Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

Scrapbuster ~ Potholder Tutorial


My box of fabric scraps is getting to be a bit out of control. Today I decided to actually put those little pieces of leftover fabric to use and make some potholders. And if you have never made potholders before, now is your chance! Below are the directions, and just because I like ya, a template of the pattern I used to make mine.

These potholders measure 7″ x 7″ which is a good size for my hands. But if you prefer yours larger, simply enlarge the templates that you will print in Step 1.

Potholders Step 1

1) 11 strips of fabric
2) Insul~Bright Insulating Material. Mine was found in the interfacing section at JoAnns, sold by the yard. You will need two 8″ squares.
3) 8.5″ square fabric for backing
4) Bias tape for binding and optional hanging tag. If you want to make your own bias tape, cut out two 2″ x 32″ pieces. If you make your own hanging tags, cut out two additional 2″ x 4″ pieces.
5) Scissors
6) Printer and tape for pattern

Optional Supplies:
1) 505 Spray Adhesive or safety pins for making quilt sandwich
2) Quilting ruler
3) Rotary cutter
4) Self healing mat
5) Water soluble marker for marking quilting lines

Step 1:
Print the following PDF templates. There are 2 pages for each potholder. Tape together. Then cut out the pieces.

Block Patterns

Potholder 1, Page 1 Potholder 2, Page 1
Potholder 1, Page 2 Potholder 2, Page 2

Step 2:
Select a piece of fabric for each pattern piece. Cut out fabric. I used a rotary cutter and my quilting ruler, but you can also just trace the pattern pieces with a pencil or water soluable marker and cut out with scissors.

Potholders Step 2

Potholders Step 3

Step 3:
Sew the pieces together using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t worry that the sides of your final square don’t all line up. We will be trimming these down when we square the blocks next step.

Step 4:
Square your finished blocks to 7″ squares.

Potholders Step 4

Step 5:
Make your quilt sandwich with the backing fabric and the Insul~Bright. For smaller projects like this, I use 505 Spray Adhesive. You can also use the pinning method. If you have never made a quilt sandwich before, there are lots of tutorials online. Check out Oh, Fransson, she has great quilting basics directions.

Potholders Step 5

Step 6:
Quilt your potholders. Be creative! I did random straight lines with a stitch length of 3 for a modern look. I quilted these on the fly, but optionally you could mark your lines using a water soluble marker. Simply use a water bottle to spray the fabric afterwards and the lines will disappear.

Trim of the excess Insul~Bright and backing.

Potholders Step 6

Step 7:
Create your bias tape and add the binding. Again, I won’t go over basics here but Oh, Fransson has great directions.

Potholders Step 7

If you decided to add a hanger, sew it to the edge under the binding. I used some of my quilt tags made from twill tape but you can use coordinating fabric, designer fabric selvage, ribbon…

Potholders Back

Step 8:
Stand back and admire your new kitchen accessories! Or, if you are my 3 year old daughter, your new “baby doll beds”. :)

Finished Product

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40 Responses to “Scrapbuster ~ Potholder Tutorial”

  1. 1

    I do something very similar… I square up waste 8.5×11 paper and then use that as a foundation for a string block and then use those blocks on each side of my potholders. Good to share!

  2. 2
    Natalie says:

    These are adorable! This makes me want to look through all my scraps right now. Thanks so much for posting a tutorial! I also love the way the quilting looks on the back of each one– these are great!

  3. 3
    Sarah says:

    Very inspirational — like the rest of your blog. I LOVE finding bloggers who share my taste, and who manage to be more productive than I can be.

  4. 4
    Kara says:

    Thank you for this tutorial! Love the scrapbuster idea. I’m thinking these potholders could be something I could make a bunch of to lower my scraps and also have some fairly easy handmade gifts on hand when Xmas comes around! Thx again!

  5. 5
  6. 6
    davenycity says:

    great blog thank you

  7. 7
    Lori says:

    You have such a lovely blog. I just found you. All the beautiful colors. I had to laugh at few of your posts, like your color your own fabric one- everyone needs a weird neighbor. I think that is me too.

  8. 8
    Loree Ellis says:

    I love the potholders. Can’t wait to start digging through my scraps. What a fun way to make gifts for friends.

  9. 9
    KayT says:

    Great gift idea! Coordinate them with another kitchen items. I like to make casserole carriers or table runners.

  10. 10
    samantha says:

    Your potholders are very nicely done. I made a lot of them one summer and gave them away, now after seeing your blog, I will make more for myself.

  11. 11
    Barbaralee says:

    Just recently found your www site and love it. What a great source for wonderful small and creative gifts. Christmas is looking better and better and less stressful already. Thanks so much.

  12. 12
    Ceil V O says:

    Quick and Easy. Thanks for the idea. Ceil

  13. 13
    Mary H. says:

    I make similiar potholders using strips of fabric sewn onto cotton flannel (recyled from old flannel sheets or gowns). I use a round template to cut floral fabric for the backing. I find making round potholders are easier to put the binding on and very functional to use, as there aren’t any corners to touch burners.

  14. 14
    Susan S says:

    Love it bright and colorful; thank you for a great tutorial.

  15. 16
    Gracie says:

    Thank you for the great idea. I’ve been looking for a sewing project to work on with my granddaughters. They are staying with me for (4) days and maybe we can make a few for Christmas presents (for their mommy).

  16. 17
    Mary H. says:

    When my son was very young I had him paint with tube paints on fabric for one side and then I put the strip quilting on the other side. We made them real colorful. His Grandmothers really loved them.

  17. 18
    Lyn says:

    I made some potholders similar to these for gifts last December. What I did differently was to sew through all layers with each added piece so that the thing was completely quilted once assembled. Then I bound them! Viola! Great idea to bust the stash of little “loved” pieces that you just can’t part with but that are too small for bigger projects.

  18. 19
    Pamela says:

    Thank you…Got so excited, I have potholders for all daughters, daughter-in-laws, mother-in-law, sister and sister-in-laws birthday presents done!!!! Wow thank you for such a good idea and fun project!!!

  19. 20
    Terri says:

    Great gift ideas! Love the ideas.

  20. 21
    Rachel says:

    Don’t know how to dowload a pdf file. Where do I go to get the for this potholder.

    • 26
      Barbie says:

      Hi Rachel
      Go to instructions STEP 1
      Below picture is says
      Potholder 1 Page 1 Potholder 2 Page 1
      Potholder 1 Page 2 Potholder 2 Page 2

      Click on each item (all 4) one at a time & template will come up on separate screen print each page

      Hope this makes sense Good Luck

      Barbie Australia

  21. 23
    Ann Bentley says:

    What a great idea! My sewing machine is in for a service! I am crying my eyes out – I can’t start right now!

  22. 24
    Ann Bentley says:

    Got my machine back and went to my favourite fabric store, only to be told that they had no insulated batting. It is on order, but no idea when it will be available. Went on the ‘net to try to find alternative supplies, everyone in Australia is sold out! HELP…..

  23. 28
    Margie Ellis says:

    I made similar pot holders before the invention of insulbrite. I used worn out terry cloth towels for insulation and old jeans denim for the backs of pot holders. I, too, made them oval for ease of binding and avoiding flaming corners. I sometimes made simple appliques instead of pieced tops to match other items like place mats. It was nice to see a new spin on a great old idea.

  24. 29
    Lyn says:

    I wanted to make lighthouse pot holders to match the kitchen curtains so found some material and bought 1/4 yd. I used up old facecloths inside because I didn’t have any of that insulating fabric. They are really cute and hang using little plastic circles sewed at a corner. Thanks for your inspiration.

  25. 30
    Anna says:

    No sewing machine. Any ideas of how to make simple pot holders without machine??

    • 33
      joy says:

      Anna: I have made “whole cloth” (no strips or pieces, just 8″ squares) potholders by hand. Simply put them together, sew the binding by hand…stitching through all layers at the same time. Then you can “tie” or do individual knots to bind the interiors…or you can use a running quilting-type stitch to hold it all together.

  26. 31
    Kary says:

    Just found your website. I have a question. Does just one square of insul-bright per potholder really work? It seems too thin. Thanks

    • 32
      Faith says:

      Hi Kary – thanks for visiting! I’ve used one and been fine taking things out of the oven with it, but I know other people who prefer 2 or even 3 layers. I think everyone is tolerant to different amounts of heat.

  27. 34
    Cindy says:

    I love these potholders! The colors are gorgeous and it looks fun and easy to make. Thanks!

  28. 35
    Jane says:

    Perfect idea for those elementary schools that have Santa’s Workshops and the kids are asked to donate as many as 10 items. When families are financially struggling this is a great way to show our youth support without putting too much additional burden on the families. And what parent/grandparent wouldn’t appreciate receiving a beautiful potholder from their child??!!

  29. 36
    Jane says:

    Perfect idea for those elementary schools that have Santa’s Workshops and the kids are asked to donate as many as 10 items. When families are financially struggling this is a great way to show our youth support without too much additional burden. And what parent/grandparent wouldn’t appreciate receiving a beautiful potholder from their child??!!

  30. 37
    Diane knight says:

    Another way to attach strips onto you insult right is to flip and sew.
    I put down a centre piece and then add strips to each side ?RS together sew 1/4 ” seam turn strip over add another and so on when you are finished there is no quilting needed just binding
    What are mug rugs?

    • 38
      Theresa Bradley says:

      Mug rugs are big coasters for you to set your coffee mug and perhaps your toast on.
      Love these pot holders. Thanks

  31. 39
    Liz McCormick says:

    I love these. I made lots for gifts last Christmas using Christmas fabric scraps. What a hit they were! I used 8″ blocks because i wanted them to be plenty big enough to show off the pretty fabrics. One side was sewed with fabric on the diagonal and the other side was sewed at an angle. Some of them I did not bind nor put loops on. I simply made two separate pieces which I sewed with right sides together, leaving a place open for turning. After I turned it, I top stitched the two pieces together. A lot less work, still looks good and is very useful.

  32. 40
    Libby says:

    For insulation in” making anything” to protect from “HEAT” ,
    go to a Goodwill Store ,and buy a “WOOL” jacket , or Men’s pants .
    The Wool is the best for insulating anything.
    Even putting on your Ironingboard , instead buying a “Pad”. A regular Cover over the “Wool”, and it last for Years! Improves “ironing” too!
    Much cheaper than regular cotton insulation ,you buy in Fabric stores .
    A whole lot cheaper too.

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