The Box Quilt Block - an Easy, Beginner-Friendly Quilt Block Tutorial

Posted by Elaine Huff on

Let's sew up this traditional Box Quilt block today. It is beginner-friendly and you could dig into your stash and/or scraps to make a beautiful quilt. This pattern is a little different than other Box Quilt blocks you can find online and is attributed to Nancy Page. Personally, I think the name "Boxed Star" would be a better description!

Using only squares and rectangles, the block goes together fast! Let's check it out!

box quilt block

Fabric Requirements for a 12" Finished Box Quilt Block:

  • Light/White: 4 - 3.5" squares, and 8 - 2" squares
  • Light Pink: 2 - 2" x 5" rectangles, and 2 - 2" x 6.5" rectangles
  • Light Blue: 2 - 2" x 3.5" rectangles, and 2 - 2" x 5" rectangles
  • Dark Pink: 2 - 2" x 5" rectangles, and 2 - 2" x 6.5" rectangles
  • Dark Blue: 2 - 2" x 3.5" rectangles, and 2 - 2" x 5" rectangles

box quilt fabric requirements

Sewing Directions:

Square Units:

Step 1:

Sew a Light Blue 2" x 3.5" rectangle to one side of a White 3.5" square and press the seam allowance toward the Light Blue rectangle as shown in the picture below.

box quilt 1

Step 2:

Now you can sew a Light Blue 2" x 5" rectangle to the Step 1 unit and press the seam allowance toward the Light Blue rectangle as shown below. Repeat for a total of two units.

box quilt 2

Step 3:

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 only using the Dark Blue rectangles in place of the Light Blue rectangles as shown below.

box quilt 3

Step 4:

Here's a picture of all four of the Square units.

box quilt 4

Snowball Rectangle Units:

Step 5:

"Snowball" the upper left corner of a Dark Pink 5" rectangle as shown in the pictures below. 

Here are the first steps:

  • Mark a diagonal line on the back of a White 2" square.
  • Sew the White square to the Dark Pink rectangle along the marked line. Note the orientation of the marked line.
  • Match up the corners of the White square and press.

box quilt 5

Step 6:

Here are the last steps:

  • Trim away the excess seam allowance.
  • Refold to complete the unit.
  • Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for a total of two units.

box quilt 6

Step 7:

Repeat Steps 5 through 7 only using the Dark Pink 2" x 6.5" rectangles. Also note that the direction of the marked line has changed!

box quilt 7

Step 8:

Here's a picture of all four of the Snowball Rectangle units.

box quilt 8

Step 9:

Repeat Steps 5 through 8 only substitute the Light Pink rectangles for the Dark Pink ones.

box quilt 9

Corner Units:

Step 10:

Sew a Step 6 Snowball Rectangle unit to a Step 2 Square unit as shown in the picture below. Press the seam allowance toward the Step 6 unit.

box quilt 10

Step 11:

Sew a Step 7 Snowball Rectangle unit to the Step 10 unit you just made and press the seam allowance toward the Snowball Rectangle unit as shown below. Repeat for a total of two of these units.

box quilt 11

Step 12:

Repeat Steps 10 and 11 only using the Step 3 Dark Blue Square units and the Step 9 Light Pink Snowball Rectangle units as shown in the picture below.

box quilt 12

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Putting It All Together:

Step 13:

Lay out all the Corner units as shown in the picture below. From here the block goes together like a basic Four Patch block.

box quilt 13

Step 14:

Sew the units into two rows. Matching up the diagonal seams is the hardest part of this block. Just take your time.

box quilt 14

Step 15:

Press the seam allowances in opposite directions so that the seams will nest nicely in the next step.

box quilt 15

Step 16:

Sew the two rows together to complete the block.

box quilt 16

Step 17:

Press the seam allowance. You can see in the picture below that I used the tweak/twirl/furl method for pressing but you can press however you wish.

box quilt 17

Layout Ideas:

Here's the basic 4 x 4 layout:

quilt 1

This example has sashing and cornerstones added.

quilt 2

In this scrappy version, I used lights for all the Square units, and darks for the Snowball units, plus I used black for the background color.

quilt 3

Here's what a two-color (with a background) would look like.

quilt 4

This one would be nice for a patriotic quilt!

quilt 5

Here's a two-color alternating with a plain block of the lighter fabric. 

quilt 6

And this is an example of an on-point layout with plain background setting triangles.

quilt 7

And this is a scrappy on-point layout with dark sashing and white cornerstones and setting triangles. This is my favorite!

quilt 8


The Box Quilt block was easy and fast to sew together. I also think it would make a great scrappy quilt. However, I think the star design would get lost when multiple blocks are sewn together unless you add sashing and cornerstones.

I did come up with a slight modification of the block that I think works better. Be on the lookout for that tutorial in the near future!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you like it and want to see more, just click HERE to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free PDF quilt pattern called "Chained Weathervane".

Happy Quilting!


P.S. Looking for some more beginner-friendly blocks? Take a look at these blocks:

P.P.S. Other 12" blocks can be found here:

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