Photo Memory Quilt for a Beginner – Photo Quilt Blocks

Embarking on the journey of creating a photo memory quilt is a delightful and sentimental adventure. As a beginner, the prospect of turning cherished photographs into a cozy, tangible quilt might seem like a daunting task, but fear not! In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process, offering simple steps and tips to help you craft a beautiful and meaningful photo memory quilt.

Making a Photo Memory Quilt for a beginner can be done in 9 easy steps:

First, gather together the photos that you would like to use in your quilt.
Second, choose your pattern. We are giving you a beginner pattern to get you started!
Third, order your photo quilt blocks for your quilt online from
Fourth, purchase a 5″ charm pack of fabric squares in a fabric that matches your photos or theme.
Fifth, cut your Photo Quilt Blocks into 5″ squares.
Sixth, follow the directions to assemble your 5″ blocks into a quilt topper.
Seventh, layer your quilt topper with the batting and backing.
Eighth, quilt your layers together by tying the quilt or stitching in the ditch.
Ninth, bind your quilt.

Now, I know you are probably thinking that all sounds a little overwhelming, but if you will follow along, step by step, we will get you through your first photo quilt like a pro!

Step 1: Gathering Your Photos: Where Do You Begin When Choosing Photos for Your Photo Quilt?

Believe it or not, that’s easy! Choose a person or family, vacation, celebration, or pet for your first Photo Memory Quilt. These are the best themes to start your photo quilt journey. Every photo is a memory, and every memory tells a story. So think of this as telling a story about your subject! Choose the one that is closest to your heart so you enjoy this journey and want to finish your quilt as soon as possible!

  • Person or family theme- Choose twelve photos that tell a story or capture the personality of the person or family that the quilt is about. Choose some group photos and some close-up photos of individual people to give the quilt variety.
  • Vacation theme – Choose 12 photos that chronicle your vacation like a diary. If you are foodie, choose photos with all your favorite foods you ate. You could also choose your favorite photo of each location you visited or a highlight photo from each day. Think about the story that you want to tell!
  • Celebration theme – This could be a wedding using all of the gorgeous wedding photos from the photographer (make sure you have permission to print them). Graduation Quilts are another big celebration that many capture in a quilt. If you have the honor of knowing a couple that has been married for 50 years, a quilt for this landmark achievement would be so treasured! Choose 12 photos for our beginner quilt. And please don’t let us forget to honor our veterans…THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

In this photo, the quilt designer took photos of this veterans metals, badges, and symbols for her Photo Quilt images.

  • Pet theme – Now, this one is my favorite. The pups that I have seen come across my printer and press are a precious many. EVERYONE loves a quilt with their best friend on it! Choose 12 photos if you are starting with our beginner quilt pattern.

Step 2: Choose your pattern or use the one below that we are giving you for this tutorial!

We are using a pattern that is perfect for a beginner quilter or just new to using Photo Quilt Blocks. Starting with a simple pattern for both will build your confidence in working with the Photo Quilt blocks and pairing them with cotton fabric and experiencing how well they pair in a quilt! (This quilt is a wall hanging that will end up to be about 26×36 inches in size. You can add borders around the edges if you want to make it larger!)

Step 3: How to Order Your Photo Quilt Blocks

Order your Fat Quarter of 5×5 blocks from Photo Quilt Blocks.

***Make sure that the image around the edges can be sewn into the seam allowances as we will be cutting them out at 5 inches for a finished size of 4 1/2.

Here is a video to walk you through the process:

How to order your Photo Quilt Blocks

Step 4: Purchase a 5″ Charm Pack of Fabric Squares in a Fabric That Matches Your Photos or Theme.

You will need to gather:

  • 5×5 Fabric Squares – I have chosen this size to make it super easy for all of us! If you are new to quilting, you can buy 5×5 Charm Packs that are precut to that size with 42 different fabrics (sometimes it is 2 each of 21 fabrics) for you to choose from. SUPER EASY!
  • If you have fabric at home that you would like to use, cut your fabric squares to 5×5 inches.
  • Here is a link to the charm pack that I am using in this example: Woodland & Wildflowers Charm Pack
  • You will need matching thread to your fabric.
  • You will need 7/8 yard of batting (45-60 inches wide).
  • You will need 7/8 yard of 45 inch wide fabric for the quilt backing.
  • You will need 1/3 yard fabric for your binding.

Step 5: Cut your Photo Quilt Blocks into 5″ Squares.

When your Photo Quilt Blocks arrive (they usually ship within 3 business days), cut them to be 5×5 inches in size. They will come with 1/4 inch seam allowances added to this but, we will be cutting those off.

The interfacing is already applied to your block so you are ready to cut and sew them when they arrive!

Step 6: Follow the Photo Example Below and Lay Out Your Quilt

Layout your 5×5 fabric squares and your Photo Quilt Blocks as shown below. Make sure you don’t have two of the same colors together. Spread the color out! I started with light color blocks at the top and worked my way down to dark color blocks at the bottom.

Step 7: Begin sewing your blocks together.

Begin sewing your blocks together as shown:

TIP: The reason we are pressing one row right and one row left is so when we join these rows together one seam allowance is going one way and the other is going the other way. This causes the seams to nest and your seams to line up much easier!

Now here is where the magic happens. When you pin your first two rows together, you will see that the seam allowances go in opposite directions. Pin at every seam intersection, placing the pin in the seam to line them up. Now when you sew, the seams will nest!

Step 7: Layer Your Quilt Topper, Batting, and Quilt Backing Together

This step is where you layer your quilt together to quilt it.

Step 1: Cut your backing fabric to be approximately 2 inches larger on every side of the topper. This should be about 30 inches x 39 inches. You can just lay out the entire 7/8 yard and trim it down later if you have the space to lay it out. Lay your backing fabric down first with the right side of the fabric down. Tip: if you have a large flat surface you can tape the fabric to the surface so it stays in place as you layer the next to layers on top of it.

Step 2: Cut your batting to the same size as your backing fabric. Approximately 30×39 inches. Lay out your batting on top of the quilt backing fabric. The batting does not have a right or wrong side.

Step 3: Lay your quilt topper on top of both these layers with the right side up.

Step 4: Now begin to pin the layers together. You can use quilting pins or invest in curved safety pins for quilting. You can find these on Amazon: Curved Safety Pins

Step 8: Quilt Your Layers Together.

There are several ways you can quilt your layers togther.

Method 1: Tie or take a tiny embroidery stitch at each square intersection.

Method 2: Stitch in the ditch. What this means is that you will stitch in the seam where the blocks are joined. You can do this by hand or by machine. If you use your machine, increase your stitch length to 3-3.5 on your machine otherwise your foot will drag and the stitches will be really tiny.

Once you have this done, trim all the edges to the edge of your quilt top. Make sure to use a ruler so that the edges are straight and the corners are square.

Step 9: Bind Your Photo Quilt

I have put together a complete blog post on this topic here:

How to bind your Photo Quilt

In the heartwarming journey of crafting your first photo memory quilt, you’ve transformed precious snapshots into a tangible tapestry of memories. As a beginner, you’ve navigated the creative process with courage and enthusiasm, selecting photos that weave a unique narrative. With each carefully stitched block, you’ve not only created a cozy quilt but also a cherished keepsake filled with the warmth of shared moments.

As your first photo quilt envelops you in a collage of memories, relish in the joy of both the creative process and the meaningful stories it now holds.

Happy quilting, and may your stitches continue to tell tales of love, laughter, and a journey well-crafted!


Lori McCroskey is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to quilts, projects, and gifts created with photos printed on fabric. She also has a business where you can have her print your photos on fabric for you! Inspired by her love for sewing, scrapbooking, and family, Lori has a passion for capturing memories in useable gifts, quilts, and crafts that get your photos off your phone, out of the album, freed from a frame, and into memorable keepsakes that your friends and family will treasure. Learn more about Lori here!

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