Quilt Patterns

Paper Quilt Patterns

traditional patchwork quilt pattern

Learn the Basics of Quilting

Beginner Quilting Lessons

  • Make a Christmas Quilt - In part one of this beginning quilting lesson learn how to cut the fabric and piece the top together. Coming soon, the Santa Claus applique.

Paper quilt patterns represent a different way of quilting. Instead of fabric, you just use paper. Even a single sheet of typing paper can create beautiful quilt patterns. It may seem an odd thing to do, but the use of paper products is not new to the quilting community.

Quilters are always looking for a way to make their craft better or unique. A quiltmaker is always up to the challenge to find the newest way of getting things done with patterns. Paper quilt patterns are just one example of this coming to fruition.

During the pioneer period in the United States, women were doing "paper" quilting by using it as a pattern. Since this was such a commodity, women would save every form of paper possible including letters, newspapers and even pages out of catalogs. Not only can it be used for patterns, but a quiltmaker could use it as insulation for a quilt, comforter or blanket too. Now this type of insulation has given clues to how life was for women during the pioneer days, just one more example of how quilting tells the stories of a generation and an era.

Quilting is about creating something. It does not have to fit into a specific box; it just has to be an artistic representation of the quilter himself or herself. Paper quilt patterns are just one type of this expression. Log cabin, rag quilts, and baby blankets are other examples that show the artistic style of a quilter through designs and patterns. It does not always have to be about functionality or practicality either as much as it has to do with enjoying your craft.

Folding Your Quilt A Different Way

Well probably, one of the biggest differences between other designs and paper quilt patterns is that this type is made without fabric. Instead of sewing a quilt together, paper quilt patterns is about piecing together sheets from a notebook, construction pads or even a sketchpad.

Paper quilt patterns include several different shapes including:

  • Squares
  • Rectangles
  • Horizontal lines
  • Vertical lines
  • Diamonds

Some quilters might get confused by reading about paper quilt patterns thinking that it refers to a piercing technique. The piercing technique involves the use of paper-like material, including cardboard, to be used as a placeholder for your fabrics and applique patterns when you are designing your blanket, comforter or bedspread.

Whereas quilting with fabric can be extended beyond a quilt and onto a pillow, dress, bag or even the wall, paper quilt patterns are best suited for non-use. Pretty to look at and good to study is what this type of quilting with paper could be described as.

Ideas to Do with Kids

Paper quilt patterns are a great activity to do with kids of all ages. Pre-school children can enjoy making a quilt to take home to mom and dad and a college student could use this technique to understand better geometry and the relationship between different shapes.

Teachers looking for a way to keep the little hands busy can grab some construction paper or the poster board and start designing paper quilt patterns for his or her students. You can use large squares, thin rows or even diamond shapes. Students can even draw patterns on the squares themselves using crayons, stickers, markers or even pencil.

Educators could turn this into a learning tool even more so by adding the alphabet and numbers to the quilts. That way each square would represent a letter of the alphabet and students could recite their A,B,C's when they show off their new type of quilt.

Paper quilt patterns give kids and adults their own type of quilts in a fraction of the time it would take to sew a blanket or a comforter. Not only will the planning time be cut in half, but the actual construction of the quilts will not take long at all, making it a great project for children with short attention spans. Not every kindergartner has what it takes to sit down and finish rag quilts, but paper quilt patterns may be right up their alley.

It is not as if it will break the bank to make this in a classroom. All you need are different colors of construction paper, a ruler, scissors, and markers and of course, some glue. Then you just have to figure out what type of design you want to use. You could let the class vote on it to see which type of pattern would win out. Types of patterns include:

  • Sunshine
  • Log cabin
  • Streak of Lightning
  • Rows
  • Blocks

Folding the necessary shapes of triangles and rectangles out of paper can be difficult for younger children, but adults could pre-fold them so they would know exactly where to fold the quilt. Believe it or not there are different ways you can fold your quilts to give it a different appearance. The crispness of the fold or the softness will be evident in the final appearance.

Teaching Color Compatibility

Another useful teaching opportunity that paper quilt patterns present is the ability to teach color. Students are always learning that green represents the grass and blue represents the sky. Children learn what colors are called and how they are made because books tell them which way is which. What they may not know is why colors go with one another and what they represent. Teachers can use the colors used in the paper quilt patterns to show how colors are made and how they compliment each other. Students could learn that the primary colors are blue, yellow and red. Then they could mix the primary colors together to create the secondary colors of purple, green and orange. This can be fun and messy at the same time, so make sure to have those papertowels and napkins ready to go.

You could then arrange the color patterns to show which ones work best with the other. For example, a red and orange combination is a very strong combination of colors because they are complimentary. They represent a different shade of the other so this provides a lot of contrast to the color scheme of a quilt.

Now, you may think students do not need to know a lot about color patterns, but just think about what color represents. It is more than just the grass in a coloring book. It is about emotion. This can help a student develop critical thinking skills when they are questioning why a certain color is used. Why is red used for a stop sign? Why does green mean go? Having these types of activities can help a student branch out and start seeing the world in a different way, in a more artistic way. Now that is sure to make the quilting world a little happier.

You can find several paper quilt patterns online for free that can be used at home, at school or even on vacation. It is a fun activity that teaches people the joys of quilting, but it can be used for more education purposes than that. Find a way to incorporate paper quilt patterns into your life or the life of your child's and you can start seeing thinks square by square.