Glue Basting

There are no quilt finishes today – However, I do have a quilt glue-basted.

I had a couple of inquiries as to how I baste with Elmer’s School Glue, so I thought I’d show you.   A few years ago, I saw a post that someone sprayed with diluted glue to baste their quilts.  I tried it.  Well, it didn’t work for me … the sprayer got plugged up and by the time the glue was diluted enough to go through the sprayer – it was diluted too much and wouldn’t stick.   Then, I was at the dollar store one day and saw a jug for paint and a 4″ paint brush.  I bought them and tried it out.   I dilute the glue (1 part glue / 4 parts water) and paint it on.  If it’s not diluted – it’s like a rock to sew through.  1 to 4 ratio seems to be just about perfect.  Enough glue to stick – but not too much.

Here’s my process:

  • Place flannel sheet on top of the bed  (to protect the bedding)Glue Basting 2-1
  • lay out the quilt (bottom, batting, top)
  • fold top back by half
  • lightly paint the batting
  • press with an iron
  • repeat on the other side
  • repeat on the back
  • Quilt when it’s dry.  (I usually let it set for at least 12 hours).


The above pictures were taken with flannel. Glue Basting 2-2 You don’t see the glue or moisture when you use flannel.  When using cotton, it shows up – big time!  You can definitely see where the moisture comes through.  This is OK.  It usually disappears by the time it’s dry.  If the glue is super heavy or not diluted enough – you’ll still see it after it’s dry.  This is OK – just take your time quilting it and it’ll wash out.  (If you don’t wash your quilts before giving or using them, then don’t use this method.)

This process makes the quilt quite stiff, which is actually very nice for quilting!  However, as the quilt is manipulated through the machine, it does loose it’s stiffness.

I have not used this method on any quilt that is larger than 50″x 50″.


To see what others in the quilty world are working on wander over to these blogs:

Happy Quilting




11 thoughts on “Glue Basting

  1. Pingback: Best of 2017 | Quilting Gail

  2. Great post! I’ve used a very similar method but wasn’t diluting the glue–I will try that next time, since the undiluted glue is super stiff. I used one of the really cheap foam brushed. I also do mine on the dining room table with a plastic sheet under the quilt, and I have a method using large canned goods to keep the quilt from sliding off the table.

    I’m glad others are using glue basting for entire quilts; I’ve felt a little like I’ve been doing something naughty and I haven’t posted about it for fear of being caught!


    • Hi Emily … you made me laugh … I know that using glue for basting quilts is breaking the rules … but I don’t allow any quilt police near my home! Maybe, we’ll change the quilting world, one glue-basting post at a time!


  3. Pingback: On paper piecing | For the love of geese

  4. I too recently posted about glue basting, in fact just last week. However my process is much different because I bast when piecing to keep my layers from shifting and I don’t dilute or paint it on. If I didn’t quilt on a frame this is something that I would definitely try. Do you only dilute what you think you will use at one time or do you dilute the entire bottle? If you do dilute more than you will use on one quilt how do you store the diluted, does it get moldy?


    • Hi Denise, I actually took a 950 ml (quart) jug of Elmers that had about 1/4 of the glue left. Filled it with hot tap water and shook it up. Then I poured what I thought I needed into my “paint” container. When I have left-over glue in the paint container, I pour it into a glass jar. I have never had a problem with the glue going moldy. It could be because our water is chlorinated – so the bacteria is non-existent.
      I went to your blog … your process of gluing for paper piecing is quite different than my post.

      Readers: if you want tips on using Elmers Glue for paper piecing: go to Denise’s blog:


    • Hi Tami, I use 505 Spray for all of my larger quilts … it is non-toxic and washes out. I find it is excellent with Warm & Natural batting, but with Hobbs 80/20, I need to add a few pins as I find it sometimes tends to shift.
      But, for smaller quilts, I usually use the glue.


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