Polaroid Block Tutorial

I’ve been part of the #superawesomequiltbee this year and it’s been so much fun! You can see photos of the blocks we’ve made using the hashtag on Instagram. I picked November as my month because birthdays in my family start in full swing (Happy Birthdays to the boy, his mother, my childhood bestie, Rosi, Aimeeee and a few others) and roll right on through the holidays (Happy Birthday Busta!) and on to the new year (Happy Birthday Esteban!). Needless to say, November is when I hit the “oh shit, I need to get the holiday crafting going full throttle!” panic button. 😀

For my block I’ve picked the Polaroid block. I wanted something quick and easy to make that would allow everyone’s personal tastes to shine through. I may have also been inspired by the DC Immortals collection. There have been a couple Polaroid swaps around Instagram lately and I loved them but the center image on those was a bit too small to showcase my awesome Immortal Ladies prints. After some time with my acrylic rulers and a few prints I decided a 4″ finished center square would be awesome for showcasing the ladies and many other prints.

image of 4 quilt blocks

Dragons, Supergirl, Rainbow, and Wonder Woman

I made a spreadsheet and did some ratio math to figure out how large to upsize the Polaroid block so everything would be proportional. Turns out, you don’t actually want everything proportional. It’s the thin frame that signifies the Polaroid block. So I just folded my too big block up until it looked about right. 🙂

Once I started pulling fabrics for the center image it was hard to stop. I figured eight examples was more than plenty to get folks going. haha. I am not sure how big the quilt will be at the end, haven’t done the math yet, so there will be plenty of time to cut up my whole stash later. 😀

image of 4 quilt blocks

Snowman, Elephant, Whale and Flower blocks

Hope you have fun making this block!

Fabric requirements

For 4 blocks

  • 1.25” x 60” for sides and tops of border fabric
  • 2” x 24” for bottoms of border fabric
  • 4 – 4.5″ squares for the center image

For a single block

  • 1.25” x 15” for sides and tops
  • 2” x 6” for the bottom
  • 4.5” square for center image



Any of the Bee solids, but no more than one pepper frame per person please.

Center Images

any noun – person, place, thing, or shape – have fun with this! (see email or spreadsheet for more information)

Unfinished Block Size

6” wide by 6.75” tall

Cutting Instructions

  • Cut 4 – 4.5” squares for your center image
  • Cut 2 – 1.25” x width of fabric (wof) for your sides and tops
    • Subcut into 8 – 1.25” x 4.5”
    • Subcut into 4 – 1.25” x 6”
  • Cut 1 – 2″ x wof for your bottoms
    • Subcut into 4 – 2” x 6” rectangles
photo of a cutting board with cut fabric, a rotary cutter, and an acrylic ruler artfully arranged

All the pieces needed for two blocks

Alternatively, you could skip sub-cutting the frames before piecing and sew the center images to the frame fabric in strips and then cut the frame fabric.

photo of a sewing machine with piecing on it.

Strip piecing center images to one cut of frame fabric.

Piecing the Block
Seam allowance = ¼”

1. Sew your two side pieces to your center image, right sides facing.

photo of a sewing machine and fabric being sewn together

Sew the side frames to the center image right sides facing.

2. Press your seams to the side.

Image of an iron pressing open seams of patchwork piecing on top of a pressing board.

Press the frames open

3. Sew your top and bottom pieces to the center image, right sides facing. Be sure you have your center image facing the right way and your frame isn’t upside down! :O

image of a sewing machine and fabric being sewn together

Sew the top and bottom frames to the center image, right sides facing

4. Press your seams to the side.

image of two stages of the block piecing process

Before and after sewing the top and bottom frames

5. Do not trim your block.
6. Repeat for remaining 3 blocks.
7. You’re done! I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

About LittleWit

Rockin'. I eat my snacks in multiples of two.
This entry was posted in Quilting. Bookmark the permalink.