Good barn quilt pattern designs often consist of large, colorful shapes that are easy for people to see from the road, such as Ohio Star, LeMoyne Star, Bear Paw, Chisholm Trail and Dove at the Window. People sometimes choose a pattern with a special meaning, such as one that reflects a quilt inside the house or honors someone. Farmers often choose the Corn and Beans pattern design for this reason, while military families may choose Stars and Stripes.
Barn quilts are square wooden panels, often 8 inches on each side, that are painted with a quilt block design and hung on the side of a barn. Usually the barn quilt shows a single quilt block, rather than an entire quilt. Large, simple shapes are easier to paint, but some barns display patterns as intricate as Mariner's Compass, Star of Bethlehem and County Fair. Barn quilt patterns commonly have between two and five colors.
Two 4-inch-by-8-inch pieces of wood, such as 3/4-inch-thick medium density overlay boards, can form the base for the painting. The first step is to prime the boards with a foam roller brush and white primer. Drawing the scaled quilt pattern on the boards in pencil comes next. The drawing should leave a 3-inch border around the outside. Then comes outlining the areas to receive the lightest paint color with tape, followed by painting those areas. Taping and painting steps are repeated for each successively darker color, with the border painted last. The border may be any color, but black is a common choice. The panels are then ready to attach to a frame and mount on the barn.