Art Ideas: Bargello Paper Quilting

Paper Bargello is a variation on a classic needlework technique. Paper Bargello uses paper strips which are glued in horizontal sets, then cut and arranged in vertical steps to produce interesting geometric designs that often give an wave-like effect. Bargello paper quilting is a great way to use up scrap strips of craft paper.

Lesson Plan Suggestion: By cutting pieces of paper into strips and assembling them into unique patterns, Bargello paper quilting helps students visualize the connection between pattern, visual rhythm and repetition. Students will learn the importance of color and color values in creating patterns. Students will also work on mastering fine motor skills by cutting, arranging and adhering strips of paper.

  1. Select papers that complement each other in color, design or texture and cut them into strips of about 3/4 inch. You will need three or four sheets of different patterned papers at least six inches long. Cut at least two strips from each pattern. A rotary paper trimmer works great for this. Use at least one contrasting paper to create a more interesting design.
  2. Lay the strips on an adhesive sheet or tape them from behind so that the long edges are touching. Now you will have a sheet of vertical stripes.
  3. Cut the strips horizontally across the stripes in various widths.
  4. Stagger the strips to form a pattern. For example, the color blocks can be arranged in a zigzag pattern, a wave, a pyramid design or rick rack pattern.
  5. Using glue or double sided tape, you can attach the strips in the pattern of your choice directly onto the card base to use as your card background. Or you can attach the strips to another sheet of thin paper to make a layer, possibly to be cut with a pattern or die cut for a shaped layer or background.

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