3D Pinwheel Tutorial

by | Mar 21, 2024 | 9 comments

Hi everyone! This is just a short tutorial on how to make 3D pinwheel blocks. These are fun, but a word of warning, the seams can get pretty thick to sew through the multiple layers, but definitely not impossible!

One Color Pinwheels

First, determine what size block you want to make. For my project, I chose to make a 6-inch block (finished).

Next, cut four background squares measuring 3-1/2″ each, and four squares for the pinwheels, also measuring 3-1/2″ each. This is such an easy formula! You simply cut the pinwheels the same size as the background squares.

Thirdly, fold the pinwheel squares in half diagonally corner to corner, to make a triangle and press. Here is where you can decide what type pinwheel block you want to make. You can stitch the two raw edges of the triangle to one of the background blocks to make prairie point triangles. You can see a photo of a quilt made by Leanne of The Devoted Quilter on Amy Smart’s blog HERE.

The other option is for two-colored 3D pinwheels. This is the method I will demonstrate for you.

Again, determine the size block you want to make and cut four background squares. I will use the same 6-inch finished block size in this tutorial.

Second, using your favorite method for making half-square triangles (HSTs), cut four each of two different fabrics to create your pinwheels. I used my AccuQuilt cutter and HST die.

Next, stitch the two different colored HSTs together to make one HST block, as shown. Repeat with all the HSTs.

Fold wrong sides together along seamline and press well.

Place folded triangle on background square as shown. Fold top of triangle down and pin in place. At this point you can either stitch or baste in place or use washable glue such as Roxanne’s to hold in place until all are stitched together. Repeat the same process for all four triangles/squares.

Finally, stitch the four squares together to make the pinwheel block. Here is mine with fabric added all around. This particular four-patch is 6 inches (finished). I then added a border around it to make it an 8-inch (finished) block.

Here is my 8″ (finished) block, made with 4-1/2 inch squares.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you make a 3D pinwheel block or blocks, I’d love to see it/them! Thanks for stopping by. Until next time…

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  1. Bumbleberry Stitches

    Thanks for the tutorial. 3D pinwheels are the hit. Love them!

  2. patternprincess1

    Very nice tutorial, I will have to try and make a 3D pinwheel.

  3. Denise

    Lovely, I will have to try these. A couple years ago I made them but by folding a square, I like these two color pinwheels better.

  4. Vicki in MN

    Thanks for the tutorial as I wondered how they were made!

  5. sewswift

    This is a wonderful tutorial, Brenda!

  6. Kathleen McCormick

    Those are gorgeous blocks and always create a wow factor. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  7. Karen

    looks great I think I made one of those once.

  8. texasquiltgal

    Nice tutorial Brenda! Those batiks look good. So do you just quilt around the pinwheels, to keep that 3D effect? How do they do once the quilt is laundered?

  9. Danice G

    Thank you for the tutorial for such a fun block. Yours look great, including those fabrics. I want to try to make a 3D pinwheel block now.


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