Easy 12-Inch Bento Box Quilt Block Pattern

  • 01 of 07

    What Does a Bento Box Quilt Look Like?

    Bento Box Quilt Block Pattern
    Make a Batch of Bento Box Quilt Blocks. Janet Wickell

    Bento box quilts are sewn from easy quilt blocks that make use of color and contrast to create a unique look when blocks are sewn together (see the example, pictured).

    A bento box quilt block pattern explains how to assemble each corner of the block separately. This is a simple method that will help you create a variety of quilt layouts if you like to use a wide assortment of fabrics to make a quilt.

    If you like to sew with strip piecing techniques, be sure to look at the nine-patch bento box quilt pattern, which was a design used for the 2015 New Year's Day mystery quilt. If the layout seems confusing, try working with only three fabrics for your first few bento box quilt blocks. After you are familiar with the design, sew with additional fabrics.

    There are many bento box quilt patterns. Color and contrast are sometimes a bit confusing to new quilters. 

    How to Do It

    The Bento Box quilt block finishes at 12 inches by 12 inches and is made from 2 1/2-inch wide strips of fabric cut in different lengths. Reduce cutting chores by using jelly rolls—coordinated packs of fabric made up of 2 1/2-inch wide strips cut from selvage to selvage. Compare prices of jelly roll packs.

    Sew your bento box quilt blocks with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

    Choose three fabrics: one light, one a darker cool shade (like blue) and one a darker warm shade (like magenta). These are only suggestions, you can come up with your own.

    Light Fabric

    • (2) 2 1/2 inches by 5 1/4 inches strips (for strip piecing)
    • (4) 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches strips
    • (2) 2 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches strips

    Dark, Cool Shaded Fabric (Blue)

    • (1) 2 1/2 inches by 5 1/4 inches strips (for strip piecing)
    • (2) 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches strips
    • (2) 2 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches strips

    Dark, Warm Shaded Fabric (Magenta)

    • (1) 2 1/2 inches by 5 1/4 inches strips (for strip piecing)
    • (2) 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches strips
    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Assembling Block Corners (Magenta and Light Fabric)

    Bento Box Quilt Block Pattern
    Sew Magenta Corners for the Bento Box Quilt Block. Janet Wickell

    First, start by making one block corner that measures 6 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches.

    1. Sew a light-colored strip 2 1/2 inches by 5 1/4 inches lengthwise to a magenta strip of the same size. Press seam allowance towards the magenta strip.
    2. Square up one end of the strip set and cut two 2 1/2-inch segments, starting at the squared up end (figure 1).
    3. Grab one figure 1 segment and a 2 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch magenta rectangle. Sew the magenta strip to the top of the segment, taking care to align the magenta portion of the two-color segment to the left (figures 2 and 3).
    4. Press the seam allowance towards the magenta rectangle.
    5. Align a 2 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch light strip vertically to the left of the figure 3 unit (figure 4). Connect the two and press the seam allowance towards the magenta areas.
    6. Sew a 2 1/2-inch by 6 1/2-inch light strip to the top of the partially complete patchwork (figures 5 and 6). Press seam allowance towards the magenta areas.
    7. Duplicate this block corner to make a second identical block corner.
    8. Once you are comfortable with the assembly process, use chain piecing to sew patchwork in assembly-line fashion.
    Continue to 3 of 7 below.
  • 03 of 07

    Sew Remaining Bento Box Corners

    Bento Box Quilt Pattern
    Sew the Blue Corners of the Quilt Block. Janet Wickell

    Next, sew the remaining blue and light-colored bento box quilt blocks.

    1. Sew another strip set, pairing the 2 1/2-inch by 5 1/4-inch blue and light-colored strips. Square up one end of the set and cut two 2 1/2-inch segments (figure 7).
    2. Sew a 2 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch light rectangle to the top of the figure 7 segment, orienting the blue portion of the segment in the lower left (figures 8 and 9). Press seam allowance towards the blue and light-colored segment.
    3. Sew a 2 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch blue rectangle to the right of the segment as shown in figure 10. Press seam allowance towards the blue rectangle.
    4. Sew a 2 1/2-inch by 6 1/2-inch blue bar to the top of the almost-complete unit and press seam allowance towards the new bar. The unit should measure 6 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches.
    5. Sew one more blue and light-colored block corner.
    Continue to 4 of 7 below.
  • 04 of 07

    Assemble the Bento Box Quilt Block

    Sew Bento Box Quilt Blocks
    Sew a Bento Box Quilt Block. Janet Wickell

    The last step for completing the quilt is to join the block corners.

    1. Arrange block corners into two horizontal rows as shown, left.
    2. Sew the two corners in each row together.
    3. Press new seam allowances in adjoining rows in opposite directions and join the rows. The quilt block should measure 12 1/2 inches by 12 1/2 inches.

    Optional Assembly Method

    If you are making a scrap quilt, you might prefer to arrange block corners on a design wall or other flat surface before joining any of the units. This method allows more layout flexibility for the finished quilt.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Schematic for Bento Box Patches

    Bento Block Patch Sizes
    Bento Block Patch Sizes. Janet Wickell

    Use this schematic as a cutting reference for making the bento box patch sizes. All squares are cut 2 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches. It is perfectly fine to sew bento box quilt blocks one patch at a time rather than assembling them with strip sets.

    Continue to 6 of 7 below.
  • 06 of 07

    Faith Hall's Bento Box Quilt

    Bento Box Quilt by Faith Hall
    Faith Hall

    Example of a bento box quilt made by Faith Hall.

    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    Bento Box Quilt by France Powers Gilmour

    France Gilmour Bento Box Quilt
    France Gilmore

    Example of a bento box quilt made by France Powers Gilmour.