As a Chapter Coordinator for Project Linus, the chapter received a very nice donation of quilting fabric during the summer and thought a Classroom Quilt would be an excellent community service project as it fulfills the dual mission of Project Linus: to provide comfort through homemade blankets to children in need from 0-18 years of age and promote community service throughout the area.
A fortunate meeting in August of a fourth grade teacher led to our threesome of classroom quilts recently completed and now ready to donate. Each square was drawn by a fourth grade student then adult volunteers made the squares into a classroom quilt. Our quilts measured approximately 40″ by 50″.
How To Make A Classroom Quilt
Optional: Disappearing Ink pen
Fabric for quilt sashes
Fleece for backing
White cotton fabric for squares ( I use pre cut squares found on eBay)
Volunteer quilter or sewer
Chose A Classroom Quilt Theme
It is not necessary to use a theme for a classroom quilt, but depending upon the age or interests of the children and their drawing ability a themed classroom quilt has proven popular. Choosing a theme is also a great way to have children collaborate, negotiate and compromise to collectively choose a theme. The process is also a nice way to introduce team building in the classroom.
The Superhero theme is a fun classroom quilt for all ages and is always a popular theme for kids.
Some artists like to draw freehand while other young artists like to color. I usually have plain squares available and also sketch out a few templates for those who like to color, but are not comfortable drawing. This ensures all can participate.
Preparation of Fabric Squares
Choose the size of the white fabric square. I used a 6.5 ” by 6,5″ white cotton square.
Choose the size of the drawable area of the square. I used 5.5″ for the drawable area. This allowed for a 1/4″ selvedge for each edge.
Size one piece of freezer paper for each square. The freezer paper is used to stabilize the square for drawing and prevents the fabric markers from possibly bleeding through to the surface below. I found sizing the freezer paper to 70-80% of the fabric square was adequate.
Iron the glossy side of the freezer paper to the white fabric square.
Using a paper template, sized to the drawable area, trace the outline of the template onto the white fabric square. The tool used to trace the template is your choice. I began with a disappearing ink marker and changed to using the fabric marker. The lines of the fabric marker will not be seen as the lines will be in the selvedge seam.
Recycle The Freezer Paper
One of the nice aspects of this community service project is the ability to use donated fabrics and reuse the freezer paper. The freezer paper can be used multiple times – don’t throw it away once its’ been used!
For this project I would highly recommend a brand name freezer paper and as experience has proven, the Crayola or Tulip brand fabric markers have proven consistently successful. Crayola has a classpack fabric marker which contains 80 fabric markers and is wonderful for classrooms or group events.
Draw Draw Draw!
The classroom quilt also called an art block quilt can be assigned a theme if desired. Use your own instincts depending upon the age of the artists or interest of the artists.
As this groups of quilts were designated for Project Linus, many of the blocks have a happy and cheery get well theme. The quilts below were drawn by a group of students from different schools in a metro area who participated in a diversity program. They did a wonderful job drawing the squares and contributing to comforting a child with a homemade comfort quilts.
Backing For the Quilt
We decided upon a fleece backing for the comfort quilt in order to make the quilt inviting and huggable; however, the traditional quilt with batting and backing can of course be utilized. The quilter has the latitude to choose the type of backing as well as the arrangement of the squares.
We utilized the donated fabric and fleece to make these comfort quilts for donation. Plan on 1.5 yards of fleece for one quilt which makes a warm and comfy backing.
Community Service Projects For Kids
The classroom quilt is appropriate for all ages – if the children can draw – they can participate in a classroom quilt. There is no skill level required and some of the youngest artists are the most creative! The handprint version of the classroom quilt is also an interactive project for very young children while introducing children how to contribute to a community service project or nonprofit organization.
Another fun and rewarding Community Service Project for kids is to help make sleep mats for the homeless. Plastic bags are recycled to make sleep mats by turning the plastic bags into plarn and then knitted or crocheted into the sleep mat. Plarn is plastic yarn made from plastic bags.
How can kids help? Each sleep mat takes 500-700 plastic bags. That is alot of bags! Collecting plastic bags (and a valuable recycling exercise) can be done individually or as a group effort.
The plastic bags can then be made into plarn! Making plarn is very easy and also very labor intensive due to the number of bags. I’ve included a resource How To Make Plarn and how to hold a Plarn Bag Drive. I have found that children interested in Community Service Projects like the Classroom Quilt are also interested in making plarn.