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Paper Piecing

Learn how to do paper piecing with this quick and easy tutorial. All you'll need is paper, a light box and a pattern. Design your own pattern for a unique project.

Paper Piecing Video:




  • Variety of papers (coordinate colors with pattern)
  • Sharp scissors or craft knife
  • Saral transfer paper or light box
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Purchased pattern or design or your own pattern or design



  1. Review pattern and select colors and papers that are needed for each piece of the pattern.
  2. If your paper has a right side, you should trace the pattern onto the wrong side of the paper unless you are using the Saral transfer paper method. Saral’s transfer color is completely erasable.
  3. Trace piece patterns onto paper using Saral transfer paper. Use a light color of transfer paper for dark colored papers and a dark color of transfer paper for light colored papers.
  4. Another option: Place piece patterns onto light box. Place paper on top of the pattern and using the light source trace piece pattern onto paper.
  5. Cut out all your pieces. Arrange as the pattern.
  6. Glue pieces onto your background paper.


  • You can enlarge or reduced on a copier or computer.
  • Using transfer paper takes away the light box step of tracing the paper pieces, but use a transfer paper that is erasable.
  • Make your own patterns from clip art, coloring books or greeting cards. Just respect the copyright laws of the designer or publisher.
  • Remember that most patterns or designs can be used in the reverse for 2 page spreads or mirror images.
  • If just starting, use simple patterns and designs that don’t have dozens of small pieces, then challenge yourself with more complex designers.
  • Don’t cut out all the pattern pieces from the original pattern. Make a copy to cut up and keep the pattern whole so that you won’t lose any pieces to your pattern.
  • Use a variety of papers: tissue, mesh, plastic, cardstock, fabric, handmade, vellum, textured, patterned, decorative, heavy and lightweight, and scraps!
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