How to make a quilt~Gettin’ crafty for a teacher gift

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  Seriously people, if I can do it, you can! If you can using a sewing machine to sew a decent straight line (mine aren’t always straight) you can do this.  This is the third quilt I’ve made, and all in the past year.  I have had many helpers along the way, so I took some step by step shots to help those of you out that might have a hankering to do this.  The other 2 quilts (here and here) I made with designer fabric for the sake of fun photo shoots.  This design was a bit different because we did the handprints and border around each.

I am the room parent for my daughters kinder class and it is her teachers first year of teaching.  I wanted to do something special for her to remember this first year. I planned to give it to her on the last day of school, but then one of my dearest friends decided to get married out of state on that very day, so I hurriedly switched gears and planned it for said teachers birthday.

Here is how it all went down:

March 10th: found out my friend is getting married on May 27th out of state.  This is the last day of school, when I planned to give the quilt to the teacher. I had to be there to give it to her, so moved up the date to her April birthday.


March 15th: Emailed all of class parents and asked them to bring their child to my house in a week (it was spring break, so not everyone got it til the last minute).

March 20th:  Sent note home with kids in envelopes so parents wouldn’t forget.

March 21st:  After running to 2 fabric stores, didn’t see what I wanted and found some on  The teacher calls the kids her Kinder Bugs, so I wanted bugs–the 5 shes uses for their groups had to be in the fabric:  ladybug, butterfly, dragonfly, caterpillar, bees Of course the next days I spotted something similar at a third fabric store, but oh well. Bought fabric paint and fabric markers in the colors of the fabric.

March 22nd: 17 of the 21 students came to my home to get their hand print on a 9×9 white square (actually cut squares to 9.25×9.25 allowing for sewing seam) .  I said I’d be home from 3-7pm and they could come anytime. My awesome friend and neighbor Naomi helped me a ton! All the kinder kids thought it was pretty fun to come to my daughter’s home. (The pic with me init is taken by my daugther below in green).

 March 24: 3 more came to my house

March 25: One childs mom was sick and couldn’t get him to my home, so I went to school and pulled him out of P.E. (luckily the coaches know me) and quickly got his print on a white square.  Saw our kinder teacher in the library and with a wet handprint and toddler, did my best to  hide!

March 28:  My order came–hallelujah!

March 29:  My friend Amy helped me figure out how to cut out the yellow bug fabric (with help from my mom on the phone).  I may or may not have had a panic attack when trying to figure out what to cut. The inbetween strips are 2×9.5 inches each. Allowing for a quarter inch on each side to sew to the squares.  Arranged on the floor to figure out color design.

I chose 5 colors.  With 21 kids, each color got 4  hands with 1 having 5. I made 3 extra sqaures to make an even 24. Got all that math?  Whew!  Annoying that sewing involves so much math!  So roughly, my quilt is 36 across and 54 inches down….allowing a little extra for the seams.

I took my strips and sewed them backwards on the left 3 of each row, leaving the last one without the yellow strip.  It would get it at the end with a longer strip from top to bottom of the quilt.

It was fun to watch the progression.  Below, I have sewn together the strips on the top row while the rows below are awaiting that moment.

Then I pulled out my horizontal strips. Approximately 36 inches wide (with a little extra for seam allowance) by 2 inches tall to sew my rows together. See below.

Check it out!  I did this part all by myself and I am so pleased with how it turned out.  Now…don’t look too closely, you will see that some of my math and lack of straight stitching didn’t turn out swimmingly.

A few steps got skipped in the camera department.  My mom came into town and helped me finish it off.  We got some thin batting and she suggested bias tape for my edge.  It is sold in the fabric store by the zippers and in many colors.  It was 3 yards long and about 4 inches wide, so doubled up, it was the perfect size for my edges and I didn’t have to cut anything! I got two of them in dark blue. I wish I took pics of it before…so sorry. We pinned the top fabric to the back yellow bugged fabric with the binding in between.  I did just a little quilting because I didn’t want to tie it.  I quilted each row of horizontal lines just to hold it all together.  After pinning on the blue bias tape, I then sewed a zig zag directly on top of the edge so it sewed both sides at the same time.  Looking at my edges, they aren’t perfection, but I am completely ok with that!

Ta da!

 Flip over the back…

Here are my baby and I going to deliver the package and donuts.

The kids were all very excited.  Supposedly that hadn’t told their teacher what they did.

She was surprised…it was fun;)

I had to snag a pic with her and my girl as I said farewell to my hard work.  It was worth it, she has been such a great teacher for my daughter!

Any questions I left unanswered? Whew–what a post. G’night.

Join The Discussion



  1. Jess says:

    Oh my!!! That is THE SUH-WEETEST teacher gift ever!!!
    I would have loved to have recieved such a thoughtful gift when I was teaching!
    Way to go!!!

  2. I would LOVE to receive such a gift. I think I would have cried if it had been me 🙂

    Fantastic job!!!

  3. Emily says:

    So cute, so thoughtful, so fun!

  4. Lorie says:

    It is VERY cute! You are making me feel like such a TAD slacker! ;D

  5. This is awesome!! I made something almost exactly like this for my senior year seminary teacher, but not with hand prints 🙂 We each got a square to write a message to Brother Perry on it, and then I did sashing in between the squares, too. I think it’s such an awesome gift, so personal, and such a treasure to the receiver. Yours looks so great!

  6. WOW! I certainly hope that in my first year of teaching I have parents as awesome as you 🙂 I’d love to attempt to make a quilt for something, now I’ll just have to figure out what!

  7. Janene says:

    All I can say is WOWEEEEEEEE! (Way to go!)

  8. Mandy says:

    it’s my kindergarten’s teacher’s first year as well – so we’re going to do this for her – – can you tell me how much fabric you bought?? how much white and how much bugs? and what size of batting – full size? thanks Kristen!

  9. Mandy says:
  10. Kelly Smith Titmus says:

    Kristen- I found this link through another site while looking up handprint quilts. Small world! I have question about working with fabric paint. I know this may sound crazy but I want to put around 150 handprints (maybe finger prints)on a quilt to say thank you to someone. I did something similar to what you did but it was long enough that I can’t remember the details. I need this new one to be a super quick turn around so I want to have it all put together before I have them put their prints on it. I can’t remember if you need to do anything to the fabric after you put the prints on to make it permanent. Since you just did it, can you let me know

  11. Julie Heuer says:

    Wow! Awesome! Thank you for this as I have never made a quilt but am volunteered for doing the quilt for my son’s school fundraiser. I am doing a handprint quilt as well but was so confused about the fabric in between the squares. Thanks for the illustrations. I’ve already bought the sqaures so now have to do the rest.

  12. Kimberly says:

    Your quilt is just adorable! And thank you so much for posting a tutorial – I was able to follow it very easily and create our own handprint quilt for one of our teachers:

  13. Bianca says:

    I was just curious as to what kind of fabric you used for the white squares?


  14. What a cute, cute, cute idea! Turned out great! I am new to your blog & look forward to exploring it more! I wanted to let you know that I have featured your quilt in this weeks Stay At Home Nation Spotlight, so come take a look. And while you are there, I would love for you to link up to my Favorite Things Friday Party. I look forward to seeing what you share!

  15. Lauren says:

    What kind of paint did you use ??

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I can’t remember what kind, but if you go to a craft store, just ask for fabric paint!

  16. Norma B says:

    What size did the quilt end up coming out? that is such an awesome gift! what an awesome mom by the way for doing it!!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I wish I remembered, but I no longer have it with me;(

  17. Beth says:

    I love this. We are going to try to do one for our kindergarten teacher. What kind of fabric did you use for white squares? Can you use muslim or should it be 100% cotton?

    • Kristen Duke says:

      pretty sure it’s 100% cotton

  18. Lauren says:

    The quilt turned out great! I was wondering if the parts that are painted are rough? We are thinking of making one for my daughters teacher who is having a baby. I don’t want it to be in comfy to put the baby on. Thanks!

  19. Oh wow! I love this! I made a quilt for my son’s school last year (, but I’m already looking for ideas for his first grade teacher. I LOVE this idea! Well done!

  20. Jenny seaver says:

    The quilt is a brilliant idea with an addition of a pillow case thing on back to make it a quillwork.

  21. Kedith says:

    Did you use a special kind of paint for the fabric?

    • Kristen Duke says:

      YES! make sure it’s washable. Go to the craft store, and they can direct you to a good brand to use.

  22. Brenda Tucker says:

    What kind of paint do you use ?

  23. Kathy says:

    What kind of paint did you use? Do you know if it fainted?

  24. Lynda says:

    Such a cute quilt! What type of paint did you use for the children’s handprints? Thx.


  1. […] not what one would call a “quilter.” I’ve actually made 3 myself (first, second, third), but they don’t look so great up close. I can sew a decently straight line, that’s it. […]

  2. […] Handprint Quilt Kristen describes how she got all the kids handprints without the teacher seeing and a great tutorial with lots of photos via Capturing Joy […]