Quilt Block Pattern Handmade Birthday Card

Last time I shared with you the card I made for my best friend’s daughter, Jocie.  Well, her older brother, Justin’s birthday was a few days later, on December 30, so it was another late birthday card that I sat down to make last weekend.

As you may know, if you’ve been following my blog for awhile, I haven’t made a whole lot of masculine type cards.  I took a look at my idea book where I jot down card ideas as they come to me, and came across a sheet of quilt block patterns.  After perusing some of the ideas, I settled on the pattern known as courthouse steps.  (See a sample pattern here.)  I thought it was one of the easier patterns to recreate.  No triangles or lots of small pieces to cut out and glue.

I’ve said this many times in the past, but I love to find creative ways to re-use magazine paper, so for this card I decided to cut out the strips from magazine pages.  I figured this would also help give the card a more masculine look.  I rummaged through my paper collection and pulled out a bunch that had different colors and patterns to give my card more interest.

Assorted magazine paper in various colors

Assorted magazine paper in various colors and patterns

I decided to cut my strips a half inch wide – not too wide and not too narrow, which would make it difficult to trim accurately.  A paper trimmer made this job relatively quick and easy.

Strips of magazine paper for quilt block pattern

Strips of magazine paper for quilt block pattern

Since the pages were large, and I only needed a small portion of each, I chose to cut out the part of each paper that had the most interesting pattern or vibrant color.

I found a leftover piece of cardstock in my stash that was the right size for the pattern I had chosen, about 6 inch x 6 inch.

Card stock base for quilt pattern

Cardstock base for quilt pattern

(The color didn’t matter too much, as the strips of magazine paper would completely cover the piece of cardstock.)

To start, I glued down two strips on opposite ends of the piece of cardstock.

Gluing down first 2 strips

Gluing down first 2 strips

I could have used tape runner for my adhesive, but I chose to use extra strength glue stick glue instead because 1) it’s much cheaper, and 2) it’s repositionable, which really helps when you’re trying to be precise.

Extra strength glue stick

Extra strength glue stick

(Initially I didn’t pre-trim the paper strips before gluing them down, but as I got more comfortable with the technique, I would line up each strip, edge to edge, against the previous strip, fold it to the right length and trim off the excess.)

For the next set of strips, I chose different colored ones and trimmed them down to 5 inches long, and following the pattern, glued them along the other two edges of the card stock, one on either side.

Gluing down trimmed strips of magazine paper

I continued trimming down the strips of paper, two by two, pairing colors/patterns as I went, with each subsequent set of strips one inch shorter than the previous set, and gluing everything down, lining up the edges carefully.

Building the quilt block pattern

Building the quilt block pattern

For my quilt block, I paired up the colors and patterns, but you could use a different color/pattern for each strip, or mix and match however way you choose to go for the look you’re after.

(If you look closely at the preceding photo, you can see that the edges of my paper strips are a little raggedy.  The blade on my paper trimmer should be replaced, but I think the less than smooth edges of the strips give the overall pattern a slightly rustic look.)

When I got to the center of my card stock, I was left with a square opening.

All strips glued down

I covered the opening with a contrasting 2-inch square piece of magazine scrap.

Filling in the center of quilt block pattern

Filling in the center of quilt block pattern

The finished pattern was 6 inch by 6 inch in size, which is quite large for a card, especially given that I was planning to glue the pattern to an even larger sized card base.  I decided to trim off a half inch on either side of the pattern, ending up with a 5 inch x 6 inch piece of cardstock.

Trimmed down quilt block pattern

Trimmed down quilt block pattern

You learn as you go :0)  If I were to make this card again, but wanted to keep it square, I would eliminate some of the strips to make a truncated version of this pattern.

Next, I cut out a cream colored piece of cardstock for the base of my card, so that when folded in half, it would be slightly wider and longer than the quilt block layer, approximately 6.5 inch x 11 inch.  (If I had not trimmed down my quilt pattern, I would have needed a piece of cardstock that was over 12 inches long, something that not only I don’t have, but I don’t even think is available in the marketplace!)

Using tape runner, I glued down the quilt pattern layer on top of the card base, allowing a quarter inch border all around.

Quilt block pattern layer glued to card base

Quilt block pattern layer glued to card base

Next I created an embellishment by stamping a birthday sentiment on matching cardstock.  I trimmed out the sentiment and inked the edges to give it a kind of distressed look.

Stamped sentiment for birthday card

Stamped sentiment for birthday card

To finish, I added two foam pop dots to the back of the sentiment and adhered it to the center of the card.

Completed courthouse steps quilt block pattern handmade birthday card

Completed courthouse steps quilt block pattern handmade birthday card

I love how this card turned out!  I wasn’t sure if I could get everything glued down precisely, but I couldn’t be happier with the end result :0)  What I especially love about this idea is that you could change out the patterns and colors of your paper strips to make the quilt pattern more feminine or masculine, more childlike or adult.  The sky’s the limit!

One final thing – how was I going to mail this card?  The dimensions were 5.5 inch x 6.5 inch, which is a good-sized card.  I didn’t have any envelopes on hand that could house it.  Stay tuned for my next post to see what I did to get out of this little dilemma!

Have you ever tried replicating a quilt block pattern in your card making?  Which one(s) have you tried? Please share in the comments.



About Serena Y Lee

Serena worked in the biotech industry for 18 years before leaving to pursue her life purpose – to live in freedom with creativity and simplicity. Her love for baking, creativity, and story-telling compelled her to start blogging to share her ideas with a wider audience.

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3 Responses to Quilt Block Pattern Handmade Birthday Card

  1. Cynthia January 14, 2015 at 2:38 am #

    LOVE getting your hand made birthday cards. Each one is so unique and lovely. Just like you!

    • Serena Y Lee January 14, 2015 at 5:37 am #

      Awww, you are too sweet, Cynthia. I’m glad you enjoy them as much as I enjoy making them :0)


  1. How to Make a Custom Envelope (for a Large Size Card) | Crafty Creative Gal - January 14, 2015

    […] time I showed you how I made a quilt block pattern card.  I ended up having to trim it down because it was too big, but the resulting card, at 5.5 inch by […]

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