paper piecing

To me one of the things about quilting is sharing information! As we all know prices are going up on everything – just plain everything from pins and needles and other notions to fabric and beyond.  I would not think that paper could be so much different in price though.  But it is!!

The other day on my yahoo group for the Farmer’s Wife some were talking of how they are paper piecing some or most of their blocks and that got me to thinking about paper Smile yes paper.  For paper piecing if you are printing your patterns out from a printer you need a clear sheet of paper.  Some people use regular copy paper for this.  To me – my opinion – I want something a little lighter than copy paper.

Some years back I came across some paper that Carol Doak sells – she is a queen of paper piecing so I thought I had to have it – it must be good.  Now if you only buy from quilt shops and on line quilt shops and do not shop for bargains don’t bother to read the rest of what I say – and this is nothing against Carol or any other well known quilter who is making some money off of the rest of us quilters who buy their stuff!!  We buy it and pay the prices because we just have to have it, right?

But if you want to save some money on paper piecingread this! Smile

Paper piecing paper is Newsprint paper – the light slightly recycled look of paper – not white.  Did you know that newsprint is what some children’s scribble tablets are made from?  I did some comparison shopping – I was out shopping anyway so this did no hardship in time or gas money for me.


Carol Doak – 100 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper – a big whopping $9.95 plus shipping and handling if you order on line.  I am using Carol as an example – I don’t have a clue who else sells under their name.

Wal-Mart – a 60 sheet tablet of 9 x 12 inch paper – $1.88

Hobby Lobby – a 100 sheet table 9 x 12 inch paper – after using my 40% off coupon $1.79

The tablets – the doodle pad on the left is Wal-Mart (in the school supply area) the one on the right is Hobby Lobby (comes in various sizes in the drawing section area)


What I did – my start time:


gently tear all of the sheets out of the tablets – you can do this using about 20 sheets at a time if you want.  Using you rotary blade – my blade needs changing so I used it – you might want to not use your sharp blade but use one of your old ones.  I cut the paper to 8 1/2 x 11 inches to fit the printer. I was able to cut through 20 to 30 sheets at a time easily.


My stacks of cut down to size paper – Wal-Mart, Carol’s (didn’t need cutting) and Hobby Lobby.


Finished time – took me 9 minutes – included pulling the paper out of the tablets, cutting and photos.


I got 160 sheets of the same kind of paper, minus the brand name and saved money – my total –$3.76 the same amount with brand name would cost me $15.92 (the only plus is that I wouldn’t need to take several minutes to cut it down to size).  That might not be a big deal – but hey that could buy a yard of fabric – and it gave me a blog post Smile  I’m sure some of you can find even better prices and offers.  I do not do a whole lot of paper piecing but I like to have some on hand for when I do – well I now have enough to last me a very long time LOL

Have a good weekend everyone!

(I am compensated for any purchases made through my links.)

22 comments… add one
  • Jackie Jul 9, 2011

    What a great post!! I love the comparison and will have to now go out and do this myself. I have always used Carol Doak’s paper, never thought of buying the newsprint at the hobby store. Thanks, Karen!

  • Crispy Jul 9, 2011

    A very informative post Karen :0) In this economy saving every penny is a plus.


  • Vicki W Jul 9, 2011

    I’ve never used Carol’s paper. I have been using deli paper that I got from Costco. But the next time I’m in HL, I will get some of this paper to try and compare. Thanks for the tip!

  • 501quiltblocks Jul 9, 2011

    Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve used copy paper and tracing paper. I like the tracing paper but my printer sometimes chokes on it. Very frustrating! I’ll have to try the doodle pads.

  • Angie Jul 9, 2011

    What an excellent tip—thanks so much for sharing it with us! 🙂

  • Anya Jul 9, 2011

    Some local newspapers will also give you leftover rolls of newsprint paper (for free)!

  • Katie M Jul 9, 2011

    I love to paper piece and think it’s time I hit the dollar store for some scribble pads! There are so many gadgets, etc.. out there that someone had to start someway by using what was on hand. Whenever I see a new gadget that I think I can ‘sort of’ replicate using simple materials, I do try…..

  • Marlene Jul 9, 2011

    Karen I love that you did this comparison. I don’t mind paying when I can’t get it somewhere cheaper but it’s crazy to pay more if I don’t have to. I look at all the dollar stores for the hair clips that I hole binding on with. I could get them at the quilt shop at three times the price! blessings, marlene

  • Yep, I started with Carol Doak’s papers and quickly changed to Scribble pads too. 🙂 Dollar Stores are a great source too. Have a great day!

  • lil red hen Jul 9, 2011

    This truly did make for an interesting post, Karen. I’ve never had to buy paper for piecing. I grew up in a time when women did their string piecing on newspaper or catalog pages, so for a long time that is what I used. Then I fell heir to a box of 2500 sheets of computer paper when my husband retired from teaching. This paper dates back to the early days of the Apple computer and has those edges with little holes that fed it through the printer. It isn’t heavy like most of the printer papers are today and I’ve found, other than having to take the time to tear off those edges with holes, it is a perfect weight and thickness for paper piecing; newspaper squares would sometimes tear too easily while sewing. 2500 sheets! that should do me for the rest of my piecing day. So, does this reveal my age, or what? Charlotte

  • Marianne Jul 9, 2011

    One of the things I hate about paper piecing is taking the paper off. Copy paper is way too stiff and, I think, stretches out the stitching. The cheaper the paper the easier it is to work with. Bonnie Hunter uses old phone book pages for foundation sewing for string quilts. Thanks for the price comparison!

  • That is great to know! In today’s economy, I think all of us are trying to save money.
    I’m thinking of starting The Farmer’s Wife, but I’d need some guidance on how to paper piece them. I’ve never followed a Yahoo group. Any suggestions?

  • K. McConachie Jul 9, 2011


    Thanks for sharing your tip. If you have a “Dollar Tree” store in your area, you can save even more money – they have the newsprint doodle pads for $1. I use them to doodle/practice my longarm quilting designs, so I buy them 5-10 at a time. I haven’t tried cutting them down for foundation piecing yet, but you can bet I will!! 🙂

    Also, in addition to the newsprint I like using inexpensive vellum-type paper when I paper piece, because I can mostly see through it. I used to pay $9.99 for 25 sheets from Zippy Designs (they used to publish Quilts with Style magazine). Now, I buy packages of (I think) 50 sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ in the scrapbook section at JoAnn’s. It’s been a while since I bought it, so I’m not sure on the current price, but it used to be $5.99 and I could use my 40% or 50% off coupon. If you use a small enough stitch, it perforates right off and makes removal extremely easy.


  • Karen Jul 9, 2011

    I never even thought of the Dollar Stores when I was looking – I will have to check them out too!!

  • Gari Jul 9, 2011

    Excellent post. I am getting ready to do some paper piecing and Monday will find me out looking for kids paper. I never even thought of getting that. Thanks.

  • Vivian Jul 9, 2011

    Karen, have you been to a Harbor Freight and purchased the round carpet cutter blades for your rotary cutter. I bought some couple of weeks ago and Larry asked what I paid for them. I think it was $1.99 for 3 blades. He asked how much they were in the quilting section and I told him at least three times more.

    Then we talked about how teachers could buy things in the hardware or household dept. at Walmart or Target (containers, etc.) for next to nothing that were much more expensive on the school supply web sites.

    I told him that people see teachers and quilters coming. lol

  • Penny Jul 9, 2011

    Excellent topic, Karen. A couple of the women at my little group like to paper piece, but I’ve yet to learn this. They use copy paper and complain when removing it. I will mention it at our next gathering in two weeks. When our daughter was little, the local Priest asked me to organise a Church playgroup so I went to the local paper printery and obtain left over rolls of news paper for free. I was great for the children’s craft work and I also used it to draft patterns for dressmaking.

  • Penny Jul 10, 2011

    I love paper piecing, I love Carol Doak, and I’m not fussy about what paper I use. Just a regular sheet of copy paper works for me, but I make sure to shorten the stitch length so it’s easy to tear off. Thank you for this post!

  • Linda V Jul 10, 2011

    I so love this post, Karen! I can’t believe I have never thought of this myself. I could not bring myself to purchase Carol Doak’s paper, since it was so pricey and made do with using heavy copy paper. I will try this out for sure!! Thanks so much!

  • P. Jul 11, 2011

    Great info! I had never thought about that. I bet the dollar store even has pads of it. I’m going to check it out – thanks!

  • Astrid Jul 12, 2011

    Karen, very interesting post! Thanks for taking your time to compare prices. I haven’t done much paper piecing, but I loved the little I’ve done. Have to check out what is available here…

  • Cindy Jul 12, 2011

    Karen, thanks for the money saving tip on purchasing paper for my FWQAL that I’m in the process of. Like you said, I could buy a yard of fabric with my savings. Have a great day!

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