Transform Your Art Into a Quilt




Introduction: Transform Your Art Into a Quilt

Art! Fabric!

I think a bedroom is so much more cozy when it is personalized to your specific tastes and preferences. Sure, it's cheaper to buy a comforter from a big box store. However, creating a beautiful quilt to adorn your bed is a sure fire way to wake up with inspiration and joy in your heart. You can't put a price tag on that.

I love to create. I love to create art with a pen and paper and I love to create art with fabric. I combined the two to create a quilt from one of my own drawing creations.
I am 100% sure this is one of the best accomplishments in my life. I transformed my own pencil artwork into a quilt made of fabric. I hope you give this a try!

It took me well over 55 hours to complete this.
60% of the time was spent drawing, editing on the computer, taping papers together, cutting pieces out, and the like.
35% of the time was spent actually sewing this quilt.
4% of the time was spent staring at it from afar and wondering if I should just burn it (this quilt tested my patience).
1% of the time was spent actually drawing the design/creating the art on paper.

I would put myself at an intermediate level of sewing abilities. A simpler design would suit a novice.

If you want a challenge, create a piece of art with curves, waves, and tight corners.
If you want a simpler design, create a design using large square blocks or triangles.

A quilt doesn't have to fit on your bed! You could always hang it on your wall like a tapestry in your bedroom or even create a small one as a wall hanging.

Best wishes! Create something you love!

* Edited to add two pictures of the final quilt held up and on a bed

Step 1: What You'll Need!

Basic sewing skills: By basic, I mean that you can sew a straight line and can operate a sewing machine.
A sewing machine.
A piece of art that you'll want to transform into fabric/quilt. I hand drew my design. With the right processing, you could turn your picture into large squares (think Minecraft) and work with that.
A computer and access to a photo editing program (Optional, but VERY helpful)
Cutting materials: Rotary Cutter/Mat or scissors.
Sewing notions:Thread, pins, new needles for your machine.
Fabric: I used a mix of quilters cotton and Kona cotton for this quilt.I like to have more than I need. I purchased a combination of 8 colors, coming out at around 4 yards for a full size quilt. Save money by finding a coupon for JoAnns Fabric or Hancock Fabrics online.
Interfacing: Optional.
Quilting materials: Optional, you can send your quilt top to someone else to do the actual quilting. I'll share how I quilted mine at home by using basting spray.
Iron and Ironing Board

How much fabric will you need? Calculate the area of your design in square inches. One yard of fabric typically is 44x36 inches. Two yards of fabric is 44x72. For example, I purchased about 8 different fabrics for this quilt and would estimate that I bought 4-5 yards of fabric all in total. It's better to have too much than not enough!

Step 2: Make Your Art Fabric & Quilt Friendly

Draw up your design. I drew mine with a pencil and pen. I tweaked it and straightened out the edges.
I then took a photo of the image and uploadedit to my photo editing program. I used Illustrator.
I spent time outlining my image with straight lines and making sure that the lines intersected. I cleaned up my art. If you are creating something straight from a computer program, perfect! This was done so that when I blew the image up to be printed to scale that I would spend less time tweaking the image and would be able to get right to cutting and assembly with straight and even lines as the guide. This is your pattern. I also wanted to play around with color schemes and didn't want to print 15 copies of my art to color with coloring pencils. I dealt with straight lines in my art which I knew I would be able to translate into my quilt design using my sewing machine.

Use a program like to blow up your image to scale. If I had paper big enough, I would have just drawn my image that large and gone straight from there. Unfortunately, I didn't have a canvas as big as a car available to me.

You could also create small drawings big enough for quilt blocks and create a quilt made up of lots of blocks!

As I mentioned, if you want to create a simpler and more straightforward quilt, design your quilt using squares or triangles of the same size. This will create an easier quilt to assemble.

Moving right along!

Step 3: Prepare Your Art for Cutting and Transfer!

After running the art through the Rasterbator, print out the results. Want a full size quilt? Then think along the lines of 75 pages from the PDF it created. I would highly recommend printing two copies of your art. One for final inspiration and one from which you'll be able to cut your pattern pieces. If you prefer, just keep your design copy up on your computer and handy for reference.

I then taped the pages together to have the final design to scale. I only printed one copy of my design and must again implore you to print two copies.

Section off your final inspiration art (via pencil or pen) into manageable sewable pieces if you have a large design. Straight lines sew the neatest, but if you feel comfortable enough to sew curves or wavy lines, go for it!

Cut those large sections as your pattern and guide. From here, you'll cut the sections down into your individual pieces you'll use on the fabric as patterns.

Working with a specific color pattern in mind? Now is a good time to COLOR CODE your design by labeling the papers you've printed out. I used a number system designating the color of fabric I wanted per piece. This method worked swimmingly for me. I just kept the list of pieces and their corresponding numbers at my sewing machine at all times for reference.

Step 4: Art...ASSEMBLE! Creating Your Quilt Top!

Cut out each individual piece from your section. Take those pieces and trace them onto another piece of paper. Add a 1/4 border around each piece for your seam allowance. You can see in the first photo above my pieces that have the 1/4 inch border drawn on them. This will serve as your sewing guide.

What I did: Taped the inspirational section to my glass front door to use as a tracing guide. I traced each piece onto paper and then drew a 1/4 inch border around each individual piece. You do this so that you can sew a 1/4 inch from the edge to result in the true to life pattern piece you are emulating. If you were to just cut out each individual piece and then sew those together using no seam allowance (that 1/4 of an inch), your pieces will be all wonky and would not match up.

I would have cut the section apart into individual pieces to trace on a table and skip the whole taping to my front door thing, but I didn't have another copy for reference. I didn't want to trek all across the house for one look at my computer.

Here you will begin assembly.

Iron fabric to prepare it. I also fused interfacing onto the back of the fabric to add stability and thickness to the fabric. This is optional. Just be aware of fabric stretching while you are working with it.

I feel that an iron and ironing board is not optional. You'll need it to press your pieces flat and keep your piece holding it's shape.

Place each pattern piece onto the fabric.
Pin the paper to the fabric.
Cut out using sharp scissors or your rotary cutter.

Sew the pieces together. I would recommend using a smaller stitch (perhaps a 2) so that the paper can be perforated and rip away easier once your quilt top is completed. Also, using a smaller stitch will make it harder to rip open if you make a mistake or if your piece gets handled a lot in assembly. Nothing is worse than seeing your seams separate. All that hard work will be for nothing!

I removed the pins only once I knew the piece was secure. I removed the paper only when I knew I would not need it any more. I crossed off each finished piece from my inspiration paper so I could have a visual of what I had done.

To remove the paper, I just ripped it away gently. You'll need to remove the paper from the seams on the back of the quilt as well when you press the seams open with your iron. If you don't do this, you'll end up with paper in your seams and it will be hard to quilt.

As you can see in my pictures, I worked in small sections at a time. This kept it manageable for me.

Iron your design flat as you go. Iron the seams open. This will make a nice flat quilt top and make it easier to quilt later on.

Once all your pieces are sewn together, you have your quilt top!

You aren't finished! Time to either quilt your quilt top at home or send it to someone else to be quilted.

Check with quilters on their requirements for quilt tops. Some require double stitching on all the edges, flat and open seams on the back, all strings trimmed, and so on.

If you are sending your top to someone else to be quilted, thank you for reading! Best of luck!

If you are wanting to quilt your quilt top at home on your machine, read on!

Step 5: Spray Basting Your Quilt for at Home Quilting! Get to Quilting!

I have created a separate tutorial on spray basting a quilt in another Instructable.

Please visit that guide on tips for buying basting spray, batting, backing fabric, and some pointers on simple machine quilting at home!

To sum up...


-Gather your ingredients. Have your quilt top and backing ready.
-Iron your fabrics. Get all those nasty wrinkles out. Press your seams flat. This will save you a lot of heartache and I honestly wouldn’t move forward without this step.
-Clear out an area for the basting inside or outside.
-Cut your batting to size. Have scissors handy, clean clothes and hands, and a bit of uninterrupted time you can focus on this task.

Ingredients needed:

-An Ironed, smooth, and finished quilt top or fabric of your choosing
-Batting (the fluffy layer of cotton or polyester that makes the quilt poofy)
-The ironed, smooth, and finished quilt back (Can be another quilt top you’ve sewn together or just a fabric of your choice).
-Spray Adhesive or Quilt Basting Spray
-A large flat surface (I used my kitchen floor)
-A breeze. Keep the air moving in the room to avoid passing out from the chemicals!


-Newspapers or a sheet to lay down to protect the floor from the spray. You’ll need to clean the hard surface well if you choose to skip this.
-Tape to tape down the first layer of fabric and the newspapers to the hard surface.

Lay your backing fabric correct/right side down. Lay batting on top of it. You want these to be as flat and unwrinkled as possible.
Fold the batting down and spray your adhesive spray on the back of your backing fabric. Starting from the middle, fold over your batting onto the adhesive spray/backing and smooth out wrinkles. When you're done with that half, move to the other half and do the same thing.

You're ready to quilt!

I machine quilted my top haphazardly and with no direct design in mind. I created lines radiating outward from the center of the design. I stopped sewing at the end of my quilt top design and not into the batting. I do not have a quilting machine, but just a regular old Pfaff. Make do with what you have! If you want to preserve your design, you may stitch in the ditch---meaning you quilt in the seams of your design so that it is hidden. Just be aware of your thread color choice. If you use white thread on a black quilt top, it will pop and your mistakes will glare.

Whatever your choice may be, remember to start from the center of your quilt and work your way out. This will help you avoid puckering and wrinkles in your quilt.

You'll want to double stitch at the beginning and end of your stitches.
Trim your threads!

Once you are done quilting your top, you'll want to bind it. To bind is to frame and finish the quilt.

Trim the batting so that it is roughly an inch or less from your quilt top. You'll want to be extra careful when cutting. You do not want to accidentally cut through the backing fabric! I insert my hand between the batting and the backing (shown above) so that I can cut with confidence and know I will not nick the backing.

Trim the Backing fabric so that it is anywhere from 3 inches to 6 inches from the quilt top.

You are ready to bind the quilt. You will be making a rolled bind. See pictures above!

Fold the fabric so that it overlaps just onto the quilt top. Sew close to the edge nearest to the quilt top. You'll alternate between sewing, pulling the fabric taut, and rolling more of the backing fabric onto the quilt top for binding. If you do not want to freehand it while you are at the machine, you'll need to pin it before you sew. This will save you time at the machine and it will ensure that you have a straight bind.

Double stitch at the corners so that they do not break loose with wear.

Trim all of your excess threads.

You're done!


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    10 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 5

    This is Brilliant! Great idea and tutorial. I am not a skilled enough sew-er to try this but it's so creative. Well done!


    Reply 5 years ago on Step 5

    Thank you! You should work up to doing it one day! Would make a great challenge for you!

    Have a good day!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I hands down want one of those quilts. I love the low-poly look. I'm going to start working on my own design and color scheme.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Absolutely! If you can paper piece, you'll save yourself some time and headache! Best of luck with your creation!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is so awesome!!! It looks amazing. I have to try something like this! For straight line designs, I bet you could break the whole thing up into sections to be paper pieced and save yourself all the fussing with seam allowances!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Exactly! My next one will be better planned! I hope to paper piece the next one and make more manageable and even sections! Thank you so much!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice. Your design is beautiful. The bright fiery colors against the gray is a great combo.

    Where is the quilt living now? I'd love to see a photo of it in on a bed, to see how the pattern looks there.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thank you! The quilt is on its way to its new owner! When I can get my landline internet working again, I'll update with a few picture maybe later tonight!


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thank you so much! I appreciate your support!