What Is And How to Use a Quilt Basting Gun (Best Gun Reviews)

Gadgets do help in sewing. While not every gadget will work as you want it to, it can be a time saver and help you through difficult sewing issues. The key is to get one that is made from top quality materials that will last and make your sewing life easier.

What is a quilt basting gun? A basting gun is a gadget that is supposed to replace pins. It holds your layers together while you get ready to sew your quilt. All you have to do is load the tacks into the gun and then place the gun on your quilt area that needs basting and pull the trigger.

To learn more about a quilt basting gun and how to use it effectively, just continue to read our article. It has the information you will want to know about just in case you want to try one out and see if it helps speed your quilt making up.

What is a Quilt Basting Gun?


This gadget is supposed to be handier, simpler, and faster to use than pins. It is usually made from plastic materials and while it does not look like a gun, it works on the same principle.

In theory, your quilting life should go fast and smoother because the gun saves you time and avoids the issues that come with using pins. You know how frustrating it is when you drop a pin and can’t find it.

Those little errors take up precious sewing time and this basting gun is supposed to eliminate that waste so you are more productive. They are also supposed to be easy to use but like some fabrics, the quality of these guns is not always the best. That means you have to be careful when you shop for one as you never know.

If you get the right model they are very helpful and handy. Plus, they are easy to see and pick up from your sewing table. Much easier than picking up pins and sticking them one by one into 3 layers of quilting material.

How Does a Basting Gun Work

The basting gun works along with the same principle as a real gun, except it is easier, legal, and not lethal to use. All you have to do is load the strip of tacks into their allocated spot and then place the gun in position.

Once there you just pull the trigger and the gun bastes your quilt with a little click or whatever sound it may make and your layers should be secure. This is safer, faster and you can do more basting at one time than if you used pins.

Depending on how many tacks are in the teach strip, you can baste several sections in less time than it would take to baste with pins. When you are done, you can place the gun down in a convenient location where it is easy to pick up when you need it again.

Reloading should not take up that much time so your basting is over before you know it. When you are tired of the old school method of basting quilts, you may find it better to modernize and use those gadgets that help make your sewing time more enjoyable.

How to Use a Basting Gun for Quilting


One method you can use is the straight down, pull the trigger, and see what happens method. It may not always work well depending on the thickness of your layers and fabrics. But it is the most common method you can use.

Another option would be to go into the top layer at an almost oblique angle and picking up the back fabric as you insert your needle and come back up. When you have done that, you pull the trigger.

This option makes sure that both ends of the tag are on top of the quilt. You may find it helpful to use a Kwik Klip tool to ensure you have enough fabric through the needle as possible.

Some people like to use a spray baste method but there are more negative issues with that option than there are with the basting gun. The chemicals may react with each other and produce a substance that will gum up your needles as you sew.

You may not like the version of the basting gun you bought and it may have been made cheaply but all you have to do is go get a better model to use. It is better than having needles that won’t work through an easy spray method.

What to Look for in a Basting Tool

Basting guns are very basic in their designs and they have little difference between them. One model is held together with 4 screws so if you see a screw missing, do not buy it. Don’t let unauthorized hands remove those screws or you will have missing parts almost immediately.

Then these guns are made from plastic and are not the strongest gadgets you can buy. If you see cracks in the plastic, then avoid buying them. the gun won’t last. Any broken parts need to be avoided as well.

Next, look at the tacks. These little helpful items can be moisture sensitive and if their Ziploc bag is open you should be wary. If the tacks are too moist the gun may jam on you and if they are too dry, the tacks may break when you use them.

The trigger should be easy to use but if you do not release it all the way BEFORE you pull the needle out of the quilt, then you can expect jams. Basically, what you have is a plastic gadget that will be sensitive to operator error.

That means it may be as frustrating to use as pins are. Careful use is needed and be careful as plastic is not the strongest material in the world.

Best Quilt Basting Gun


When you go shopping you may find many different brands of basting guns on sale in your favorite fabric store or sewing accessory shop. Not all brands are going to be that good. A fact you probably already know.

We have been able to track down about 4 brands that seem to be the elite of this gadget area. What follows will be a brief overview of each brand. keep in mind that even lemons can be produced by top brands so your experience may be due to that low-quality item and not the better options.

  • 1. Dritz - their basting gun is a multi function gadget that does more than just baste your quilts. It will tag different items with a price or put a label on them so people know what the item is.

This model usually comes with 500 tacks to make sure you get that quilt done fast.

  • 2. Avery Dennison - this is a highly regarded basting gun and company whose quality product seems second to none. 1000 tacks are included in the version we saw at Amazon and they are in stock at this time.

Also, it comes with a wrist cord so you can secure it to your arm when in use or hang it up so it is out of the way when it is not in use.

  • 3. Quiltac - this option is a little more expensive and can easily be found at Amazon. It is supposed to be lighter than its competitors. Plus, these models have been tested over 2 million times to make sure they work well for you.
  • 4. June Tailor - we will talk more about this basting gun option in the next section.

June Tailor Quilt Basting Gun

Very colorful so it is appealing to your eyes when you look at it in your hand or on your shelf in your sewing area. This well made basting gun is easy to use and is lightweight so your hand should not get that tired when using it.

When you buy this model, you should get a reusable storage case, 500 tacks, and a 2-year warranty in case anything does go wrong and you get one of those dreaded lemons.

Then when you replace the needle you get a sharp new blade that cuts those tacks easily. There should be no worries about dull blades ruining your basting. The needle is about the same size as a sewing machine needle.

While it is cheaper than the Quiltac model it is still more costly than the other versions on the previous list. What makes it special is that you can use this basting gun just about anywhere. When you have wardrobe malfunctions at a dance performance, this gun can be there to save the day.

One of its drawbacks is that it may jam a lot on you but then you have to make sure you release the trigger first before pulling the needle out.

Basting Gun Reviews


The reviews for this gadget are mixed. There are a fair number of users who would not go back to pins or basting spray if their life depended on it. They love these basting gun gadgets and find them to be an essential; part of their quilt making.

Other reviewers had negative things to say about the quality, durability, and operation. They found that the gun was too fragile, hard to use, and that the quality was very low. Many did not like the jamming aspect and toss their guns in the trash.

Unfortunately, there may be a learning curve as one reviewer found out. She had to alter her technique to get hers to work right. But once she did that she loved her basting gun and wouldn’t part with it.

Then one reviewer found out that June tailor’s product was better than the other ones on the market and gave it 5 stars. The key about reviews is that they are not necessarily about the product but about the experience they had with that product.

You have to take both the positive and negative reviews with a grain of salt as the user may have done something wrong and blamed the gun instead of themselves. Your experience will be different depending on how you use it, the method you use, and so on.

Tagging Gun Joann Fabrics

You should be able to find a nice selection at Joann's when you are searching for a basting gun. They seem to sell both Dritz and June tailor products. One thing to expect when you shop there is a higher price. The same one we saw at Amazon for $30 is over $50 at Joann's. And that was discounted from its regular $70 price tag.

The Dritz option is much cheaper coming in at $23 and both products have approx. 500 tags included. When you go searching you will find that these national chain stores may offer different brands than their competitors. It will be trial and error to find the right one for you if you do not want to pay the high cost at Joann's.

We would suggest looking at other store alternatives like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, Target, and similar stores to find a better deal. The best one to use is the one that works for you and is not difficult to hold or move the trigger.

Some Final Words

Basting is a quilting task that needs to be done. If you use the old school method of pins, you may find it time consuming and annoying. Using a top basting gun should make that task a little easier and faster to do.

All you need to do is hook all the layers at the same time and pull the trigger. That should make basting more fun, especially when you need to take out the anger you have at your spouse.

Leave a Comment: