40+ Projects to Make With Orphan Quilt Blocks

Those who have done any quilting are bound to have some orphan quilt blocks lying around the sewing room.

Orphan quilt blocks are individual and completed quilt blocks that for various reasons never made it into a finished quilt project.

These extra blocks can accumulate over time, especially for quilters who enjoy experimenting with new patterns or those who often make sample blocks before they begin a quilt.

Reasons for Orphan Quilt Blocks

As mentioned, some quilters make sample or test blocks to practice a new technique or pattern they want to try. This leads to extra blocks made with no place to go.

Sometimes, a quilter may make a change in a project. Perhaps a design or color scheme evolves during a quilting project. This can lead to some blocks being unused.

Most quilters at some time have run into fabric shortages. If a specific fabric that is used in a quilt becomes unavailable and is needed to complete the quilt, some blocks might no longer fit.

Quilters are generous folks who enjoy gifting or swapping unused quilt blocks. However, when blocks are exchanged with friends or gifted, this often leads to a collection of orphan blocks.

Some orphan blocks are those that may have mistakes in them. They might have minor errors or a pattern piece out of place and the quilter doesn’t want the flawed block in the quilt.

What can I make with orphan blocks?

This page contains many projects and quilt project patterns that use orphan blocks as the foundation.

Some easy projects that can be made with orphan quilt blocks:

  • Quilted pillows or cushions
  • Table runners or placemats
  • Scrappy quilts
  • Mug rugs
  • Fabric postcards
  • Wall hanging
  • Tote bags
  • Sweatshirts
  • Pincushions
  • And more!

The orphan block projects below are fun ideas and so very creative. Don’t miss the cute chicken pincushions from Quilting Cubby. They are absolutely adorable and are an easy orphan block project.

I was also impressed with the project idea of using a favorite block as the foundation of Christmas stockings! That would be just beautiful to hang on the mantel at Christmas time. This idea is from Patchwork Posse.

For more ideas for making quilts, see our quilt patterns and projects page.

Scroll down to see the wonderfully creative projects to make with the orphan blocks that are cluttering up the sewing room!

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Book Sleeve

Quilters also have lots of orphan blocks, UFO’s and leftover quilt blocks, free-motion-quilting practice pieces, all of which are ideal for upcycling into book sleeves with this free tutorial. Juki Club

Camp Chair Tote Bag

This is an extremely simple pattern with raw edges and an orphan block for a pocket. Patchwork Posse

Checked Pillow Cover

Put extra blocks from other quilt projects to use with this simple checkered pillow pattern cover tutorial. The Sewing Loft

Chicken Pin Cushion

Fun little chicken pin cushions can be made totally with leftover orphan blocks using this tutorial. Quilting Cubby

Christmas Stockings

With this article's inspiration, dig around in your orphan quilt block drawer to find a few blocks that would be perfect for the layout of a stocking. Patchwork Posse

Clothes Line Quilt

Here is a wonderful idea for using orphan blocks. Get inspired. Quilting In The Bunk House



These quilt block coasters are a great way to use orphan quilt blocks you might already have lying around! Diary of a Quilter

Envelope Gift Bag

This envelope gift bag tutorial uses two orphan blocks of the same size. Lillian's Cupboard

Fabric Postcard Tutorial

Fabric Postcard Tutorial

Fabric postcards are a great way to use up scrap fabric, orphan blocks, and embellishments. With this tutorial, learn how to make fabric postcards. Associates

Frankenbag Tutorial

For this bag lots of scrap fabrics and you can even incorporate an orphan block to make this bag. Agile Jack

Funky Sunglass Case

One single block (12" quilted square) and a zipper is all that is needed to sew a sunglass case. The Sewing Loft

Japanese style zipper pouch

Japanese style zipper pouch

This tutorial used an orphan block to make a zipper pouch. Sew Can She

Kennel Quilt PDF

With these instructions, you can make an Orphan Block Kennel Quilt that is designed to fit perfectly into a small kennel. Kennel Quilts


With two orphan blocks, you can make a fabric lanyard. Art Quiltmaker

Notebook Cover

This notebook cover would be a great way to use up pieced blocks, orphan blocks, and scrap fabric. Bobbin In Quilts

Orphan Block Baby Quilt Tutorial

Here are instructions on putting the quilt together using a large orphan block. Michaelle Bartholomew

Orphan Block Mini Quilt

If you have any single orphan blocks floating around your home, this is a simple and quick way to finish them off. We All Sew

Orphan Block Placemats

This article explains 5 different ways to sew these leftover blocks into place mats depending on the size of the unfinished object. Quilt Social

Orphan Block Quilt

This article explains an orphan block quilt and how you can make one. The Quilt Rambler

Orphan Block Quilts

On this page, the Golden Bobbins group shows quilt tops made with a lot of orphan blocks along with extra fabric. Get inspiration for how to use your orphan blocks. Jo Avery

Orphan Block Tote Bags

Here is an idea for sewing an orphan block onto a plain fabric store-bought bag. Zippy Quilts

Orphan Or Leftover Blocks

You can stitch the orphan blocks or leftover blocks into the backing of the quilt. Mama Love Quilts

Pillow Cover

Pillow Cover

Do you have extra quilt blocks? Orphan quilt blocks make amazing pillows. Learn how to make a pillow with a quilt block here. Sew Can She

Pin Cushion

Small projects such as pin cushions are a great way to use up orphan blocks. Here is a free pin cushion tutorial. Kohatu Patterns


With these super simple instructions, take an unused orphan patchwork quilt block and make it into a simple pincushion! Simple Simon & Company

Placemat and Napkins

This placemat and napkin instructions are perfect for using up scraps, orphan blocks, and fat quarters to make something beautiful and do a bit of stash busting all at once! String & Story

Pot Holder

Pot Holder

Learn how to make quick and easy pot holders with a leftover panel or 7 - 8 inch square piece of fabric. This free potholder pattern can be completed from start to finish in less than an hour.



With this tutorial, you can use your leftover or orphan (aka UFO) quilt blocks to make cute potholders! Sew Can She

Quilt Block Tote Bag

With these easy instructions turn an orphan block into a tote bag. Quilting Digest

Quilt Coat From Orphan Blocks

Carolina from Always Expects Moore details all the quilt coat making details so that you can use them for reference if you want to make a Quilt Coat from orphan blocks. Always Expect Moore

Quilted Clutch

This quilted clutch would look great featuring any of your orphan quilt blocks, Shannon Fraser Designs

Quilted Tote Bag

Totes are a quick and fun project to put any mini quilts or orphan quilt blocks you have to use. Here are free instructions for making a bag with these leftover blocks. Abby Maed

Quilter Book Cover

This is a really easy project that is great for using up those small scraps or even orphan blocks. On The Trail Creations

Reusable Snack Bag

One quilt block measuring at least 8? X 12? can be used to make this bag to hold snacks and other treats handy. Patchwork Posse

Sample Quilt with Orphan Blocks

The basic purpose of a quilt like this is to help you avoid accumulating leftover quilt blocks and instead end up with a scrappy sampler quilt. Alanda Craft

Scissor Holder

Sew up a cute scissor holder using an orphan quilt block. The closure tab will keep your scissors from slipping out and secure. Patchwork Posse

Shopping Bag

Here is a tutorial for making a reusable bag using an orphan quilt block. Quilt Social

Summer Tote from Orphan Blocks

Consider making a fun and easy tote bag with some orphan blocks. Sophie Junction

Table Runner

Sewing a table runner can be super quick if you use old orphan quilt blocks. This tutorial Patchwork Posse

Wearable Fashion

Wearable Fashion

Orphan blocks can be used in fashion! This tutorial is a great ideas for using an orphan – or unused – quilt block to personalize a clothing item you might already have on hand. Diary of a Quilter

Zipper Change Pouch

A little zipper pouch is a perfect place for kids to keep coins! This coin pouch is sewn with an orphan block. Patchwork Posse

Zipper Pouch

A zipper pouch is one of the quickest ways to get those orphan quilt blocks used up! Patchwork Posse

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