Buying a barn quilt

You don’t have to build and paint your own barn quilt, although we highly recommend it because the activity can create family memories and add another layer to your story.

That said, there are numerous sources for ready-to-hang barn quilts. For those who want a customized barn quilt — a specific pattern or color scheme — Artistic Woodworks (855-2459) offers a complete barn quilt service, from design to installation. This cottage industry is based in Ashtabula County and its owners, Jeff and Rachel Scribben, serve as technical advisers to the steering committee.

Ash/Craft Industries in Kingsville Township offers ready-made quilts in their garden shop. Please note that in order to be on the trail, your barn must have a barn quilt of at least 4×4 feet.

You may find builders advertising barn quilts on Etsy, eBay or Craigslist. Please make sure that, if you want your barn and quilt to be on the trail, you confirm that the quilt you are buying meets our standards for priming, materials and paint. The steering committee reserves the right to reject any quilts that do not meet those standards.

Ready-made quilts are typically less expensive than customized products, and there is a reason for that. Consider the extra work that goes into making a custom quilt. The artist first meets with the client to discuss the barn’s story, nail down a pattern and select the color scheme. Rarely are all the colors in his or her stock of high-quality exterior paint, so a trip to the paint store and tinting of one more cans of paint are required. This paint is expensive, typically $15 to $20 per quart.

There will likely be phone calls and visits during the painting stage as the artist keeps the client informed of the progress. And delivery of the barn quilt, even installation, may be offered as part of the sale price.

With ready-made or stock barn quilts, the artist reduces his or her investment in time and materials. This often results in a reduction in price of 25 percent or more.

A barn quilt, like any piece of art, is an investment.¬†Having a custom quilt with a unique color scheme that tells a story specific to the barn is akin to buying an “original” piece of art. Purchasing something that is ready made is like buying a print of the original.

Every consumer’s sense of value is different; to some, the 25 percent premium for a custom quilt is a bargain. For others, it is a deal breaker. That’s a gray area the the steering committee cannot address. However,¬†because sustainability is essential with any tourism attraction, we will make certain each barn quilt meets our criteria for inclusion. Beyond that, the decision is yours.