Home Studio: From Pieces to Patterns

March 24, 2020


Begin by viewing the selected quilts and engage in discussion comparing the quilts (design, color, pattern, materials, etc)—giving the opportunity to connect to the quilts through analysis. When compared, how are the quilts similar; how are they different? Finish the discussion with concepts of traditional and contemporary quilting (pattern, symmetrical, asymmetrical, applique).


To plan, design, and create original paper-quilt-collages inspired by quilts from the MMFA’s collection, and to engage new audiences with traditional and contemporary concepts of quilting.

Find Inspiration


  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Construction paper and/or Patterned paper
  • Glue sticks


  • Applique – A technique when fabric shapes are cut and sewn onto a fabric block or quilt top.
  • Asymmetrical – A balance in design that lacks symmetry (does not create a mirror image when a line is put down the middle), but still maintains visual balance.
  • Block Patterns – One of the earliest quilt designs, made by sewing together squares; popular because of how quickly this could be assembled and also popular because labor could be divided among multiple people in the community.
  • Color – A basic element of art that is an identifiable quality of an object (such as red, blue, yellow) as it is perceived by the human eye, produced when light is reflected off an object to the eye.
  • Design – A plan for the organization of formal elements in a work of art.
    Lone Star – A traditional quilt design in which the repetition of single diamond shapes are arranged in concentric circles.
  • Pattern – A repeated design.
  • Quilt – Layers of fabric sewn together, typically applied in a decorative design. Can be used as blankets or hung on walls as ornamental art.
  • Symmetrical – A balance in design achieved by arranging elements on either side of the center of a composition to create a mirror image.


Design: Sift through the paper choices, cut out or tear different shapes and strips, and then begin experimenting with arrangements on the larger paper you intend to use as the base of your collage.

Rearrange: We recommended trying several different arrangements using various colors of paper and making distinctly different patterns, to find what you like the most!

Glue: After layering and rearranging the papers into the desired design, use a glue stick to adhere the collage pieces onto the larger base paper.


Discuss your original collage-quilt-creations as a group (as few or many as that may safely be!), sharing about why you executed specific designs and chose certain patterns. Additionally, a great way to display paper quilt collages can be hanging them together, to create a large quilt-like form, made up from many smaller paper quilt collages. We would love to see your displays!

Share Your Work

We would love to see your creations! Share your work with us by taking a photograph and emailing it to us at pr@mmfa.org.

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