Over the years I have dabbled with different methods of basting quilts, always trying to find the way that seemd to work best for providing a flat quilt to make quilting it easier.

For a long time I resisted spray basting because I would be doing it on my own and I thought that two people would be needed.  I thought the spray basting had to be done outdoors and the English climate does not lend itself to this.  I thought that if there was a wrinkle in my spray basted quilt I would not be able to correct it.  I thought that the quilting needed to be done straight away after spray basting or the layers would come apart.

I was wrong on all counts.  I just wish now that I had tried spray basting my quilts a long time ago – well, my small quilts anyway.  I can cope easily on my own with spray basting a small quilt by folding it in half and oing one half at a time.  it is best to have good ventilation when spray basting, but that means a window open, not having to be outside.  If there is a wrinkle in any layer of spray basted quilt, I just separate the layers, smooth the wrinkle out and then smooth the layers back down.  if I don’t have time to quilt immediately after I have spray basted, the layers are still well stuck together for days afterwards.

Spray basting the first half of the quilt

So – I’m a convert.  Now to the mechanics of spray basting.  Layer your quilt in the normal way:  backing fabric right side down, then wadding, then quilt top with right side up.  I usually try and leave the three layers lying for a few hours to let them settle down.

Before beginning spray basting, open a window and lay newspaper down on the area where you will be working.  Lay the quilt on top of the newspaper.

When you are ready to begin spray basting, peel back the quilt top and wadding to half way so that just the backing fabric is exposed.  Spray from about 10″ away in a general zigzag pattern.  You don’t want to saturate the fabric – just enough for the adhesive to be able to work.  Lay the wadding down on top of the backing fabric and smooth gently from the middle to the border.  If you find a wrinkle just lift the wadding, smooth the wrinkle and put the wadding back down again.

Spray baste the top of the wadding in the same way and smooth the quilt top down over it.

Spray basting the second half of the quilt

Turn the quilt around to the other half that have not spray basted, peel back the wadding and quilt top and repeat the process.  Leave for half an hour or so and your quilt will be ready for quilting.

I haven’t been as successful with spray basting large quilts but I think it would work just as well provided that you had someone to help straighten out the layers of quilt.

This video is my first attempt at video instructions and I hope that it will demonstrate all of the above.


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  1. Elaine Danan says:

    I always got wrinkles on the backing due to stretching as I smoothed the layers with the flat of my hands. Now, doing half at a time, I gently pat the batting onto the sprayed backing. Then [after spraying half the batting] I lay the top slowly with enough slack that it doesn’t wrinkle, and pat it down thoroughly.

  2. Debra Valentine says:

    Here is a great tip I learned from a hand baster. Lay all layers out as you normally would. Get two dowel rods. Larger in diameter the better. Start at the end of your quilt top and fasten the edge to dowel rod with tape. Slowly roll up on dowel to about the half way mark keep fabric tight and wrinkle free. Now go back and do the batting the same way until you reach the previous rolled top. Straighten up and smooth out backing. Start next to rolled batting and spray a few inches of basting spray from one side to the next. Unroll rolled up batting to cover sprayed area. It’s easier to keep smooth if you work on short distances across full widths. When you finish that area leave to batting roll in place and do the exposed area between the rolls in the same manner until you have completed the entire half. in-tape your dowels, rotate your quilt and do the other end in the same manner. All done. Ready to quilt!

  3. I love the spray basting method. However, I always iron my backing and top pieces prior to spraying. I let them set overnight draped over the square pressing board so fibers can relax and sew the next day. Results have always been good. Anything beats pinning.

    • Thanks for the idea, Linda. I also iron the backing and top before spraying, but hadn’t thought about allowing them to rest before spraying.

  4. Lind smith says:

    Help! I spray basted quilt and it was all smooth. After removing it from table, as the spray dried, i got tons of wrinkles, mostly on back! I’m gonna cry! Any suggestions?

    • Oh dear! That’s never happened to me before, but all I can really suggest is trying to smooth the back out gently working from the centre. Let me know if that helps.

  5. The quilt is ~55×65 , I think I went a ‘little mad’, as it has wrinkled slopes on my backing; I think I’ll pin as well. It’s a Spiderman panel w/3 boarders; now I’m not sure how to quilt the figure! It will work out!!. Marie

  6. Hi Rose, Your instructions are so clear & concise; your soft voice makes it easy to understand, too. I am working on a quilt (I’m a beginner) & picked up spray at a fabric store. Instructions on the can may be simple enough for experienced quilters, but I wasn’t clear on (or was scared to follow) the instructions. Your method sounds simple enough; I will give it a go! Honestly? Your voice gave me confidence! Thanks Rose; I have to get to work! Marie

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