Floorquilts! Class Plan

by Ellen Highsmith Silver

Floorquilt Fundamentals
Handkerchief Corners Floorquilt 36" x 24"

Why should beds and walls get all the quilts? The easy, NO SEW techniques in Floorquilts! give you a whole new way to create quilt designs with your favorite fabrics. So overlook the floor no more!

Class description:
This class introduces your students to a simple fabric decoupage treatment that gives them all the advantages of working with paper: no sewing, no stretching, no raw edges to deal with. Suddenly it's simple to create complicated appliqué and pieced designs! The process allows for all the experimenting you may want to do until you're satisfied with your final Floorquilt. All mistakes or mis-cuts are fixable. Best of all, you don't need a seam ripper to make a Floorquilt. After your students take this "training wheels" class, they'll say, "Why didn't I think of that?" Then they'll head to the fabric shelves to buy more fabric for their next Floorquilt.

What each student will get:
Each student will make a 36" X 24" Floorquilt that is functional, durable and beautiful.

Approximate class time:
The class outlined here is a demonstration class. Actual instruction is divided into 2 two-hour sessions with homework.

Class kits:
Making Floorquilts and other related projects requires several products that are not normally carried in quilt shops or readily available in many areas. I always provide these items as part of my classes to assure that all students will have the correct materials. I've learned through experience that substitutions can lead to disappointing results.

Project supplies:


  • Required text: Floorquilts! by Ellen Highsmith Silver
    See Sources on page 78 for specific product recommendations.
  • Fabrics — 100% cotton:
    • At least ten fat quarters 18" x 22" and 1/2 yd. for borders
    • Choose fabrics that coordinate with the color scheme of the room where you'll use the Floorquilt
  • Scissors (don't use your good fabric scissors!)
  • Pencil
  • 2 plastic drop cloths, or a large garbage bag cut in half
  • 2 pressing cloths, both large enough to cover your ironing board
  • Steam iron
  • Transparent template plastic, at least 9" x 12"
  • 2"-3" inexpensive paint brush
  • *Clear paste wax
  • *Canvas, extra heavy weight, primed on one side, 38" x 26"
  • *Gesso, 8 oz.
  • *Decoupage medium, 32 oz.
  • *Clear satin acrylic finish, 8oz.
  • *Non-skid treatment, 1 tablespoon
  • *Non-skid backing, 8oz.
  • 3 sponge brushes, 2"-3" wide

In addition to the required supplies for students, you will need:

  • One completed Handkerchief Corners Floorquilt without non-skid backing (pages 17-19)
  • Fat quarter of untreated fabric
  • Fat quarter and several different-sized squares of treated fabric (pages 8-9)
  • Fat quarter of untreated fabric with light ground
  • Fat quarter of bleached or unbleached muslin (page 8)
  • Decoupage solution (page 8)
  • Square transparent Mylar templates (6", 5", 4", 3")
  • Paper clips
  • Masking tape
  • To demonstrate border applications, create 3 rectangles of primed canvas (18" x 12" is a good size) with borders marked and the central design areas covered with treated fabric applied within the borders, to simulate a completed central design area. For demonstrations, you can substitute treated and primed muslin pieces for canvas.
  • Six 3"-wide strips of treated fabric, the same length as your demonstration rectangle's long sides
  • Three 3"-wide strips of treated fabric, the length of your demonstration rectangle's short sides plus 2"
  • Several completed handkerchief corners blocks
  • 18" x 12" rectangle of primed canvas or treated and primed muslin. Cover one side with one treated fabric divided into 3 equal 6" x 12" sections.
  • Small bucket of soapy water and a towel for washing hands.

Advance preparations:
Because this is a new craft technique, I strongly recommend that you make at least one Floorquilt before teaching students. You should become familiar with the Floorquilt Fundamentals chapter of Floorquilts!, pages 7-15. If anything is unclear, please contact me at ellenhsilver@yahoo.com or 914-967-6986 or 914-625-7422.

Making a sample in advance and displaying it in your store will also encourage signups for the class.

During the class:

Making Floorquilts is a no-sew craft – fabrics are decoupaged onto canvas and treated and sealed for durability and safety. Be aware that decoupage can be pretty messy and drying time is necessary between most of the steps. Patience is the most valuable "talent" required in Floorquilt-making. It's easy, but not necessarily fast.

  1. Identify the basic tools and materials (page 7). I strongly suggest that other products not be substituted for the ones recommended on page 78. My recommendations have been tested by teachers and students with highly satisfying results. Similar products do not always perform as well.
  2. Discuss the Handkerchief Corners design (page 17) and Floorquilt fundamentals, pages 6-15.
  3. Demonstrate how to prepare fabrics (pages 8-9) and canvas (page 10).

Homework: have students prepare fabrics and canvas, make templates, and cut fabric pieces for their Floorquilts (pages 17-18).


Demonstrate how to assemble a quilt block and explore other design options using graduated squares.

Demonstrate how to mark borders and apply them, steps 1-7 (pages 11-12).

Discuss border variations (page 13).

Demonstrate how to apply protective coatings and backing (pages 14-15). (Use the prepared and sectioned 12" x 18" rectangle mentioned in Advance Preparations to demonstrate the 3 coatings.)

Demonstrate how to apply backing (page 15). Use the back of your sample Floorquilt to demonstrate this step.

Discuss storing treated fabrics (page 7), storing and shipping completed Floorquilts (page 6), and making small gift items. Refer students to the Off the Floorquilts chapter on pages 61-70.

Once you've made one Floorquilt, you can make any of the 12 projects in the book. No matter which project you choose to work on, the tips and illustrations in the book provide useful information. Interspersed among the projects are many pages of "inspirations" that are also easy to make. After mastering the very simple preparations and coatings basics, just add your own inspiration...the floor's the limit!