If the word "quilt" makes you think of Amish barn parties and pinwheels, it's time to start thinking outside of the sewing basket! Art quilting can be fast, easy and fun. I'll show you how to create a unique mini art quilt with paper, fabric and small objects from around the house in one afternoon. Art quilts are great because they don't have to be big, functional or washable. They don't have to take long to make, and you don't even need a pattern to make one!

If you like to sew, chances are you've accumulated piles of fabric scraps and notions. Have some scrapbooking sundries tucked away in the closet? Maybe you even have a box or two under the bed filled with ephemera from your journeys. We're going to dust off those supplies and get them on the wall for you to enjoy!

Here are a few ideas you can use to get started:

-Make a keepsake quilt. If you're the type who saves ticket stubs, cookie fortunes, arcade tokens, and vending machine photos from the state fair, this is a great way to empty out the souvenir box and turn it into art.

-Choose an event or general theme. Don’t save every scrap of paper from your excursions, but want to commemorate an experience or event? Maybe you want to make a piece with “France” or “Summer” as a general topic. Jot down words or details about the memory or theme you want to turn into fabric art and look for paper, fabric and small found objects for those elements.

-Seek inspiration in your materials. Right now, I’m working on ArtProject2010.info, in which I’m making a new piece of art daily for a year, and let’s just say I don’t get a lightning strike of pure inspiration every day. One way to get the ball rolling is to look through the materials you have available to you and see if a pattern forms or an idea comes to you. This is the method I used in my example in this instructable.

Still need some inspiration? Check out some examples of mini art quilts I’ve made this year.

For this project, you’ll need:

• An old frame, preferably 8”x10” or smaller (don’t need the glass) and paint, if desired
• Scrap fabric, paper and odds & ends like buttons, tokens, rick rack, a few colors of thread
• Thin batting (or dryer lint)
• A sewing machine & pins
• Scissors, pen & a bit of masking tape

Step 1: Find an old frame & use it cut out your base fabric

Most of us have an old frame tucked away somewhere. If you don’t, you can get one at thrift store for 25 cents - $2.00. You don’t even need the glass, since you’ll be adding 3-D elements and it won’t fit back in there with the quilt anyway. I recommend using a small frame- 8x10 or smaller- because the larger you go, the harder it is to get your quilt to lay flat in the frame.

*TIP* If your frame has glass, save it so you can use it as an inking plate for linocuts. Check out one of my other instructables, how anyone can make a linocut here.

Take your frame apart. There should be a cardboard insert & backing board (usually this is thicker cardboard that slides in or is held in with bendable metal tabs). Use the outside edge of the frame as a pattern for your base fabric. Trace around it on the back of your face fabric and cut out 2 pieces. These will be the front and back pieces of your quilt.

Use the inner cardboard insert to trace and cut out your batting. Use thin batting; it will be enough to give your finished piece texture when you do the top-stitch and will help it to fit into the frame.

If you don’t have large pieces of fabric to work with, you can sew multiple pieces together to create a bigger one. Remember that only the front piece needs to be the color you want to work with as the background of your ‘canvas’. No one will see the back piece since it will be in the frame.

These pieces will be larger than the space that will be visible in the frame, but we’ll trim it down later. This helps ensure that the unfinished edges don’t fall out of the frame without the glass to hold it in.

*TIP* If you don’t have any scrap fabric, consider using old/damaged pieces of clothing unsuitable for donating or old sheets. You can paint or stamp directly on to your fabric first (or dye it if it’s a natural fabric; look up recipes for vegetable dyes for some non-toxic options). Here’s a mini cityscape quilt I made by painting on to sheet fabric, then sewing on top of the painted fabric.

If you don’t have and don’t want to buy some batting, you might want to try using dryer lint. There are some how-tos on the interwebs for this one, but it is highly flammable, so be careful.
way cool,you are talented,for sure
Super cute !! My neice is going to love this !!! <br><br>(hope you got the copyright problem taken care of)
Listen, your tutorial has been copied and place on another blog: http://inthe-garden.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-to-make-upcycled-art-quilt.html <br>This person has done the same thing to my tutorial as well (you can find me for real at www.sewhappygeek.co.uk) <br>She has stolen every tutorial that's up on her blog.<br>I have lodged a formal complaint with blogger, as it's clearly copyright infringement and therefore both illegal in international law and against Blogger's policies. I am trying to contact everyone who's tutorial has been stolen, to urge you to complain to Blogger as well to get the site withdrawn.<br>You can google 'copyright infringement complaint Blogger' for the form, or go here:<br>http://inthe-garden.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-to-make-upcycled-art-quilt.html<br>I'm really sorry to tell you this, and I really do know how awful it feels.<br>Sincerely,<br>Jenna @ SewHappyGeek
Hi there! <br><br>Thanks for bringing my attention to this. I did create the instructable in the spirit of getting other people artmaking, and do like it being shared, but it's obvious that this person is doing the copying with the intention of generating ad revenue. <br><br>If it were just me, I wouldn't mind so much, but it is crappy that they've done this to lots of people. And this particular instructable has been included in an eBook/ePublication by Instructables that they offer for download in iTunes; hence, they may care to do something about the infringement. So I have sent a message to one of the admin here with the blog link and asked to be notified if they take action. If so, I'll let you know. <br><br>Thanks again for contacting me. It's always good to hear from fellow members of this community. Take care!<br><br>Marianne
I just wanted to let you know that unless this is you, your hard work has been ripped off, word for word: http://inthe-garden.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-to-make-upcycled-art-quilt.html<br><br>
Yep, that isn't me. :) I sent a note to an admin at Instructables since this particular 'ible is included in an eBook that they published, so they may care to do something about the copyright infringement. Thank you for bringing my attention to it. Have a good one!
simple and yet so beautifull and creative. looks great :)<br>
Way way cool! Can you tell me a little bit more about the linol cuts please?
Hello there! Why yes, I can! Check out this other instructable I wrote on that for some help- http://www.instructables.com/id/How-ANYONE-can-make-a-linocut/ :D Have fun!
I LOVE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE....looks rad...so creative...im gonna try it out...i have lots of bits and pieces...this project is perfect for me.
Thank you! I see scrap piles as endless possibilities now. :) Hope you have tons of fun with this, please post your finished piece!
I just finished an Africa-themed one and I love it! Thanks so much for sharing~
That's super awesome. I love hearing that people have actually completed their own projects after reading my 'ibles! Somehow it just feels really wonderful. :) Thanks for dropping me a comment to let me know. Take care!
Love it!
Thank you! It really is a lot of fun and a great way to use odds and ends. :)
nice write-up, and the results look great!<br>
Thanks! I used to think quilting was a serious thing that required books and classes, but now I have fun with it. :)

About This Instructable


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Bio: Hi, I'm Marianne Bland, an artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2010, I completed a self-imposed challenge to create at least ... More »
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