt as you go so I haven't used for anything bigger than baby quilt but it is so useful and a lot less hassle. I have sprayed fabric and batting, it has made no difference which and I always spray outside!

  9. OMG, yay for spray basting! It has seriously decreased my stress level when quilting. I've spray basted all the way up to a king sized quilt with no problems whatsoever. Well, okay, not no problems. The king sized quilt was fine, but I once tried to spray baste a baby sized quilt and for some reason one of the fabrics I had chosen would NOT stick. Like at all. I can't remember the manufacturer now, but it was nice, quality quilting fabric. Very weird. Other than that it's made my whole life easier 🙂

    Oh, and I usually try and save my spray for quilts that I'm free motion quilting. I don't mind pins for straight line quilting, but they really stop my flow when I'm trying to free motion. I've only used the June Tailor (Taylor?) spray that you can get at Joanne's. I've read that it's vastly inferior to 505, but I figure if I never use the good stuff I'll never know what I'm missing. Right?

  10. I'm currently using 505 on a Hoopsisters quilt I'm doing. It's a quilt in the hoop project and you use the spray to attach the backing fabric. I also spray outside for ventilation. I just finished my 64th block and I can tell there is a little residue on my machine that I need to clean. I was told if you use warm water it will come right off.

    I have also used Dritz Repositionable Spray Adhesive to attach stabilizer to material for machine embroidery and I've never had a problem with it.

    Thanks for your post…it gives me the confidence to try it on a bigger project!

  11. Okay, first off, that first quilt pictured is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. Love it.

    I don't mind basting with pins but I absolutely hate taking them out while I am quilting. Add to this frustration the fact that I often still get puckers and I am eager for a new solution. I would love to try spray basting and this might just give me the push I need.

    So it doesn't harm or yellow the fabrics over time? Does it just wash out when you do the first wash I wonder?

    ok, I'm off to see how crazy expensive this miracle spray is…

  12. I'll have to order some of that online and try it. I live in a small town and my only option was an all natural product. I was glad to have it since I don't like chemicals around my kids but it only kinda sorta holds. So I spray and sparingly use pins as a back up. I like the security aspect of both but it would be nice to not have to stop to remove pins. It seems like every time I'm finally in a quilting rhythm I have to stop to remove pins then my stitches get thrown off again.

  13. Thanks for all the great info on spray basting! I've recently discovered it too but have only used it for smaller projects (coasters, potholders, mug rugs.) I think because the 505 is so expensive I'm afraid to use it on an actual quilt, but maybe I'll have to suck it up and just go for it. It sure has been a lifesaver on smaller projects, that's for sure!

  14. I am really going to have to try this stuff. I have about 6 or 7 quilt tops in my closet that I haven't attempted quilting yet because I hate basting! I just haven't found a good technique yet. Pinning works for small quilts, but I am always scratching my table so badly with the pins that I am afraid of doing bigger quilts that would require working on my floor. I don't want to hear what my husband would have to say if I scratched up the floor. Yikes!

  15. I used to spray baste until I got a frame. I used the cheap stuff and was always satisfied with it. I spread an old sheet over the bed, then lay out the entire quilt – backing, batting and top. I folded back the batting and top to the halfway point, sprayed the batting, then smoothed it over the backing. I sprayed the other side of the batting and smoothed the top over it. Then I folded back the other side and repeated.

    Although I've never had any problems with it gumming up my machine, there have been some concerns about using it on heirloom quilts. Personally, if you're making quilt that are going to be "loved to death," I wouldn't worry about using the spray. If you're making a quilt that is intended to be around in 30 years or more, you might want to read up on the concerns.

  16. I have used the June Tailor basting spray for many years, and love it! I lay batting on the floor, spray the back of the quilt, pat it in place, and cut off the batting about 3/4" around the quilt. Then I lay the quilt on the backing, fold half of it back, spray, pat it in place. Do the same to the other half. Spray lightly; you don't need a lot. Turn the quilt over, smooth the backing from the center out. Turn the quilt over, smooth the quilt top from the center out. That's it! You're ready to quilt. Once in a while if the quilt has polished cotton for the backing, I will pin around the perimeter of the quilt. Otherwise, I don't use any pins. The basting spray works best with Warm and Natural or 80/20 batting. The easy designs to start with are stippling or loop-da-loops. Happy Quilting! Lorraine

  17. I've used the June Tailor quilt basting spray and like it quite a bit. I've had to use it indoors because of cold weather (It doesn't spray well at 30 degrees) and found that if I cover the floor first by taping down an old sheet larger than my piece to be sprayed, it doesn't make a sticky mess of the floor.

    Do shake the heck out of the can until your arm feels like it's going to fall off or it'll come out all gloppy.

    I used to use it on everything, but since I got a quilting frame I only use it on things that I want to sit-down quilt. I've never had problems with it gumming up my machine as long as I wait a while after I spray before I start quilting. 🙂

  18. Thanks for the post.

    Like most people I really don'tenjoy rolling around on the floor and pin basting but the ventilation issue and the overspray have really stopped me from trying the spray basting.

    And I must say both still worry me but the results you described are seriously tempting…

  19. I believe this is the first photo of Mr. hunka'-burnin'-love on your blog. Am I right? I think if the little quilt were positioned differently he could have gotten some free valuable internet advertising for his business. BTW, what did he use to clean the overspray off the side of the truck? My first spray basting was a Queen size with a friend helping and very successful. Straight line quilting. I need to take the time to learn and practice free motion. Last two quilts have gone to the longarmer for more important work (a pineapple entered in the quilt show and my son's wedding quilt). I've done a few more since but mostly just pin because I don't remember about using the spray.

  20. I've actually never pin basted in the whole year I've been quilting. I've never had a problem with any of the colours changing, I just wish it was able to restick once you've had to move something. The idea is to get it right the first time, obviously. Buuuttt… that doll quilt is incredible. I am envious of your quilt-fu and artistic vision.

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