How to Sandwich a King-Size Quilt

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I have a question and hoping maybe someone can help me. I need to know how other quilters sandwich a king-size quilt. I tried the floor—no good. I have two tables—too small. My husband said he would build me something, but wondering how others do it before we go that route. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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The good news is, you already have the tough part down—you know what sandwiching is and how to approach it. Sandwiching a king-sized quilt does present some additional challenges because of the sheer amount of fabric involved and the need for a relatively large, flat surface. Here are some ideas for places you can do this.

A Bed or Floor

Your best options are already in your home. If you are making a king-sized quilt, you might have a king-sized bed at hand. Strip everything but the fitted sheet and assemble your sandwich there. You’ll be able to reach all parts of the quilt and move it around as needed; this option is particularly helpful if it is difficult for you to get down onto the floor (or tough to get back up).

You might need to move a few pieces of furniture, but the floor of a large room is an idea too; it is flat, smooth, and you’ll ideally have enough room to spread the entire quilt out. You can also use masking tape to hold the layers in place. The only downside to floor work is that you’ll spend a good bit of time sitting and crawling about, which can be tough for those with mobility issues; choose another option if you’re worried about discomfort during or after the process.

Your Garage or Workspace

If you do any kind of home improvement (or have a spouse with tools), you may have everything you need in your own garage. Two sawhorses and a sheet of plywood make an ideal setting for sandwiching a king quilt; you’ll be able to access all areas without sitting or crawling on the floor. Cover the plywood with a sheet if it is dusty, then pin away.

Think Outside the (Home) Box

You might have better luck sandwiching your quilt in another setting. If you have exhausted all of the possibilities at home, look to other places. Your local library likely has at least one large meeting space with tables for classes; these conference rooms are usually available for free and the table may be much larger than you can access at home. Other options include your church, school, or anywhere you go for classes or social gatherings. Don’t forget to ask about the most obvious location: your local quilt or fabric shop might have just the spot for this process, particularly if you shop there regularly.

Tips for Sandwiching a Large Quilt

Safety pins or a tacking gun are likely your best options for this project; basting spray does a wonderful job on smaller pieces, but can actually cause problems when you assemble an oversized quilt. Straight pins or masking tape can help secure your layers as you get the pieces into position.

Begin to baste from the center out, smoothing the quilt as you go. It is important that you move yourself around the quilt—don’t slide the quilt around on the surface. If you are on the floor, you’ll be able to crawl across the surface; you can walk around a table or bed to reach the areas you need to. Moving the quilt itself could cause the layers to shift.

Sandwiching a quilt by layering the backing, batting, and top is tedious and time consuming, but it also has a major impact on the look of your finished piece. Setting aside a realistic amount of time (at least a few hours), using the right technique, and choosing an ideal location can help you get the job done correctly and allow you to move on to the actual fun of quilting.

Still stuck? You could always take your quilt to a professional long arm quilter. It would likely take them an hour or two, and—depending on who you work with—could run you $50–$100. Your local quilt or fabric shop or any local club or guild can help you find someone.

Happy quilting,


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45 Responses to “How to Sandwich a King-Size Quilt”

  1. Sherrie Mazzocchi

    I’m fortunate enough to have two 6 foot tables in my sewing area, but a king sized quilt is always a challege. I read an article about using pool noodles to roll up each layer of the sandwich then place each one on top of the other. It really helps!

  2. Lorraine E Toner

    The best advice that I read and put into practice is taping the bottom layer as tightly as you can to the floor or whatever other space you use to sandwich the quilt. I use duct tape and get the bottom layer as tight as possible taped to the floor. Then the bottom layer doesn’t move when you add the other layers and it lays nicely with few wrinkles or gapping issues. I clear out a large space in my living room and mop the floor and then lay the quilt down and start taping with the duct tape. I smooth and straighten as I go so as to keep it as wrinkle and gap free as possible. I sit on the quilt as I move around and smooth it as I pin the three layers together. The back of the quilt looks much better when I do the taping method as tight as possible. The sandwich is the least fun part of quilting, but a necessity.

  3. Judy McCurdy

    For my larger pieces to sandwich, I go to my church where we have folding tables that can be pushed together. The height of the tables depends on the classroom or area. Lots of room and maybe a fellow quilter to help.

  4. Angela Laws

    I use a CUTTING TABLE . he middle section is 3 x 3′ . It has2 drop leafs , one on each side , the same size . So when its spread out , its 3′ x 9′ . I mark the center of my backing and top with safety pins . I sread each section out on a bed , then fold a strip of thw piece , about 3″ , all the way across , then put a binder clip about every 6″ . I do this until 1 1/2 ‘ from the center. Then I go to the opposite side of the quilt qand do the same thing back towards the middle . After the top and the back are done, I bind clip the binding the same way . Then I take them to my extended Cutting Table . I lay the binder clipped backing down , with the safty pin marked center in the middle if the table . Then i put the binder clipped batting on , Then the binder clipped top . I make sure that the safety pin marked centers of all three layers are lined up over each other . I smooth all the layers out and tight , then baste an X about every 6 ” . Just work the surface of the table , just rolling the basted area into binder clipped folds ,as to reach the edge of yiur table , all the way across , and unroll the opposite edge of binder clipped folds , of the next 3’ of top, batting and backing that yiou need to baste .

  5. Pamela Zajicek

    I used our ping pong table (take the net off) and I tape down the outside edges. I sprayed it and put some pins in. To get the whole quilt done, I turned it a quarter turn (2 opposite sides will fit, so just turn it so that those 2 sides are now the hanging sides) It was so much easier and I could leave it if I did not get it all done in one day or an afternoon. I have also taken my backing, batting and top to a long-armer who charged my twenty dollars. She tacked it (sewed a few stitches, moved about 3 in., tacked , etc. So I didn’t have to do anything but quilt it. I did that in two different states that we lived in, just ask around. She used a bright contrasting thread so I could easily pick it out.

  6. Eloise Barth

    I go to my church and put tables together to make a large enough area to spray and safety pin baste.

  7. Scott

    I had a super-king (110″square) and I had decided to piece the back with miter corners around a central panel. We laid it on the garage floor over plastic drop cloths using taped-down skewers to locate the center and then put skewers along the miter seams of the back. The quilt top was a Storm-at-Sea so it was reasonably easy to get it into position and squared up on the back with the corners properly over the miters. Gotta love those skewers! Rather than pin, I used fusible batting. It worked but some pinning (about every 15″) helped keep the heavy piece all in place at the center and the corners.

  8. Linda

    That’s why quilters in the early days gathered at churches and helped one another with their quilts.

  9. Linda

    I quilted a king size quilt in thirds. I cut the batting into thirds and sandwiched only the middle up and down. Quilted that almost to the edge of the batting and then used batting tape to join the sides of the batting on one side and quilted that side. Then the other side. Worked well

  10. QED quilters

    Our quilting group of 7 help to baste our quilts on one of those 6′ banquet tables, using a button in the center of the table to place our backing, batting, and quilt top (each folded to match the center, then laid down and binder-clipped to the table). We’ll then baste away what’s on the table, and shift it (and re-binder-clip) and baste some more. We’re the master-b@st@rs!

  11. Betty-Ann B Juraska

    these larg quilts can be spray basted or pinned by doing a quadrant at a time-her 2 tables would be perfect-or sections-by starting in the center 7 rollin out one side 7 then the other-pressing each as she goes to activate the spray adhesive

  12. Patricia Schindler

    I seen a demo with two pool noodles , flatten your 3 pieces by brushing them with your hands then roll onto noodles.

  13. Marcy

    This is one of those times when four hands are more than twice as efficient as two. Draft a friend, husband or kid to man the other side of the quilt. I use my dining room table, working from the center out, and use the chopsticks to center everything.

  14. Patricia Georgeff

    Your longarm person can baste your king size quilt for you cheaper than you think

  15. Ruth

    I had been thinking about this problem when I encountered a post on Pinterest about a quilt-as-you-go technique. Genius. Not only can I sandwich the sections on my regular work table, but I won’t have to wrangle all that length/width around my sewing machine to quilt. So I will sandwich in sections of a size I can work with, quilt them, stitch the sections together by the top so the batting fits snugly, then slip stitch the back sections. There’s probably something on You-Tube too.

  16. Stephanie Santmyers

    I use two long wood sticks from Home Depot (1″x 2.5″ cross-section.) tape one edge of the quilt, face up along the edge of the wood and roll the top around it smoothing as I go. Do the same to the backing with fashion side down. Place the backing roller on the table, put batting on it, then the roller with the quilt top last. Pin across the edge. Unroll both top and backing while the batting hangs between, pin, unroll pin, unroll pin until the ends are reached. Result is a smooth, unrippled sandwich without crawling o the floor. Bonus, little room is needed and the in-progress work can be stored

  17. Joan Sheppard

    All great timeless tips. I use the old flat, hollow doors that my husband was going to throw out! I do the roll out, each layer rolled then unrolled. And my beloved heard some swearing when it was time to true up the sides and bought me an “Infrared Right Angle Square Laser Level 90 Degree Ground Measurement Tool” (large box store with yellow daisy logo) or hardware store about $20. Shoots a line of light about 25 feet. I can mark or cut, but Wendy had the best tip. Bring a friend. Thanks for all the other great tips – I’m going to try them all! We actually have a club “Needlers” that meets at the library right in the foyer. Everyone passes and oohs and ahhs. We all do different things, embroidery, knitting, one lady inherited an entire garbage bag of embroidery thread and brought it to the library, took an entire table and we all helped sort by color in very short order. Would have taken much longer at home alone.
    Thanks again for all the great tips.

  18. Carol Beardmore

    I recently did a 110in x 110in quilt. I hired a room for $10 and brought along 2 friends to help. Best idea ever – the 2 friends! We pushed 4 tables together into a squarish shape. If we had more we couldn’t reach the centre of the quilt. I had marked the centre of all three layer previously so I had a reference point. I used large bulldog clips to attach my backing to the tables then I lay my wadding on, repositioning the clips over the wadding. I then placed the quilt top on and again reposition the clips to hold all layers firm. We were able to pin baste about two thirds of the quilt easily. We then pulled the secured quilt across and removed 2 tables, then clipped the remaining quilt to the table so we could continue pinning. Worked a treat! took about 3 hours.

  19. Jennie Thomas

    I’ve used the pool noodle method with good success on something too large for my table. You would need to join two pool noodles (I actually used pipe insulation – longer than pool noodles) by sticking an old broom handle or other dowel down the open center a couple of feet each direction. 6 pieces of pipe insulation or pool noodles, 3 pieces of dowel and then you can work from one side to the other while sitting in a chair! I’ve done one wider than my table was long, so I think you could do it on a regular table if the space is as long as your quilt backing is wide, although I am sure doing it on an 8′ banquet table, or even a pair of them, would be easier. For me, the pool noodle method is how I finally got rid of puckers in my backing no matter how nicely I tried to tape it down first on a bigger quilt.

  20. Elaine Chandler

    Use 2by4’s .Drill holes around and set up 4 chairs. Put on with tacks. I tie with yarn.

  21. Trish J

    The ‘pool noodle’ method is what I use, it works really well. There are several YouTube videos available on this method. Good Luck!

    • Cynthia Leffler

      This is very timely. I have 3 tops ready to sandwich but because of large sizes I haven’t done them yet. My problem is crawling on floor will destroy my aching knees! So these suggestions are helpful. Just wish me luck!

  22. NILDA

    I need to change quilt size from twin to queen? How to figure out how much to add. I need help. Thank you, Nilda Gerena

  23. Jan

    I purchased a ping pong table (top only) that came in two pieces. I place 2 banquet tables, side by side and place the top on them. I clamp the two pieces (center) together with large binder clips. The size of the board is 5′ x 9′. With two six foot banquet tables, the top hangs over about a 1-1.5′ on each side. I use masking tape and/or binder clips to lay out the layers taut. It’s the perfect height to pin the layers together. If my top is over 60″ wide, I pin what I can and move the quilt over, re-secure and continuing pinning. For smaller quilts, I only need to use one piece of the table top.

  24. Karen

    Google board basting, so easy, great to do on a center island in the kitchen or dining room table…once I tried this technique I never went back to the floor or bed! Good luck.

  25. Portia Landen

    Is it possible to do a quilt from start to finish on a small regular sewing machine. Actually, my machine is an embroidery machine too.

    • Customer Service

      Hello Portia,

      Absolutely! Until you are comfortable with how to maneuver a large amount of fabric under your machine when quilting I would stick to twin, full and then queen size quilts.

      Ashley NQC Video Membership

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  26. Su

    I solved this problem using two pieces of timber from local timber store…bought two lengths to suit. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS METHOD REQUIRES YOU TO WORK FROM ONE END TO THE OTHER RATHER THAN FROM THE MIDDLE SO IT MAY TAKE A COUPLE OF TRIES TO ENSURE PLACEMENT.
    First use strip of fabric in length to match x 6 inches wide. Fold lengthwise and thumbtack it to the wood. This is anchorage for your quilt fabrics.
    Spread backing out as smoothly as possible on a table or bed, overlapping the timber and pin it to the fabric to anchor it. Do the same with the wadding. Then wind these together around the timber, smoothing out sideways to remove any creases.
    Take a second piece of wood, attach anchoring fabric as before, then pin your quilt topper to this and wind it on firmly and smoothly too.
    I am then able to lie these across the length of my dining table as the timber supports the fabrics.
    Unwind about 12 inches of the backing/wadding and smooth it out. Lie the second board on top then unwind until both boards are lying side by side. You will be able to tension the layers by pressing down on the topper board and pushing the backing board gently away form you.
    Use tacking pins or thread to hold the layers together, unwinding the boards as you go, remembering to keep smoothing out any wrinkles. The basted layers can fall over the edge of the table onto the floor. Should you need to pack up and move before completion you can simply roll the basted quilt around the two planks and prop them up in a corner out of the way till you can get back to it. Good luck 🙂

  27. Lorri

    I use swim noodles. I have six and taped two together to make three long ones. I roll backing, batting, and top on each one. Then you can lay them next to each other and spray baste as you unroll them. This uses lots less space and can be done on the floor, bed, or table. There is probably a video or a tutorial out there.

    • MaryEllen Kalb

      I use this method with the pool noodles and there is a Utube video that explains it. I also use spray baste to help keep the sandwich together

  28. nancy

    I went to a local church center and asked if I could use those long banquet tables which takes 3 of those tables. I sandwich my quilt and gave the church a donation for the use of their tables.

  29. Wendy V

    I use long resin tables at the local senior centre. If the quilt is a king, I push as many tables together as I need, then centre all the layers, securing with masking tape. I stand on a short stool in order to reach the middle when I am pinning. It’s nice to have a friend helping you.

  30. Candice Schimmel

    I tend to make large quilts and had no place at home to baste. I would have to stay late at the school I work at, clean the floor in the hallway and baste them there. Talk about pain! I just made a quilt that is 98×104 inches, and was going to have to spend a Saturday at the school basting it. My husband decided to bring his skills into the mix and made me a table topper to use at home! :) It is a piece of plywood with 1×2 around the perimeter on the bottom. I had a piece of laminate that I laid on the floor for smaller quilts that he then glued on the top. Now we (he!) can just lift this topper into place on the dining room table, making my work surface about 7 feet by 4 feet. I use heavy duty clamps from home depot to hold the sides down, and pin a section (starting with the middle) then move the quilt, reclamp, and pin another section. It is so much easier!! I like the laminate on top, since I know the pins won’t really harm it and the fabric isn’t getting wood splinters in it. And then the topper can be moved into storage when I’m not using it.

  31. P

    In addition to the other comment, take your time and baste the quilt with a contrasting color thread. Start at the middle and baste to the edge, make an X first, and then add more basting lines, like you are cutting a pie. Make sure to start your quilting in the middle of the quilt and work outward, keeping all layers tight. Good luck!

  32. Ellie Mae

    I had the same problem until I found a you tube video. The quilter used wooden skewers to mark the center of the table – both length and width. Then they used this to place the center of the backing, batting and quilt. Pinned from the center of the quilt out. It works amazingly well!