Trying Out Spray Basting


I’m on another quilty mission! This time I’m trying out spray basting as an alternative to my usual pin basting method. I’ve chosen to ‘mash up’ the spray basting techniques used by two successful quilt designer/tutors, Christa Watson of Christa Quilts and Emily Dennis of Quilty Love.

I own to having been reluctant to go down the spray basting route: 1. Using aerosols of any kind is becoming less acceptable as we try to do our individual bit to save the planet; 2. Spraying sticky, potentially toxic stuff in my home isn’t very appealing; 3. Spray baste is more expensive than pins and can’t be reused; 4 There could be issues such as the glue affecting stitch quality by gumming up needles; 5. The finished quilt will need to be washed to remove the glue.  BUT despite all these objections to spray basting and despite my best efforts to perfect the pin basting technique – I nearly always have some issues with fabric ‘bubbling’ and/or puckering – I find myself about to embark on a spray basting mission of discovery!

Here are links to the spray basting blog and video tutorials by both Christa Watson and Emily Dennis.

Christa Watson – Spray Basting Tutorial Using a Table – outdoors on blog.

Chrsita Watson – Spray Basting Video Tutorial Using a Design Wall – You Tube. Christa also talks through the table basting method in this video.

Emily Denis – go to her blog to read her ‘How to spray baste a quilt’ tutorial and to find the link to her video tutorial of the same.

Both Christa and Emily recommend using Odif 505 Temporary Adhesive for fabric. I’ve invested in the small, 250ml, can for this spray basting trial.

My Spray Basting Mash-Up:

Step 1: Cut backing and wadding 3″ larger all round than finished quilt top. Press quilt top and backing.

Step 2: Set up a table outdoors. Cover with an old sheet to protect the table and surrounding area from spray. There was a moderate breeze blowing on the day I spray basted, I used clothes pegs to keep the old sheet in place. As well as protecting the table from the sticky spray the secured sheet helped to keep the quilt top and backing in place despite the breeze.

Step 3: Spray baste the wrong side of the quilt backing. Emily’s post has photos giving a clear indication of how much spray to use.

Quilt backing right side down on the protective sheet.

Step 4: Take the quilt backing indoors and spread flat on a hard floor. Use masking tape to secure the backing to the floor.

Step 5: Fold the wadding in half width ways. Position the folded wadding across the centre of the backing, covering one half of the backing. Line up edges before carefully smoothing out wrinkles from the centre to the edges. Unfold the wadding to cover the other half of the backing. Continue smoothing the wadding from the centre outwards. I used my hands to do this but I’m sure Christa’s technique of using the edge of a ruler could be employed at this stage.

Step 6: Lay the quilt top face down on the outside table. Spray baste the back of the quilt top.

Step 7: Fold the quilt top in half width ways and use the same method as in Step 5 to adhere the quilt top to the wadding. I used quilting rulers to check the edges and corners stayed square and were not pushed out of shape.

Step 8: Take the basted quilt sandwich to your ironing board/pressing table. Use a hot, dry iron to press the backing – working from the centre to the outside edges of each section. Turn the sandwich over to press the quilt top using the same technique, pressing from the centre to the edges. Pressing did not leave my sandwich completely flat however it did gather small amounts of excess fabric that could be pushed by the iron to the edge of the fabric and flattened.

So that’s how I’ve basted my latest quilt sandwich. Now the proof is in the pudding (I suppose a sweet jam sandwich could be a sort of pudding?) – will the fabrics bubble and pucker when I quilt them together or will spray basting stop the layers shifting over each other more effectively than basting with pins? I will report back shortly in #2 of ‘Spray Basting: Will it work for me?’

In the meantime, if you have a preference for either pin basting or spray basting or have any quilt basting tips and techniques please do share in the comments box below. Thank you!


My apologies for the lack of Saturday Quilting Bring & Share posts – normal service will be resumed this week. Two weeks ago we weighed up the risks and decided to go to a conference. Despite everyone testing negative for Covid before attending, the virus was present and we brought it home with us 🙄 Thankfully the vaccines have spared us any serious symptoms. Now we are recovering from the illness but choosing to follow the guidelines means we are stuck in our own socially distancing lockdown. Thank goodness for the arrival of unseasonal warm Spring sunshine to give us the bonus of being able to step outside whenever we want to.


12 thoughts on “Trying Out Spray Basting

  1. I’m a pin baster. I didn’t like the aerosol spray smell and taking it outside was always a challenge because it rains a lot here and the wind blows a lot! I also didn’t like the gumminess that happened. I did like not having to remove the pins! I also liked that the spray baste lasted well (It took me a long time to finish the quilting on the spray basted project.)

    • Hi! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on basting Terry. It’s certainly not a cut and dried argument either way. This week the weather us unseasonably mild and calm – I wouldn’t have had many outdoor spray basting opportunities over the Winter! Do you have any tips for pin basting successfully?

  2. I am sure glad that you have your health, Allison! So far as basting goes, I prefer pin basting by far. I guess I am real comfortable with it…I just don’t trust myself with the spray basting. And somehow, it seems like more effort than pin basting. However, I do know that there are different strokes for different folks, and that is how we learn from each other. 🙂

  3. I used to spray baste all the time but hated lugging everything outside to do it and only when the weather cooperated, so about 3 years ago I switched to glue basting. There are no aerosols and the Elmer’s washable glue sticks are very reasonably priced (especially at back to school time!). I center the backing face down over my ironing board, add the batting and then add the top (face up). Once I have it all lined up and smoothed out, I peel back the top to about half way, dot on the glue on the backside of the top in a section as big as my ironing board, then smooth the top back down and iron that section. I pull the quilt sandwich to line up the next section and repeat the process. Once the top is done, I flip the sandwich over and repeat the whole process on the back. It’s worked like a charm on all my projects – I even used it on a very large queen size quilt. I have had no issues with the glue gumming up my needle and I’ve not had any puckers on the back.

      • Hi Allison, I only use a dab of glue and I space it out like you would when pin basting so the fabric is not stiff at all. I encourage everyone to give it a try, maybe start with a smaller project just to get the feel for it. It has saved me so much time and I don’t procrastinate basting like I used to – LOL!


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