Wonky Bird Coasters {Tutorial}

After finishing a few big projects, it’s been nice to create something small and fun. A quick finish project is always nice and I think it helps keep the creative juices flowing, and the old brain ticking over, planning the next big thing.

Last week, I posted about one of these small projects. I shared some images of the Wonky Improv Birds which I was playing with. I also shared an image on FB which received quite a few requests for a tutorial. The original source of the inspiration is an image by LauraJ on Flickr.

If you’d like to have a go at making some, here’s how I make my Improv Wonky Bird Coasters. Grab your scrap tub and let’s get to it.

I make the coasters in sets of 2 – mainly because the first step is to make a half square triangle block. To make one half square triangle block always results in 2 half square triangle blocks – right?

Begin with (2) 4.5” squares. One low volume for the background and one will be the bird body.

Draw the diagonal line across the low volume square, place them right sides together and sew a 1/4” on either side of the drawn line. Cut on the line and press to the dark side.

Wonky Bird Block - Pieces

The lightweight, low-profile BrightPad makes crafting easier while reducing eye strain.

Here are the next pieces which you’ll need:

A = the half square triangle blocks

B = will be the front of the bird. It needs to the be the length of the HST block and approximately 1.5” – 2” wide depending on the look you’re going for.

C = this needs to be a little wider than the bird body (B) but the same length. So let’s say somewhere between 2” to 2.5”.

D = this is the beak. 1.25” square.

E = this square will go on the bottom corner of the birds body. Around 1.5” square should work.

As I said, this is all improvisational, which is why I haven’t given exact sizes – just the rough guide. Your Wonky Birds will all look different depending on your fabric scraps and the “look” you’re going for.

Okay, let’s get back to it. Place the beak (D) square on the top left corner of the white (C) piece and sew diagonally across the yellow from corner to corner.

Wonky Improv Birds - Piecing

Trim these pieces 1/4” outside of the sewn line.

Flip the triangle piece over and press to the darker side.

Wonky Birds Piecing

Now sew these 3 pieces together and press. Here you have the bird (sans legs). Yay!

Now for the legs. You’ll need a piece of the background fabric approximately 2” wide and the same length as the bottom of the bird block PLUS 2 inches. So for example, if the bird block measures 6”, your piece should measure 2” x 8”. This extra will give some wiggle room and will be trimmed down at the end.

Wonky Bird Legs

At approximately 2” from the left side cut this piece. Measure another 3/4” (or 1” depending on the look you want) and cut again. This is where we’re going to sew in the legs.

The leg fabric is only 3/4” wide and the same height as that bottom piece.

Sew the legs into the spaces which we just created and then press.

Wonky Bird Legs 2

Sew the legs block to the bird block and then press and trim. It’s looking good, isn’t it?

Now we need a top bit. A little bit of sky. This piece needs to be approximately 2” and the same length as the rest of the bird block.

Sew the sky piece and then press the block completely.

Square the block (I trim mine down to 6” square) and here you have your finished improv wonky bird. Yay!!

And if you’ve been making 2 at a time like I do, it’s a double yay!

Wonky Bird Blocks

Place your bird on a square of batting and a square of backing and quilt with straight lines. I use my presser foot as my quilting guide.

Wonky Birds Quilted

For my binding, I cut my strip 1 3/4” (rather than double fold binding).

Starting a few inches from a corner and leaving a tail for joining, sew the binding to the right side, mitring the corners as you go.

Stop a couple of inches from the starting point and join the ends of the binding neatly with a 45-degree seam, trim the surplus and finish sewing the binding to the coaster.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and I also hope that you now go forth and create lots and lots of wonky birds.



  1. I love this! Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Great tutorial! As I LOVE birds, I'll be making some of these coasters!

  3. Loving these cute birds - thanks for the tutorial :)

  4. Your tutorial came just in time! Thanks!

  5. led to this tutorial by Thimblemouse and Spouse post during the Tree Bird Quilt Hop -- what fun!! Thanks for sharing it with us!!

  6. Love this!! I will be making 8 of these for my quilt quild Christmas party! The girls are gonna love em!

  7. So lovely. I haven't got my sewing machine right now but I am so going to make these when I get it back. Thank you x

  8. This is SO cute!!! I love it! Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial. How cute would this be on a tote bag? Or even to make a quilt? A great way to use up scraps of all colors and prints! Then you'd REALLY have some wonky birds! Thanks again. I'm a new Follower, found you on Annabel's blog (Bluebirds).


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