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Ohio Star Barn Quilt

on Jun 30, 2015 in Blog, tutorial | 2 comments

Ohio Star Barn Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

It is warm enough to finally put together a small barn quilt project. I have been wanting to make a barn quilt for about 5 years now. Unfortunately, I have no barn. In fact, I live in HOA-suburban-America-land. (Ok, but it would be awesome if I could just hang a barn quilt over my garage!) Thankfully, my parents live in a rural area where a barn quilt would look awesome. My quilty-mom doesn’t seem to object to the idea of getting a barn quilt as a gift.

How To Make a Barn Quilt

Unlike traditional barn quilts, designed to be seen from the highway on fabulous barn quilt trail drives, this project will be 4′ x 4′ and hang in a large backyard.

Please keep in mind: This is not the exact science of all things woodworking and painting. This is how I made my little barn quilt.

First up, I priced the plywood. Turns out it is much more cost effective to buy a large sheet of plyboard and have the folks at the home improvement store cut it in half. Hooray – I have a spare piece for when I mess up the first piece!

Side note– If you really do screw up the first try, you can always flip the wood over to the back before you have to bust out the second piece.Ohio Star Barn Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs


This is a “here’s what I bought” list.

I might still go back and buy a sealer used for exteriors, even though the paint and primer is rated for outdoor use. I just didn’t grab it on the first day.

The hardest part of this project was determining which block to use. For the first, traditional barn quilt, I decided to go with the uber-traditional Ohio Star quilt block in patriotic colors. Maroon, Navy, and Cream. I thought the darker colors would wear better over time. – I’ll let you know in a few years if that holds true. –

Step 1– Prime the whole 4′ x 4′ square with Kilz2. Make sure to add the primer to the edges to give them a bit of a seal.

Ohio Star Barn Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Step 2– Use quilter’s ruler, measuring tape, woodworking square or other tools to measure out your supersized design onto the white plyboard. Make all marks, lightly with a pencil. A traditional Ohio Star finishes at 12″ x 12″. Each of the 9-patch sections would be 4″ square. For this much larger block, it finishes at 48″ x 48″ and each of the patches are 16″ square, if that helps.

If you are feeling computer savvy, you can find a block in EQ7, changed the finished dimensions to be 48″ x 48″ and let the software do the math for you. See how I did that on a different block, here.

Step 3– Roughly paint in the lightest color. I didn’t mask off this area at all. I made sure to over-spray all the cream colored areas. It will always be easier to cover the cream with dark paint, rather than the other way around.

Step 4– Decided which color you want to tackle first. I chose blue.

  • Cut the poster board into large rectangle chunks. This will help with over-spray and wind.
  • Lay the poster board about 1/2″ away from the light pencil lines.
  • Tape directly on the pencil line and over the poster board.

Ohio Star Barn Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

  • Work your way around the design, reusing the poster board. I didn’t reuse any of the tape.

Ohio Star Barn Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

So here’s a HUGE tip for you if you are using spray paint: Do not paint towards the taped area. This will make the paint seep under the tape and bleed a bit. Spray the paint along the taped edge with the spray pointed towards the middle of the shape. Once all the edges are painted, paint the center of the shape. Of course, I figured this out about three-quarters the way through the project.

On the upside: Any bleed or over-spray really cannot be seen from a distance, so that problem will work itself out. If it really bothers you, though, you can spray paint a small “puddle” onto a paper plate and, with a smaller detail brush, cover up the bleed areas.

Step 5– Once color one dries, move on to color two. Mask off the shapes in the same manner and work around the plywood.

Ohio Star Barn Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

The traditional Ohio Square quilt block has a big square patch in the center of the block. After brainstorming with my 9yo, we decided to make a diamond shape in the center, instead.

Ohio Star Barn Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

This is my barn quilt block, finished. …or is it… Thanks to the magic of photoshop (which, you know I super-love photoshop) I added some square-in-a-square triangle settings for that diamond.

Ohio Star Barn Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

The piece isn’t sealed yet. What should I do? Leave it with a floating red diamond (choice 1) or add in the blue setting triangles (choice 2)?

I’ll be sure to post the barn quilt installed, so you’ll be able to see which choice wins out.

AND, it looks like I will have a whole second piece of plywood to make a barn quilt for my tiny backyard fence. Stay tuned.

Updated to add: It is recommended to me to seal the plywood with marine varnish/sealer. Evidently that stuff is the best of all-weather sealers.


  1. I love your barn quilt! I prefer the 2nd choice.


    June 30, 2015

  2. I like the second choice too. Because the main road thru town is rightin front my place, I’m going to do this too! Perfect idea for my summer painting of the porch. It’s a duplex and my daughter lives in the other apartment. She’s going to love it too. I’m thinking a bears paw block in the middle and the star on top between our windows. Super easy instructions from you. Thanks for sharing!


    February 19, 2016

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