Tuesday, May 7, 2019

How To Make A Kona Color Board

Today I want to share with you one of my most used tools - my Kona color board!

How to make a Kona color board by Andy of A Bright Corner

This is a framed piece of steel that has 340 little magnet swatches - one for each of the Kona cotton solids available.  I use this when I'm selecting color palettes for quilts and brainstorming projects, and it is SO helpful! 

Even if I don't plan on using all solid fabrics, these little chips help me narrow down which colors I DO want to use - and then I can use those to find matching prints from my stash or the quilt shop.

How to make a Kona color board by Andy of A Bright Corner

I made my Kona color board last year and I've been surprised at how often I'm using it!  I thought I'd share how I made my board and give a few tips for those of you who would like to make one too.

How to make a Kona color board by Andy of A Bright Corner

Here's what you'll need:

  • 24" x 36" frame (from Michael's or Hobby Lobby - use a coupon!)

Tip: I used these business card size adhesive magnetic sheets - it was the most economical.  One box of 50 will be enough for all 340 chips, plus a few leftover.  Alternatively, you can also use full sized sheets or rolls of tape, but you'll have to do the math to determine how many you'll need, and you might end up with a lot left over.

1.  Remove the glass from the frame and replace it with the metal sheet. Then replace the cardboard backing on the frame and it's ready to hang.

2.  Cut out each color chip with scissors, working a row at a time.  If the numbers or name of each color is cut off, use the fine point sharpie to write it in - you'll want the name and number so you can purchase the right colors!

3.  To help keep the chips in order later, I wrote the row number on the back of each chip, near the bottom where the magnet wouldn't cover it up.  

4.  Cut the magnetic sheets into (about) 3/4" x 1" rectangles.  Remove the paper backing from the magnets and stick a magnet to the back of each chip. Press in place.

5.  Have fun arranging them on your new board! 

How to make a Kona color board by Andy of A Bright Corner

Here are some FAQ that I get asked about my Kona color board:

1.  Why Kona solids?  Why not another brand?

 Yes, there are other solids available, and I do use a variety (usually Kona, Moda Bella solids, and Riley Blake Confetti Cottons) but for my board I chose to use just Kona chips.  Here's why:

  • They have 340 different colors.  I can ALWAYS find the colors I need.
  •  Kona solids are the easiest for me to find & purchase locally
  • The Kona color card is backed with cardstock and is ready for cutting.  

You CAN make a similar board out of a Confetti Cotton color card or a Moda Bella color card, but you'll have to first mount each little fabric square onto cardstock and then add the magnet.  

2.  Can't I just use a magnetized white board? 

Yep you can!  I have a magnetized white board in another room and I tested it out - works great!  I went with the metal because I wanted it to coordinate with the two white-framed cork boards I already had on that wall.  

If you use a white board, I suggest this one on Amazon but any magnetic dry erase / white board will work.  There's definite benefits to using a white board - it might be cheaper, it will weigh less, won't reflect the light as much as the metal, and you can re-purpose it later to keep track of WIPs or other to-do items. 

3.  Can I use a smaller size frame?

I recommend 24" x 36" , but smaller size would probably work.  I think the chips would all fit on a 24" x 24" board but you'll have less space between rows and no space on the end for saving favorite color combos like in the photo below.  I use that open space all.the.time.

How to make a Kona color board by Andy of A Bright Corner

3.  I don't have the wall space for a board like this.  What else can I use?

Not a problem! Store the chips in a tray like this one, and then keep a smaller magnetic white board on hand for arranging and playing with the chips.  I do recommend using a magnetized surface when you're playing with color combos.  It helps to keep the chips in place there on your board for as long as you like.

I've also seen other quilters punch a hole in each chip and put them all on a large ring. But I knew I would want to be able to see all of the chips at once so this board version works best for my needs. 

So there you go!  Leave any questions below and I'll answer them as best I can.  

How to make a Kona color board by Andy of A Bright Corner

**This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) when purchases are made through links found in this post.


  1. Thanks for sharing this and the links to the magnetic items! Definitely planning to make one in the coming weeks!

  2. Thanks for the tips! I’m ordering my supplies now :)

  3. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I dont have space for a wall board. So I need to use a box but not one used for embroidery floss.


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