First, Why are Ohio Barn Quilts of superior quality?
Ohio Barn Quilts are superior to most barn quilts sold on the internet, Facebook or Etsy which are often made using stencils on bare plywood, pallet wood, thin wood sheets, MDF (interior grade board), noodle board (craft board), or even printed on vinyl sheets. Those materials are NOT for exterior use, therefore those barn quilts will not last for years outdoors. In the last 2 years, some barn quilters have started using an aluminum composite material (a foam core sandwiched between two thin sheets of aluminum) which in my opinion has not yet been proven to last on exterior surfaces. Some reports of scratching and peeling have been reported.
Ohio Barn Quilts are made on 1/2″ MDO (medium density overlay) board, often called “sign board”. Originally MDO was created to satisfy the requirements of long-lasting Interstate Highway signs. Because of its water resistance, MDO was also a good product to use on small boat hulls. It is produced to rigid specifications from very high-grade materials and is designed to last almost indefinitely in extreme weather conditions with only a coating of paint and protective coating.
The MDO panel is composed of a knot-free fir core with a phenolic (weather resistant resin) overlay. The overlay is impossible to separate from the core, and if the edges are properly sealed (which I do) the panel will last practically forever. The overlay provides an even, smooth surface, which prevents the grain of the fir from telegraphing its pattern through to the surface; this results in beautiful, sharp painted lines on your barn quilt!
To protect the board, I first apply 2 coats of a mold resistant exterior primer then 3 coats of a high-quality exterior paint to all sides and edges. Then the design is hand painted (no stencils used here!) using 3 coats of high-quality exterior paint. Finally, 2 coats of a low luster, high UV protection exterior coated is applied.
So What is a Barn Quilt?
A barn quilt is a fabric quilt pattern painted on exterior grade board material, large enough and bright enough to be seen from a distance. Barn Quilt patters are often inspired by treasured family fabric quilts and are generally one block of the pattern, such as one large star, like the Ohio Star shown below. The pattern generally uses simple shapes in bright colors sure to bring a smile to the beholder.
A barn quilt can be hung on the exterior of your barn, house, porch, garage, gate, shed, gazebo, chicken coop or boat shed to be shared with admirers from the road. They are also finding their way on mobile homes, inside offices and homes.
The first documented barn quilt known was the Ohio Star painted on a barn in Adams County in 2001. Since then, it is reported that barn quilts are now found in all 48 contiguous states and Canada. They are becoming more common as folks realize their beauty, uses and durability. Local organizations such as guilds and churches often create barn quilt trails highlighting the craftsmanship and creativity of local artists and their heritage. Often guide books are produced to direct the viewer on a route where they can view many in a town or county. Much has been written about the history of barn quilts on the internet available to the interested viewer.