Applique Tutorial: Make Easy Appliques

This easy applique tutorial was originally part of my Team Spirit quilt pattern.  Now I share it as a separate FREE tutorial for anyone to use.  Create your own applique patterns of any size! As far as I know, it’s fine to create a pattern/project from any image you like.  Just don’t try to sell it, as licensing fees might kick in.

My applique tutorial will help you create an applique pattern using a picture or graphic you find online. Use just about ANY picture or graphic.  Follow the detailed but very basic process with lots of visuals.  Are you familiar with  Adobe Illustrator or PhotoShop? You can save yourself several steps and quite a bit of time.  This tutorial is designed for those who don’t have any experience with those software programs.

Do you have a hard copy of your chosen design printed up? You may be able to skip the beginning steps of this process. Take it to a local printer that can blow it up to the correct dimensions and print it out for you.  If you choose to do this, pick up the applique tutorial at Step 13, on page 29.

Here are a few suggestions/guidelines before we get started:

  • Find the simplest version of the picture or graphic you want to use, with the fewest colors and details.
  • Be prepared to further simplify as you go through the process to make the final steps easier on yourself!
  • I decided to follow a visual route when walking you the process.  Screen shots and photos are accompanied by brief descriptions.
  • I’m using Windows Live Photo Gallery and Paint to create this pattern.
  • Please send me an email at [email protected] if you have any questions or need any help!

Applique Tutorial

Step 1

Find a picture or graphic online that works for you.  Right click with mouse or mouse pad and select Save Image As…to save it.  Be sure to name it and save it in a file where you can easily find it!

Step 1

Step 2

Double-click on the image you’ve saved to open in Photo Gallery.  If you are using a JPG file, you can open it directly in Paint and skip to Step 5.  My image is a PNG file, so I have to use Photo Gallery first.

step 2
Step 2

Step 3

Click on Edit, organize or share to open your image for editing.  If this action opens a window with multiple images, simply double click on your image to complete the process.

Step 4

Click on Make a copy to save your file in JPG format.  As far as I know, you cannot work with a PNG file in Paint.

Step 4

Step 5

Locate the JPG image file and double click on the image.  When you come to the Edit, organize or share screen, go to File and select Open with and Paint.

Step 6

With your image open in Paint, click in the upper left corner and select Properties.

Step 7

Change the Units selection to Inches and select OK

Step 8

Now comes the fun!  If you use Illustrator or PhotoShop, you know that changing dimensions is quick and easy.  With Paint, we have to resize the image by percentages, and no more than 500% at a time.  The dimensions (at the bottom of the screen) start at 3.02″ x 2.64″.  For demonstration purposes, we will say that the quilt panel we are working with measures 35.75″w x 24″h, so we need to get closer to that!

Step 9

Select Resize at the top of your screen…

…and enter 500 in the Horizontal and Vertical resize boxes.  Make sure you have Percentage selected.  Select OK

You can see how much bigger the image is now!  Check the dimensions at the bottom of the screen…15.11″ x 13.19″.  Better, but we’re not there yet.  You may need to resize several times to get the size you need.  For this quilt’s center panel, I found that a first resize of 500% and second resize of 165% seemed to do the trick…

…24.92″ x 21.77″ – I think we are good to go!  At this point, you can save your file as a JPG and take it or send it to a print shop to have it printed up actual size, then skip to Step 13 for tracing and fine-tuning.  If you prefer to print it up yourself on your home printer, follow along…

Now it’s time to print.  Don’t worry about perfection at this point!  We still have to print the image up actual size, put it together and retrace it.  It’s much easier to fine tune in later steps.

Step 10

Go back to the upper left of the screen and select Print and Print Preview.

Step 11

Review your Page Setup selections to be sure you get the best results…

…Set your margins at .25″ on all sides, and make sure Scaling is set at Adjust to:  100% normal size.  Select OK.

Follow along with the next several screen shots to ensure your printer is set up properly and print your image.

If you’ve used your home printer, you probably have several pages.  Now it’s time to put your puzzle together!

Step 12

Lay your printed pages on a table and put them in the correct order.  Tape them together, trimming off edges as needed.

applique tutorial step 12

Step 13

Trace your design onto plain white paper.  Create a black and white outline by eliminating any unnecessary details.  This will make your fabric appliqué process much easier!

  • Use a light box for smoother tracing.  If you don’t have a light box, you can tape your image to a large window.  Tape the pattern paper over it to trace.  Daylight works really well!!
  • Rolls of pattern paper (plain white paper) are available from most office and art supply stores.  You may still need to piece it a little, but you won’t have multiple pieces of printer paper to deal with.

Once you have finished tracing your image, you can retrace it using a fine tip black marker – but that’s optional.  You might also want to make a second tracing to have a back-up copy on hand.

Step 14

Cut out your appliqué pieces.  Lay them out and measure to determine fabric requirements.

I hope you find this applique tutorial helpful.  Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement!

2 thoughts on “Applique Tutorial: Make Easy Appliques

  1. Lisa Milburn

    What font did you use for the Ohio State Block? I am trying to use your design but the University is Boise State.

    Thank you


    1. Janice Holden

      Hi Lisa – thanks for the question! I used “Imprint MT Shadow” for the Ohio State Panel, but I think “Kirsty” might be a better choice for your Boise State quilt. The A is a little different, but the rest of the letters are pretty good. Boise State’s official fonts are Garamond and Gotham, but it doesn’t look like they use them in their logos. Hope this helps!

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