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Fashion a Paper Quilt Memory Tray for Thanksgiving

Fashion a Paper Quilt Memory Tray for Thanksgiving main article image
Posted on November 5, 2021 by Jan Hunter

Thanksgiving is generally a time for gathering and reflecting on and making new family memories.  Begin new memories with this project, a few words you often use during the day, and a fun acorn charm celebrating wisdom, strength, perseverance along with the other words you select for the signature space in your quilt block.

For this project you’ll need:

You’ll also need:

  • Memory Tray (if you don’t have one in your stash, you can create something similar using this scalable rectangle frame file
  • AC 12 x 12 cardstock
  • Electronic cutting machine and associated software (Skycut, SCAL5 Pro, embossing tool)
  • Thin metal cutting sheet 4 x 12 with adhesive backing
  • Dovetail quilt pattern (used as a reference for the quilt pattern used in this project). You can also check out Creative Fabricas quilt patterns for further inspiration!
  • Adhesive
  • Printer
  • Micron pen (.01)  optional

IMPORTANT:  Measure the dimensions of the area that will hold your image – the dimensions for each of the areas in the tray used is 5.875 x 3.875.  If you’re using the scalable card shadow box frame, measure the inside dimensions of the assembled frame BEFORE cutting the quilt blocks to accurately size the block.


Select the seamless patterns you want to use from the file. For this project, all ten of the patterns were used.

Open the SCAL software.  Place a square from the Library on the mat.  Size to the largest dimension of the area in your frame.  A 5.875 square was created.  Add three more squares to the mat.  Arrange the squares without overlapping.  Fill each square using the Pattern fill option in the Styles palette.  Select Print Setup in the File menu.  Select 12 x 12 Borderless.  Make sure that the default settings of the printer are set to the same if required by the printer you are using.  Select Print and print from the software – do not use the Print 2 cut command for this step.  Set the printed pages aside.

Referring to the quilt pattern you’ve chosen, using basic shapes, create the pattern pieces for the quilt block. The dimensions of the finished block should fit within the framed area.  You can use the suggested quilt block or create something of your own.  The center piece of the pattern will not be cut at this time.  Set it aside or copy and paste that piece to another page.  Copy and paste the remaining pattern pieces in the areas where your printed squares are on the paper.

Cut a set of blocks from each of the printed squares.  You will have some leftover strips that could be used for some other scrappy projects.

Cut 6 pieces of paper that will serve as your block foundation:  5.875 x 3.875.

Select the center piece of the block pattern, you’ll print the word on this piece using a font of your choice.  The font used in this project was perfect for the scrappy look of the quilt.

The words used for this project are:

gather                         family                          love

thankful                      grateful                       blessed

Set all the words to Print to cut Print.  Check the preview to make sure that the only thing that will cut is the foundation piece of the quilt pattern.

You will also make a copy of each word and using ungroup, move the letters to separate them either into separate colors or to be colored with markers or ink.  Once all your words are centered on the piece, and all the remaining words are on a separate part of your mat; hide the copied letters.  You will be using the Print 2 cut option for the 6 words used in the blocks.  Make sure that the letters on the block are set to PRINT, not to cut.  If you prefer, you can select DRAW, and using a pen or the foil quill, draw the letters.  The remaining letters can remain on the mat and will cut when you’re ready to cut.  Color and place the letters on the center block.  For additional dimension some narrow strips of foam tape could be used.  It is not for this project.

Once all the cutting for the “quilt” has been completed and your coloring is also finished, it’s time to assemble the blocks.

Place the cut pieces as desired and adhere to the foundation piece you previously cut.  The sample above shows pieces placed, but not adhered to. If you’d like a little more detail, add some stitching lines along the “seam” lines.  None were used in the final version of this project.

If you are creating your own frame, you’ll need to cut and assemble the frames.  AGAIN:  Be sure to measure the inside area for the measurement of your quilt block.  Secure the frames together using redline tape to create your memory tray.

Accent pieces

Embossed acorn heart charm

An acorn was selected for this project.  The image was sized down and the image was set to DRAW.  A heart from the SCAL library was placed on the mat and arranged to be at the bottom.  The acorn was centered to the heart.  Using the draw command in the cutting window, and the embossing tool in the machine, the machine will draw the acorn.  If the embossing isn’t deep enough on the metal sheet, repeat the process.  Once the embossing is complete, using the cut command and the blade in the machine, cut the heart.  6 identical images were cut in the metal sheet.


The leaf from the Christmas acorn file was resized to XXX and was cut.  The inside lines were hidden so they would not cut.  Some additional leaves and ferns were used from a previous project.  The leaves were cut using smooth white cardstock and then dyed using some ink refills using fall colors.  The micron pen was used to draw the veins on the leaves.

Final assembly instructions

For the wooden tray, place each of the quilt blocks and secure with some adhesive.  Add the leaves and acorn charm using glue, foam tape.

Additional ideas for use:

  • Use each “block” as a hand-delivered postcard/card to a friend or neighbor
  • Use as a cover for a mini album or gratitude book for the holiday or year
  • Leave the center blank and let family members sign their names and place each of the blocks and arrange into a larger quilt with a family picture – frame and hang on the wall as a new “family heirloom”
  • Frame individually.

If this project has inspired you to create your own memory tray, please share it with Creative Fabrica.  For additional ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out Jan’s page at The Artistry and her blog.

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Fernanda Rafagnin

November 15, 2021

That's beautiful, Jan! Such a special piece.

Jan Hunter's profile picture
Jan Hunter

November 19, 2021


Thank you so much.

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