Homemade quilt frames are a great idea if you have the time and energy to build one. If you are on a budget, buying a quilting frame might not be the best option since quilting frames start at $100 and can cost upwards of $2400. That $100 frame tends to be a lap frame that comes without a stand.
What You'll Need to Build Your Homemade Quilt Frame
Building homemade quilt frames requires some design skills and a trip to the lumber and hardware stores. Some materials you need to build a quilt frame by hand are measuring tape, a pencil, and a full pack of deck screws (number 8)that are 12 inches long. You also need a drill that has a 1 1/2 inch drill bit attached. In order to have a stand for your quilt frame, you need a set of table legs. Of course, you will also need a way to attach the machine carriage, so you will need track kits for a machine carriage.
Do not forget the most important part of creating homemade quilt frames: the lumber. The lumber for your quilt frame consists of two 2x6x12 foot boards, two 1x1x12 foot boards, six boards measuring 1x1x24.5 inches, two boards that measure 1x8x10, two that measure 1x8x12, and two boards measuring 1x4x24 inches.
Getting Started Building Your Quilting Frame
Once you have the lumber in place, you will need a way to put it together. Make sure you understand that the table for homemade quilt frames does not have a flat surface. You will need a long table frame made of the two 2x5x12 foot boards discussed earlier. They should lie parallel and be connected to each other by the four 1x4x24 inches. The four boards you just attached are called cross members. The cross members can be adjusted for a larger machine (20+ inches long). Once you do this, make sure to adjust the other 24.5 inch boards as well. The leg of the table is joined to the cross members in the middle in order to keep it stable and keep it from toppling over.
Adding the Track for Machine Quilting
Remember the track for the frame? It gets bolted across the table lengthwise. A long stitching template made of paper should be attached to the shelf. Put one end of a stiff wire on the carriage of the machine, and then bend the other side so it lies on the template design. As you are stitching the quilt, move the carriage backwards and forwards. The machine will stitch the design for you as it moves.