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How to Make a Snowball Quilt Block

This week we are talking about a common quilting technique of snowballing. This is such a beginner-friendly quilt technique block. There are so many options and possible combinations!

I am sharing a beautiful FREE pattern with you this week-Berry Cheesecake Quilt! Did you get your copy? If not, head over there and download the free pattern! I also wanted to provide a quilt block skill builder for you! This is one of the many reasons I began my blog…because I want to share knowledge and help you build and expand your skills!

What is snowballing?

Well, I live in Texas, so this is definitely not a tutorial about how to roll the perfect snowball! Let me tell you what it is though! First, I preface this by saying this technique is so versatile and can be used to create a wide variety of effects in a quilt design. But, I want to keep this beginner-friendly, so we will cover the basics. Here we go!

A snowballed quilt block is constructed of 1 larger square of fabric and other smaller squares (usually 2 or 4 squares). The smaller squares of fabric are placed right sides together on the corners of the larger square, then sewn, trimmed, and then pressed. You can snowball a quilt block by using 2 smaller squares or you can snowball a quilt block by using 4 smaller squares each corner of the main block.

Get your fabrics and supplies together

In addition to your fabric and your sewing machine of course, you’ll also need a few basic sewing supplies:

  1. Quilting rulers in varying sizes

  2. Thread (I prefer Aurifil 50wt in White for piecing blocks)

  3. Iron/ironing board (I love my Oliso Mini Project iron and my wool pressing mat)

  4. Mechanical pencil/fabric marking pen (I use Frixon brand pens)

  5. Scissors or rotary cutter (Love my Olfa 45mm Pacific Blue rotary cutter or my Fairy Floss Pink one!)

  6. Rotary cutting mat

  7. Seam ripper (you just never know)

Choose your fabrics and decide how large you want your final block to be. There is no exact science or formula to what size your smaller squares should be. It depends on how you want your final quilt to look. I have 2 examples for you:

With this adorable Riley Blake “Sleep Tight” baby print, I used a 9″ square and 4″ squares for my corners.

With this block, I used Riley Blake from my scraps, to snowball all 4 corners. I used a 10″ square and 4.5″ squares for my corners.

No matter which corners you are snowballing, the technique is the same. With your smaller squares, either draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the fabric from corner to corner or you can iron the squares in half to crease them.

Place the smaller squares on the corners of your larger square that you want to “snowball”. Sometimes I will pin these to keep them in place so that I can chain piece all my blocks. Then everything comes together fast!

Sew just slightly outside of the line. *Here’s a tip because I have made this error before, do not sew a ¼” away from the line as you would in some cases, like when making half-square triangles. We are sewing just ever-so-slightly outside the line. You essentially want your sewing line on the diagonal line but we need to account for our thread! Repeat with the remaining squares.

Trim ¼” away on the outside of your sewn line. You will be cutting off the corners of the squares. Your cut piece will look like this.

Don’t throw away the triangle trimmings! They make half square triangles that you can use in another project!

Press to set your seams and then press the squares out away from the center of your square. Like magic you have transformed your fabric square!

What do you think of this technique? Are you anxious to use it on your next project? Wait until you see the free beginner-friendly pattern that I have for you using this technique!

My favorite tools Used in this tutorial

Affiliate Disclosure Policy: This website uses affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

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i'm ledine


I'm the caffeinated quilting extraordinaire, who loves to share quilty educational content for quilters of all skill levels! 

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