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AW Extra 10/17/13 - Lighted Quilt Hanger


Lighted Quilt Hanger

By Randy Johnson

Decorative quilts make great wall displays, and this quilt valance gives you an easy way to show off a quilt—with light, no less. The top of the valance doubles as a small shelf for displaying plates or other collectibles. The design can easily adapt to any quilt size.


Cut and Assemble the Parts

Start by calculating the size of the parts you need for your quilt according to the Cutting List (see below). You can machine your material to final width and thickness at this time, but don’t cut the pieces to final length yet.

Next rout the profile on the edge and cut the groove on the back of the board you plan to use for the valance pieces (A and B, Fig. A, below; Photo 1, right). Then miter them to final length and cut biscuit slots in the ends (Photo 2). Do a test assembly of the three valance parts and double-check the length for the light board (C).

It’s important that the light board not be too long or too short, because it would cause the valance ends to flare in or out and prevent the miter joints from closing properly. When you have the light board cut to the correct length, glue and clamp it to the valance boards. You can skip running clamps the length of the quilt rack if you drive some brad nails through the end valance boards into the ends of the light board (Photo 3).

Next cut and fit the trim boards and screw cleat (D, E and F) to final length and glue them to the valance and light-board assembly (Photo 4). Then make the clamp boards (G and H).

Make the final parts: the cover board (J), spacer blocks (K and L) and the plate stop (M). Assemble these parts with glue and check that they fit into the top of the assembled quilt hanger.


Mount the Lights

Now turn your attention to drilling the holes for the wiring (Fig. A). The lights’ spacing will depend on the overall length of your quilt hanger. It is not critical, but I found spacing them between 11 and 14 in. apart to be about right. After the holes for the wiring have been drilled, you can sand and finish the quilt hanger.

When the finish is dry, install the lights (Photo 5). Screw the mounting ring on; then snap the lamp holder and lens into place. The wires run through the holes and are hidden on the top side of the light board.


Hang It On Your Wall

Locate the studs in the wall and mark them with masking tape. Strike a level line at the height you want your quilt hanger installed (Photo 6). Drill holes in the screw cleat to match the stud spacing and attach the quilt hanger to the wall with some long screws. This is really a two person job, so ask someone to help you hold the quilt hanger in place while you drive in the screws (Photo 7). After the hanger is attached to the wall, screw on the cover board (Photo 8) and fasten the quilt between the clamp boards (Photo 9). Now simply engage the screw eyes on the hooks (Photo 10) and enjoy.

Project Requirements

Cutting List

Fig. A: Exploded View

Click any image to view a larger version.

1. Rout the profiles on the valance and trim boards before you cut them to final length. Two common router bits are all you need to make this project: a 3/8-in. cove bit and a 3/8-in beading bit.

2. Cut biscuits in the mitered ends of the valance boards. Position the slots near the miter’s inside edge. This prevents the slot from coming through the board’s face. The board that the lights mount on will fit into the groove in the back of the valance boards.

3. Glue the valance boards around the light board. You can remove the clamps very quickly if you pin the joint with brad nails.

4. Use spring clamps to glue on the trim board and screw cleat. The trim board covers most of the brad nail holes. Hide any remaining holes with wood filler.

5. Install the lights and the transformer on the bottom side of the light board. Snap the light and lens onto the mounting ring and run all the wires, except the power cord, through the holes to the top side of the light board.

6. Mark a level line on your wall with a laser or bubble level. Use masking tape to mark the location of the wall studs, so you have a secure place to screw in the quilt hanger.

7. Attach the quilt hanger to the wall. Drill holes in line with the wall studs in the screw cleat on the back of the quilt hanger. After the quilt hanger is mounted, you can remove the exposed masking tape.

8. Install the cover board with screws. The cover board hides the wires and serves as a shelf to display plates or other collectibles.

9. Secure the your quilt in the clamp boards. Most quilts have a thick edge binding; this fits into a groove in the front board. The simplicity of this clamping and hanging system makes it extremely easy to switch quilts when you want to change your decor.

10. Hang the quilt by engaging the screw eyes in the clamping boards to hooks below the light board. It’s an easy, one-person job. Run the power cord behind the quilt, turn on the lights and enjoy!


Note: Product availability and prices are subject to change.

Woodworkers Hardware,, 800-383-0130, Low-voltage four-light kit with transformer, (transformer can handle up to six lights), #WKSR120LCS; Individual low-voltage halogen lights, #WKAL20 LB; #8 x 1-1/4-in. washer-head screws, #SCLP8X114.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker July 2005, issue #115.

July 2005, issue #115

Purchase this back issue.