22 In Quilting Tutorials

Quilter’s Spray Basting Comparison

If you’re new to quilting, you might be wondering “What is spray baste?”, “Which spray baste is the best”, “How to baste a quilt?” or maybe even “What is basting?”. hint: I’m not talking about what you do to a turkey at Thanksgiving. I am happy to say I’m here to help you figure out all the basics of quilt basting and help you determine which spray baste product is the best one to use!

First off, basting a quilt is the step after you finish piecing together your quilt top. There are a few different basting methods out there for when you put together your “Quilt Sandwich”. The first quilt I ever made, I sent to a long-armer so I didn’t have to worry about basting it myself. But now that I have been quilting for years, I have had the chance to try the top 3 methods: hand basting, pin basting, and spray basting. I’ve decided for a variety of reasons that I like spray basting the best: it is easy, quick, and works like a charm.

Alternative methods to spray basting:

You might already know the other ways of basting a quilt, but just in case you are curious: hand basting involves using needle & thread to stitch big stitches through all layers of the quilt, and then ripping them out once the quilting is complete. On the other hand, pin basting is when you use curved safety pins to hold all the quilt layers together every couple of inches. Both of these methods are pretty tedious but can work well!

Prep work:

You first want to be sure your quilt top is pressed nice & flat. You also prepare your batting and backing. My personal preference is to throw my batting in the dryer for 20 minutes with a small damp towel. Doing the dryer method gets the wrinkles out (and maybe even shrinks it a tiny bit, depending on the material of your batting). I do not pre-wash my fabrics, so for the backing, I simply press the whole piece flat, especially to get rid of the center crease that comes from being wrapped on the bolt. If your quilt is bigger than your width of fabric, you’ll need to piece your backing fabric (I suggest getting some awesome wide-backing fabric which is amazing, so you can avoid piecing the quilt back!). When piecing the backing fabric, I tend to use a 1/2″ seam allowance and press it open. If your backing has a print or a direction, be sure to pay attention to it when piecing the fabric together. My friend Rachel has a great tutorial to help!

Spray Basting Your Quilt:

Once you have all 3 layers prepped, the first step is to lay out the backing – I lay it on my floor but other quilters out there use tables or their design wall to avoid crawling around on the floor. I lay my backing out flat on the floor right side down (after vacuuming up all the Beau Fur first!) and tape it down around the edges with painters tape. Make sure to pull the fabric taut without stretching it out (minimizing fabric stretch is especially important when working with Minky backing!). Once your quilt back is taped down, spread out the batting on top of it. I fold back one half of the quilt and spray starting in the middle, working my way to the edge. You’ll want to hold the spray can about 10 inches away from the material to spray a nice, even spread. I like to divide the quilt into sections to do only a little bit at a time: spray a little, spread the quilt, spray a little, spread the quilt, etc.  Do this on one half and then do the other side until the whole piece of batting is stuck to the backing. Next, follow the same steps again for the quilt top until all 3 layers are adhered together.

I have a video here showing a time lapse of my basting process! I hope this helps give a visual of how I do it. This totally counts as your cardio for the day 😉

The fabrics I used in the above quilt are from Paintbrush Studio Fabrics, here are the colors:

Quilter’s Spray Baste Comparison:

Since I have been using the spray baste quilting method for years, I have had the chance to try out many different brands to provide my official “Quilter’s Spray Baste Comparison”. Here are 3 different quilter’s spray baste options and my thoughts on each of them:

  • Sulky KK2000: This little can packs a punch. I really love working with the Sulky KK2000 spray baste because there is no smell, virtually no over-spray, and it is the best option for the environment! While it is on the more expensive side, I think it is worth the splurge. I was able to quilt 2 baby quilts with one small can. You can find a 2-pack on amazon here.

  • Odif 505: I believe this is a great option for spray baste. It is good quality and works well! This was my personal favorite until I tried the Sulky version, and I definitely recommend it! The price is good, and it is tacky enough to keep your quilt layers together. I do suggest to watch for overspray though – it technically doesn’t have a smell, but it’s a little more of a spray bubble in the air than Sulky’s product.

  • Elmer’s Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive: I tried this one once in hopes of saving a few bucks, but trust me, the pennies saved were not worth the struggle. I am sure that this spray adhesive may be suitable for other projects, but for basting my quilt, I found it very cumbersome. The overspray was terrible and the fabric did not stick together like they should have – the spray made everything sticky EXCEPT the quilt. Save yourself the trouble on this one, OK?

If you have a brand of spray baste that you really love, please comment below! I am sure we would all love to hear about it!!

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  • Jeanne Park
    May 25, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    I have used 505 several times and loved it, but recently I haven’t been able to find it in my local craft stores. It has been out of stock for weeks. So for this last quilt I tied June Tailor’s spray baste and it was a nightmare. Then overspray was awful, as was the smell. And the worst part, it stained my fabric – something I didn’t catch until after I took my quilt out of the dryer. It took several, like at least five, washings treating the spots with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I was so disappointed. There may still be some faint shadows, but it was a charity quilt, so I don’t know if the spots have reappeared or not. June Tailor’s customer service was really nice, but the bar they could do is tell me to use the Murphy’s Oil and to spray the batting next time. 🙁 There won’t be a next time.

    • homemadeemilyjane
      May 27, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Oh, I have tried June Taylor years ago – it is a tough one!! I think it’s pretty similar to the Elmer’s one. I am so sorry to hear about it staining your fabric!!! That is the worst! I hope you can try out Sulky KK2000!

  • sherly giglio
    May 26, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for Emily for this post it was very helpful for me as a new quilter. My first quilt I pin and the second I spray baste. I will for sure try the Sulky KK2000.

    • homemadeemilyjane
      May 27, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Sherly! I hope you love it as much as I do! Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with; I am happy to answer any quilt questions you’ve got!

  • Melissa
    May 27, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    How timely! I just spray basted a quilt last night and used up all of my SpraynBond by Therm O Web. I am pretty happy with it – no smell and I don’t think there is much over spray, but this is only my 3rd quilt that I have basted so I don’t have anything to compare it to. Since I need to order more, I might try some Sulky and see if there is a noticeable difference.

  • Gardi
    May 29, 2019 at 12:14 am

    Our group uses Dritz or Taylor and never had a problem with staining or not holding the tack if you do not quilt immediately.we usually use a couple cans a month and have not had any complaints.

    • homemadeemilyjane
      May 29, 2019 at 12:15 am

      That’s great to hear! I haven’t tried Dritz but I remember not caring for June Taylor – I think it was a mix of the smell & the overspray that turned me off of it.

  • Julia
    June 28, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Do you find the Odif 505 washes out well in a typical washing machine? I’ve had a can for a few months because I get crazy puckers with pin basting, but I’ve heard such mixed reviews about it not washing out all the way (even SuzyQuilts says she never spray bastes bc when she tried it wouldn’t wash out!). I’m terrified that I’ll try it and end up not being able to use a quilt I spent a ton of time on.

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