Thursday, April 24, 2014

Make a Quilt w/Kids Tutorial

I've been teaching my Second Graders about the Life Cycles of Nature and and now we've moved onto learning about animal habitats. We took a little break inbetween the two and they each had the opportunity to create a block for our classroom quilt: 
I know many of you have children and grandchildren, so I thought I'd share our process of creating these adorable blocks as I can truly see this being a fun and easy project for children of all ages. Here are a few tips that will guarantee a successful outcome:
Supplies Needed:
White Cotton Fabric
Fabric Markers
Black Sharpie
Freezer Paper
Drawing Template

Part 1: 


First: Have children draw their picture on a paper template. I took an 8 1/2"x10" piece of paper and drew  an 8 1/2" square for the students to draw their picture in:

Depending on their age, review with them detail and scale. I was very specific with my seven year old students that we wanted to just draw one animal very well. The animal was going to be the focus of their block. I told them we were not going to add a "background/setting" to their picture. (I had examples to show them) It was also helpful to have a variety of animal books on hand for my students to browse through.

As children get older and begin to draw with more detail, they actually begin to draw smaller. In this case, I just enlarged their drawing and helped them "center" and trace their enlarged drawing on a new piece of paper. I also instructed them to concentrate on the outline of their animal right now and reassured them that they would be able to add details and color to their animal picture once it was on the fabric.

The final step is to have them trace their picture with a sharpie marker. This will make the picture more transparent when it's time to trace it onto the fabric. 
(Notice not a lot of details right now.)

Next: Prepare the fabric squares. Cut enough 9" squares (plus a few extra) out of  the white cotton fabric. Then: Iron these squares to Freezer Paper. This was a lifesaving step!! This step really helped "stabalize" the fabric and the students had no problem tracing and drawing on the fabric.
Once you have the fabric squares prepared and the students drawings outlined, 
place the fabric/freezer paper square over their drawing. Tape the four sides down as this eliminates the block from shifting. (Be sure the tape is attached to the fabric and paper as shown by the arrows below.)

Using fabric markers, have students first trace their drawing. Once their picture is traced, they can now begin coloring and adding details to their block. My Second Graders really enjoyed this project and I think your children and/or grandchildren would too.
Click HERE to see this 2014 Classroom Quilt Finish
Click HERE to see our 2017 Classroom Quilt Finish
Washing Note: I used two color catchers in the first wash. No color run. 

And the fun only continued as yesterday found us off on a field trip to a Learning Center in Boise, Idaho. (About 45 minutes away.) What's kinda cool about this center is some of the instructor's are actually Science Majors from Boise State University. (I always enjoy watching the interaction between  older and younger students.)

So, I thought it would be fun to also share a few games from our adventure yesterday:

Habitat Hike
Students learned about the diversity of animals that live in our foothills and the elements that make up  this habitat. On their trail walk, students looked for signs of animals, explored where different animals might live, and what they need to survive. 

Can You  See Me? 
Playing a predator/prey game of hide and seek.
Students played an active game of "Hawks and Lizards" that demonstrated the effectiveness of camouflage for prey animals. Students experienced first hand good and not-so-good examples of camouflage.
As a teacher I may plant the learning seeds, but it isn't until students are truly engaged through independent practice that the real learning occurs! I hope you enjoyed a peek into my life as a teacher. We're certainly having a great week in Second Grade!
With smiles,


  1. You are such a fun teacher! I made a quilt for the pre-schoolers but just used their hand prints. I find it so interesting how they draw smaller as they add more details. I am going to bookmark this tutorial it is so helpful. It sure looks like the kids and you! Had a fun day. Thanks for the tut.

    1. I'm so glad you found the tut helpful. It really was easy and the kids loved making their blocks!

  2. I did something similar for a 5th grade class over 10 years ago. I volunteered in a class to have them make quilt blocks, but I had them use acrylic paints. I should have thought of using markers, or even crayons lol!! The paints were messy! Oh well I know better now. Lol!!!

  3. I'm planning to teach 10- and 11-year-olds to quilt in the coming months, and you've given some fantastic tips here. Thank you!

  4. I just completed some student created quilts also. Check them out on my blog I do it a little differently, first they draw a picture, then I trace it onto wonder under backed fabric, then they color it it. I fuse all my pictures onto a solid background then quilt everything down. They are going for auction next week at open house! Love to see other teachers doing this with their class!

  5. Awesome post, Val! Very useful, too. I've bookmarked it for when I do a project with one of my grandson's classes. Thanks for linking to TGIFF.

  6. You are a wonderful teacher and what a great project! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  7. What a great idea to have them draw on paper first. Thanks for sharing.

  8. this is too awesome, Val!! I know your students LOVED this special experience with you!

    Thank you so much for partying at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  9. Wow, what a fantastic idea! A great "Grandparent" quilt possibility!

  10. I wish I was in your class! How fun making the animal blocks and going on a field trip. You rock, Teacher!

  11. If I could go back to second grade I would ask for you as my teacher Val! What fun for your students and how wonderful the quilt worked out! I taught crafts to children for years and the way you went about this is terrific! I think we will use your idea for Kaitie's friend. A big hug to you!

  12. PS - I adore children's artwork. :) you did a great job with unifying all their drawings!

  13. A great tutorial and learning fun galore. I may do this with my DGS #4's kindergarten class. They are so spontaneous.


I have to admit, your comments make me smile! Thanks for sharing and for letting me know you stopped by. I Hope your day is awesome!


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