Victorian Crazy Quilts

Victorian Crazy Quilts lesson plan

Explore Victorian crazy quilting fad of the late 1800’s. This crayon sampler incorporates a variety of crayon techniques into a single project.

  • 1.

    Crazy quilting refers to the fabric art of piecing together many different bits of fabric in a variety of colors, shapes and textures into a patchwork blanket. These quilts used a variety of fabrics, pieces of clothing, leftovers from other projects and fancy embellishments. The crazy quilt fad lasted from the late 1800’s until the early 1920’s.

  • 2.

    Look at images of crazy quilts created during this era. What fabrics and embellishments were included in these textile arts? What colors were incorporated? Why did women embrace this fad?

  • 3.

    To create a paper crazy quilt, use a dark-colored crayon to make a loose scribble design on a piece of construction paper. This will outline the blocks of your quilt.

  • 4.

    Fill in the block designs using a variety of colors with these crayon techniques. Vary the pressure on a crayon by pressing hard or lightly to create a deeper or lighter color. Mix new colors by gently overlaying light coats of various crayon colors on white paper. Each time you add a new layer, observe how the color appearance changes. Outline some colored areas for more visual interest.

  • 5.

    Add patterns to the blocks with triple or double stripe designs by taping several crayons together to create a multiple-point drawing tool. Use this tool to make stripes or plaids, or multiple lines with an easy stroke. The crayon tips should rest evenly on a flat surface when taping. Create textural patterns by rubbing crayons without labels over flat textural materials.


  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
  • MATH: Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area, and volume.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.
  • VA: Select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Crazy Quilts: History - Techniques - Embroidery Motifs by Cindy Brick; Crazy Quilt Odyssey: Adventures in Victorian Needlework by Judith Montano
  • Invite a community member who is a quilter to visit with the class and share his expertise about this craft. Prior to the meeting, students write questions for the expert. After the visit, students post learning to a class blog.
  • Encourage students to investigate other types of quilting and quilting blocks. Provide samples of several designs and include a written description of each.