Waste Not Quilt

Make a Colonial American quilt using old paper scraps.
Click the image to view or print the template and instructions for this craft.


Colonial American women didn’t invent quilts, but they certainly made a lot of them.   Quilts were used on beds to keep family members warm.  They were also used to cover windows and doors during the cold winter months.  Because there were no stores, quilters had to be innovative with their materials.  Old clothes and other textiles (like curtains and bedspreads) were used to make patchwork quilts.  A patchwork quilt was made by stitching small scraps of fabric together to make a large piece of fabric.  The large patched together piece was used as the front of the quilt.  Then padding (possibly an old bedspread) and a backing were added.  Nothing went to waste.  There were no garbage cans in Colonial times.  People used their resources wisely.

When you make this craft with a group of students, you can request that each student bring in a paper product they had planned to throw away or recycle.  Students can sit on the floor in a circle with the paper scraps in the center of the circle.  Each student should have a copy of the quilt grid, a scissors, a ruler, a pencil, and a glue stick. 

After everyone completes their piece of the quilt, you can attach them to a bulletin board to make a large classroom quilt.

There will be students who complain about the amount of wasted paper scraps that weren’t used in the quilt.  To make sure you waste nothing, make handmade paper with the remaining scraps.