Make a collaged quilt square at home by collaging fabric, paper, and other materials.

Quilts are textiles made by sewing through multiple layers of fabric and batting to make patterns and designs. Quilts are often used as a bed covering or blanket, but some quilts are created for display.

Pennsylvania-German (Goschenhoppen region) Friendship Quilt, Rolling Stone, ca. 1854–1857, Cotton plain weave, pieced, quilted, and printed. Gift of Hampton C. Randolph, Sr., 1984. (1984.12.2)

Quilting is an important tradition across the world. Several examples of these cultural traditions can be seen in the exhibitions Roots and Sleep Tight! Quilts have many different meanings to the people who create them. Some quilts use abstract colors to make patterns and designs. Some use images of people, places, and things to tell a story.

This image shows a friendship quilt. Friendship quilts are a tradition among Pennsylvania-Germans that involve names and messages written in each quilt square. The quilts were sometimes used to help members of the community that were moving away from home. Friendship quilts were ways to connect people with their home and remind them of people in their community.

Try using old clothing, sheets, and other fabrics to create your own meaningful textile work!

Supplies Needed:

  • White paper or fabric square
  • Glue
  • Collage paper
  • Cloth pieces (optional)
  • Sewing needle and thread (optional)

How to Make a Quilt Square:

  1. Cut out a square piece of white paper or fabric. Sketch out a pattern or design using shapes and keeping in mind your color choice. This quilt square will represent you. Think of how you could symbolize things you like, such as your favorite food, animals, pets, flowers, or hobby.
  2. Use glue (or a sewing needle and thread) to collage on paper or cloth pieces to your white quilt square.
  3. Give your quilt square depth by layering on to your collage with more patterns or designs.
  4. Once quilt square is fully dried, add it to other quilt squares your family or friends have made to show off the diversity and what makes everyone unique among your loved ones!