Black History Month Paper Craft: Gee’s Bend-Inspired Quilts

The Gee’s Bend quilts are works of art created by the Gee’s Bend quilters, African American women from a small town in Alabama of the same name. The people that live in Gee’s Bend are mostly descended from enslaved ancestors, and their quilts represent an important part of art history in the United States.  What makes these quilts so unique is the “my way” approach, that allows for each makers’ artistic voice. In this fun Black History Month paper craft your child will have so much fun choosing a colorful array of scrap paper to make these Gee’s Bend-inspired Paper Quilts.

Black History Month Paper Craft: Gee’s Bend-Inspired Quilts

For this project, we will make paper quilts inspired by the Gee’s Bend quilters. Each child can have fun creating a pattern of their very own, then you can hang, or even sew, them together for a brilliant display! I love craft projects based on Black history. This is also a great project for using up scrap paper.

For a little more art history trivia, the Gee’s Bend quilts have even been featured on a set of USPS stamps!USPS Stamps of Gee's Bend Quilts

Gee’s Bend-inspired Paper Quilts

For another beautiful Black History Month art project, check out this painting project inspired by Alma Thomas!

You Will Need These Materials for This Black History Month Paper Craft:

  • Base paper, which can be white or any other color
  • Strips of paper of varying sizes and from various sources. Here, I used fine art paper, old encyclopedia pages, and a page from an outdated calendar
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Paper Quilts Art Project Step by Step

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First, you will need to glue your beginning strips of paper. There are many possibilities and it’s almost impossible to get it wrong.

Black History Month Alabama Paper Quilt Craft


Next, children can choose a different paper and begin creating their pattern. In order to avoid lumpy corners, it is important to cut each strip to fit the space where it will be glued.

Although there is really no wrong way to do this, encourage children to try a paper that really helps give life to their quilt square. You can talk about how you can see pieces of old jeans and even sacks with writing on them. Each of those bits add something interesting!

Children should keep adding to their pattern until the whole piece is covered. Here, you can see that the white peaking through has become a part of the work. Also, you can talk about how the curves and other imperfections of the paper add to the beauty.

If you do not want any white paper remaining, this is a chance to make your quilt piece even more interesting! Encourage children to select a paper that is different from what they already have. Pictured is a paper quilt where a piece of an encyclopedia page that was cut into thin strips to fill in the white space.

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Paper Quilt Craft from Scrap Paper

For this piece, I decided that some bits of white looked great, but the addition of the paper with words did make it look more dynamic.

This is such a fun project and lesson! Since there is no wrong way to do it, children can feel confident in their end product. If you have a child who finishes quickly, rather than pushing to add more detail, give them another page to make another one. Let them enjoy the process, their style, and their pace! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Black History Month paper craft and learning more about the quilters of Gee’s Bend.

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