Paper Quilts – Easy Collaborative Art

Quilts are fun to make and share, and paper quilts are easy to make and piece together. They make a nice experience in collaboration, since everyone has their unique artwork represented in a larger group project. Quilt making demonstrates to children that they are important as individuals, and also important as members of a group.

Paper quilts are much quicker than fabric quilts and don’t require an experienced seamstress to stitch them together. Of course, they are not as long-lasting as fabric quilts, nor can they be used as a bedcover, but they make beautiful wall hangings and do last many years.

Paper Quilt The quilt pictured here was made by one classroom of 3rd graders. It was one of three quilts created for the school’s silent auction, the annual fundraiser that allowed the school to offer a variety of enrichment classes. The quilts were the most popular item at the silent auction and several enthusiastic parents paid over $200 to take one home. Imagine how proud these nine year olds were to find their art so highly valued!

If you’d like details on now to make this particular paper quilt, feel free to e-mail me for details, but I’ll give you a little background here. We worked on this project for 3 class sessions, and finished with 3 paper quilts. We used simple and inexpensive materials: coffee filters, watercolor, and a large paper dropcloth pre-cut into individual squares. Each child created one square and one circle design and all their artwork was used. After the final session, I took all the dry art home and used a hot glue gun to piece the parts together. This took me a couple of hours for all 3 quilts, which I considered a reasonable investment of time, considering the dozens of hours required to sew a traditional fabric quilt together.

I love knowing that collaborate projects promote both the strength of the individual and the strength of the group. Quilts are a great reminder that our strength as a community lies in our diversity. We are each unique individuals, but when we express ourselves independently, then place those self expressions into one collaborative piece, a magnificent new whole is created. There is much satisfaction, beauty, and comfort in this process.

You can download the instructions to this activity by clicking here.

38 thoughts on “Paper Quilts – Easy Collaborative Art

  1. Dear Anna,What a great idea. We would love to get the instructions on how to do this activity. we have a yearly “Art & Family Social” and this would be great for the afterschool program to create for the silent auction. If could e-mail us with instructions that we would really appreciate it!

  2. I love your coffee filterquilts. I have a class of17 third graders and we wouldlike to make a project such asthis one to beautify our schoollibrary. Could you pass theinstructions on to me? It wouldbe much appreciated.

  3. I love your coffee filterquilts. I have a class of17 third graders and we wouldlike to make a project such asthis one to beautify our schoollibrary. Could you pass theinstructions on to me? It wouldbe much appreciated.

  4. This gave me a great idea for my art class!!!! I will modify it so that I can keep the project for years to come. I will use fabric squares, sharpies, and alcohol to create “tie-die” squares that can be sewn together into a quilt. I can use the quilt as a decoration in my classroom. Thanks!

  5. Hello,I would like to share this project with my group of art friends and it could possible lead to a collaborative art project we can donate to our local hospital. Please email the details on how-to and any helpful hints. Thanks for sharing your awesome idea!!

  6. Hi Anna,Great idea and a wonderful creativity from your third graders. I’m doing my first paper quilt project with my students for Black History Month? Can I get the details in putting it together. Thanks

  7. I love the idea of a collaborative quilt that can give back. Could you send me your lesson plans on this, I think it would be a great project for my 3rd grade students that they could donate to the public library. Thanks!

  8. Your paper quilt is awesome! I love the rich colors in the quilt. Did you use fabric as the backdrop or did the children paint the paper backdrop. My 5 year old daughter is about to work on a paper quilt for Black History Month, would you please send me the instructions for this project.Thank you

  9. I love this art project!!! I would really appreciate instructions on how to do it correctly ( I work up on a native reserve in northern Canada and I think this quilt would be a great idea to promote and display the native culture!

  10. Hi Anna,You posted about your gorgeous paper quilt ages ago, but I'm hoping you're still getting notices of comments. We've been searching for a wonderful, bright collaborative art project that celebrates diversity and community – this is perfect. Could you please forward me the instructions? Many thanks,Alison (

  11. Hi Anna,I have just found your blog while looking for ideas on collaborative art projects for kids. I love the paper quilt idea you wrote about a few years ago and would like to do this project with my daughter's art class at school. Could you please email me the instructions for this project? It's such a fabulous idea! Thanks, Marie. (

  12. Anna,I absolutely love this idea and the quilt is beautiful. Please send me the instructions for this project. I teach preschool so I am sure I will need to modify it slightly, but it is beautiful.Thanks!

  13. Dear Anna,I googled collaborative art for kids and found your paper quilt. I love the idea… Would you please give me the instructions?? I live in LA, too!! Thanks a lot!!

  14. Would you please send me the paper quilt instructions? I am doing a 3rd grade class project for the school auction and that idea is great! Also, if you had any collaborative art suggestions with maps, please let me know. Thank you!Lisa

  15. I was looking for an idea for my son's class to make for his teacher and teaching assistant for teacher's appreciation day and this sounds perfect. Are the instructions still available?Thanks!

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