How would you like to make a ‘Forest Quilt”? Or perhaps a potholder that looks like a tree? Or what about a tote bag decorated with a tree? There are so many things you can make with tree quilt blocks! The vast majority of tree quilt block patterns are for Christmas trees. Of course, you can use these patterns to make any kind of fir tree- just don’t use all those Christmas colors in your blocks!
Option 1 - SIMPLE Style Tree Quilt Blocks
Here is how to make the simplest fir tree block. This method gives you two trees, but they will be in opposite colors- eg one green tree and one white tree. The final block will be more of a rectangle shape than a square shape.
How to Make Simple Tree Quilt Blocks
To make 2 sample blocks you will need the following:
- THEAD - Strong thread
- MARKING - Removable marking pen
- CUTTING - Rotary cutter, scissors, self healing cutting board, quilting ruler
- BASICS - Sewing machine, iron and ironing board
- FABRICS - Pale background fabric, green print fabric for trees, brown print fabric for trunk
Fabric Cutting Instructions
- LIGHT - 1 background square 4 ½ x 4 ½ ” (11.5x 11.5cm) [Cream, in this case.]
- GREEN - 1 green square 4 ½ x 4 ½” (11.5x 11.5 cm)
- BROWN - 2 brown trunks 1x 1 ½” (2.5x 4 cm)
- CREAM - 2 cream rectangles 2x 1 ½” (5x 4 cm)
Step 1 - Trunk
To make the trunk sections, sew the brown strips in between the white rectangles.
Step 2 - Tree
Place the two large squares on top of each other, right sides facing. Using a ruler and a rotary cutter, cut one side of the tree shape.
If you want to have uniform trees, cut at a 60-degree angle. If you want trees of differing shapes and sizes, freehand the cuts so that your triangles are all different sizes and widths.
Now cut the other side of the tree. Make certain that you leave some seam allowance at the top of the center triangle, or your trees will have their tops chopped off!
- Next step is to mix the white sides with the green tree, and the green sides with the white tree.
- The first seam needs to be along the line of your second cut. Place a green triangle on top of a white triangle and sew together with ¼”(6mm) seam allowance. Open out and press towards the darker side.
- Sew the second background triangle to the central tree triangle.
- Place it so that you have ¼” (6 mm) at the top for the seam allowance.
- Square off the top and bottom edge of the unit so that they are even with the bottom of the tree.
Step 3- Join the Trunk to the Tree
Now join the trunk strip to the tree strip. Mark the center of each strip and match centers to join. Pin into place, then stitch. Your trunk strip may be a bit wider than the tree unit. Just square it all up by trimming after stitching.
Step 4 - Repeat
Now repeat these steps with the colors in reverse.
Option #2 - Simple Pieced Tree Quilt BLocks
But what about other types of trees? A lot depends upon which quilting techniques you want to use. If you want to use conventional pieced patchwork, here are some ideas.
How to Make Pieced Tree Quilt Blocks
All the normal quilting supplies, as listed above.
To make a 4”(10cm) completed block - Metric sizes are rounded off and are approximate.
You will need green, brown, and background fabric of your choice.
- Cut 1 green rectangle 3 ¾” x 3 ¼” (9.5x 8.3 cm)
- 1 brown trunk 1 ½”x 1” (3.8x 2.5cm)
- 4 background squares 1” (2.5cm)
- 2 background strips 1 ”x3 ¼ ” (2.5 x 8.2 cm)
- 1 background strip 1 “x 5 ½ “(2.5 x 13.9cm)
- 2 background rectangles 2 ¼ ”x 1 ½ “ (5.7x3.8cm)
- Start by drawing a diagonal line on each of the small background squares.
- Sew the small background squares onto the corners of the green rectangle, along the diagonal lines. Press every single seam as you go.
- Flip the shape over, fold back the squares, and trim away the excess, leaving ¼” (6mm) seam allowance.
- Now sew the three long background strips around the tree shape. First do the two shorter ones at the sides, then add the longer one at the top.
- Sew the large background rectangles to either side of the tree trunk.
- Now sew the leafy section to the trunk section.
- Trim to size.
If you are making a whole quilt of these trees, you could use different greens for the leaves or various autumn colors. You could also add some appliqué fruits on each tree or appliqué blossoms for a spring quilt.
Option #3 - Hexagon Style Tree Quilt Blocks
Another way of making tree quilt blocks is to use English Paper Piecing and hexagons. This does involve hand stitching, so those who are averse to hand stitching, skip this section! To those who enjoy the experience of slow stitching, making hexagons is absolutely addictive! The added advantage of hand stitching is that it is portable, so you can do it while waiting for children while watching TV, or while listening to a podcast.
How to Make Hexagon Tree Quilt Blocks
- BASICS - All the usual quilting equipment as listed above.
- HEXAGON PAPERS - These can be printed onto normal printer paper, or card stock. You can also buy these ready made and cut from quilting stores. You will be using small hexagons for your tree leaves. Hexagons are usually measured by the length of one of their sides. I have used 1” hexies in my pictures. Of course, if you want to make one large tree as a wall hanging, you can use much larger hexagons.
- FABRIC GLUE - You can glue the fabric to the papers, or you can stitch it down. The glue is quicker, but the stitching is easier to remove afterwards.
- TEMPLATES - You will need templates for drawing the hexagons onto the fabric. You can make these from cardboard, or purchase them at quilting stores.
- FABRIC - Small pieces of quilting cotton in shades appropriate for your tree. Various shades of green, or autumn colors, or even pinks and whites to make spring trees with blossoms.
Step 1 - Cutting
Cut your fabric, using your template as a guide. The fabric must be ¼” larger (all around) than your paper hexagon. This is your seam allowance. To make one tree you will need 7 hexagons.
Step 2 - Positioning
Pin the paper hexagon to the center of the fabric hexagon. Fold down the seam allowance. Either glue this fold down with fabric glue or baste it with large stitches, catching each corner of the hexagon.
My personal preference is to stitch it, as it can be tricky to remove the papers if they are glued down. But gluing is quicker! These stitches can be rough and ready, as they will not be visible at all afterward. If stitching, try to pick up just the fabric and don’t sew through the paper. This also helps with paper removal later!
Remove the pin, but not the paper! Press the folds down to give crisp edges.
Step 3 - Stitching
Now stitch the hexies together, right sides facing. Use a fine needle, matching thread, and a small whip stitch. The idea is to stitch it so that the hexies lie flat, there is no large seam allowance here. Again, try not to pick up the paper with your needle.
I chose to arrange mine in this shape, but you can put the hexagons together in a more random ‘tree shape’ if you prefer!
Remove the papers from the back of the hexagons. Appliqué the completed shape onto your background fabric. You can do this by hand or by machine. You can also add a lot more hexagons to make a large tree.
Cut a trunk shape out of brown fabric, and add that onto your background block. Appliqué it down using buttonhole stitch by machine, or needle turn appliqué by hand.
Tree Quilt Blocks - In Conclusion
These are just a few ideas for creating tree quilt blocks. Decide which method appeals to you the most, and make a few of those to put together as a table runner or a quilt. Or just make one large tree quilt block and add batting, backing and a border to make a lovely wall hanging. The tree quilt blocks are sure to add a new dimension to this fantastic hobby called quilting!
More Quilting Blocks
- Half Rectangle Triangles – Easiest Tutorial to Make Them
- Windmill Quilt Block – Best and Easiest Method
- Nine Patch Quilt Block – Easy Tutorial for Perfect Blocks
- Pinwheel Quilt Blocks – Single & Double Easy Methods
- Flying Geese Quilt Blocks – Best & Easiest Methods
- Log Cabin Quilt Blocks – Easiest Tutorial for Beginners
- Half Square Triangles – Easiest 2,4 & 8 Patch Tutorial & Formulas