Glue Basting Tutorial
I am excited to share this Glue Basting Tutorial with you! I found myself last winter basting a lot of quilts and at some point I found myself frustrated with pinning. Sometimes I wasn’t going through all the layers, sometimes I pinned it to my carpet, sometimes I pricked myself. Even if all things went well, it still took a lot of time. I must say I do love spray basting, but in the winter months I found myself without a well ventilated space to baste my heaping pile of quilt tops.
So what other options were there? This is when I found glue basting.
I had all the questions: Would it work? Would it become stiff? And of course the big one: Would it ruin my quilt?
My curiosity got the best of me so I decided to try it out.
Glue Basting Tutorial
First thing was first- go to Google. To my surprise, there wasn’t much information on glue basting, so I experimented with some quilt sandwiches. Don’t worry! No quilts were harmed in these experiments!
After trying a number of methods, I discovered the best way of glue basting. And no, it won’t ruin your quilt, or be stiff, but it does work.
The only glue I recommend is Elmer’s Washable School Glue. I tried different brands of glues, and other ones by Elmer’s, but since we’re using washable glue, we won’t have stiffness, and the glue will break down in the wash similar to a basting spray.
I did find that if you just squirt the glue onto your fabric or batting, you will be able to see those squiggle lines. So to combat this issue, I picked up some sponge brushes from the dollar store. The only supplies you need for glue basting are the Elmer’s Washable School Glue, and a sponge brush. That’s it!
Start by laying your backing fabric on top of your batting. I like to smooth it out first from the middle towards the sides. On one side of the fabric, lift it and lay it back so the batting is exposed. Now get your glue and make those squiggles! Squiggles is the technical term you know.
Only do your glue squiggles about six inches or so long, and move horizontally making glue squiggles until you reach the other side of the batting.
Now take your sponge brush and spread those squiggles! You don’t want clumps or lumps, you shouldn’t be able to see the glue, it should be more or less blended in with your batting. You really don’t need a lot of glue either.
Once your squiggles are smoothed, lay the fabric over the batting and smooth out the fabric from middle to sides. Repeat this process until the backing is completely glue basted.
Flip your backing over so you’re only seeing the batting and position your quilt top where you want it. Repeat the same process for the quilt top as the backing.
When both the backing fabric and quilt top have been glue basted, iron both sides of the quilt.
That’s it! You are now ready to quilt!
Want a free guide to glue basting? Go to https://theretroquilter.com/glue-basting-guide/ or on Instagram @theretroquilter and click on Glue Basting Guide.
Stay Golden quilty friends!
I tried this on a small piece. I had trouble getting the glue to spread out with the brush. But I just kept gluing in squiggles. It worked! I have since used it on larger pieces. It works like a charm and is sooooo much cheaper than basting spray and less aggravating than pins. I can often see the lines where I glued, but no trouble with my needle or stitching as I go over them. I always wash my quilts when finished, so lines magically disappear. I wish I had known this nice trick years ago.
Kelli | Quilters Candy Team
Ripping out stitches is the worst! I’m so sorry! I haven’t heard any feedback on this problem, so I am not sure if this is a common issue. If you’d like, reach out to the guest blogger, Maude, and perhaps she would be able to troubleshoot with you!
HI JUST WONDERING IF ANYONE HAS PROBLEMS WITH THE STITCHES ON THE BACK OF THE QUILT AS IT DOESN’T APPEAR TO BE GRABBING TO WELL i HAVE ALREADY DILUTED THE GLUE AND I HAVE HAD TO RIP OUT MY STITCHES not HAPPY lol
You’re welcome! That is a good tip to wait for it to dry to avoid getting your needle gummed up. Thanks!
Thanks for such a great tutorial. It’s of people wondering about glue humming up needle – as long as it’s completely dry it wouldn’t. I’m almost finished a tree skirt and will try this method to baste.
I do not. I keep water out of my iron and use spray starch. It has helped my iron last longer.
Do you use steam when you iron it? Thank you
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It’s wonderful to save both time AND money! The fusible batting I found is terribly thin and awfully expensive, and pinning takes a long time. This process also allows me to take care of one side and make sure it is completely smooth before basting the other side. No wrinkles or pleats!
I would like to know about the needle sticking too.
Ooh, appreciate your doing this tutorial! I’ve never heard of this method for basting before but I will try it (I LOVE this method for glue-basting the binding so am sure I’ll love this too).
Sharon Schamber several years ago showed this technique and I have used it ever since with no problems. I especially like her use of it on the binding. When back to school sales start you can usually get an especially good deal on Elmers school glue.
Thank you, thank you for sharing… there are times my money budget is empty, so, this is wonderful to learn…
Intéressant , j’arrive à de bons résultats avec de la colle en spray 505 facile à mettre et facile pour. Un re positionnement éventuel .
I’m very excited to try this basting method! I’ve tried many other ways and they were just ok, so I hope this will become my go to method.
Has no heard of fusible both sides on batting. I bought a whole roll and it is so nice. On a long table I lay our the batting then the backing on top and iron. Then I flip it over and put the quilt topping on and again iron. It is a little stiff but excellent for quilting by sewing machine.
Looks like a great time saver and a much more relaxing quilting experience but I was wondering if the needle gets gummy from the glue. I am about to sandwich a “summer quilt” with no batting, just a quilt top on backing fabric like a PBJ sandwich with no PBJ. I’m thinking this might be a great method for basting it.
Far cheaper than 505 spray I use now! Thanks
How does the glue affect your sewing machine needle?
I thought it would be more complicated! I am definitely going to give this a try… sure will beat my method of pinning and then hand basting so I can remove the pins afterwards. Thanks!!