This Paper Pieced Rainbow Mug Rug Is Bursting With Color

Rainbow Mug Rug

Make your morning cup of coffee way more colorful with a rainbow ray mug rug. This project is pure fun — and a great introduction to the sew-and-flip technique on a paper foundation.

Rainbow Burst Mug Rug

Level: Easy

What You Need

  • Free PDF template and tutorial
  • 15 fabric strips (2″ x 6″-8″)
  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Batting (6″ x 10″)
  • Backing fabric (6″ x 10″)
  • 30″ of binding
  • Thread
  • Iron
  • Cutting mat
  • Instructions

    1. Prep the Pattern

    rainbow mug rug paper piecing pattern

    If you don’t have paper designed for paper piecing, print the pattern on lightweight (20 lb) copy paper.

    Using a ruler and rotary cutter, trim the paper ¼” away from the outside line. Fold the pattern on each of the lines — this will score the paper so it’s easier to work with.

    2. Cut Your Fabric

    Cut all 15 strips so they’re 2″ wide. Cut the strips on the corners 8″ long; the rest can be cut to 6″. If needed, place the strips on top of your pattern to double check their length.

    3. Sew the First Two Strips

    mug rug paper pieced strip

    Begin on one side and place the first two strips together, right sides facing, with the first strip touching the paper (as shown above). Using a ruler, lay the strips so they overlap the first sewing line by ¼” to create a seam allowance.

    Set your stitch length to 1.8 – 2.0 for shorter stitches: this makes it easier to remove the paper at the end. Sew across the first line in the paper.

    Pro Tip: Don’t stop sewing when you get to the end of your line, or it will be more difficult to remove your paper. Stitch from edge to edge, allowing the stitching to run off the paper and fabric.

    sewing mug rug strips

    Press the seam open with your fingers. Take care to completely open the seam and make sure the fabrics are lying flat and smooth.

    4. Trim

    rotary cutter with cut red fabric strip

    Fold the paper on the next sewing line and trim away the excess fabric, leaving a ¼” seam allowance.

    Pro Tip: If you have an Add A Quarter ruler, it’ll work perfectly here.

    sewing on paper template

    Layer the next strip, right sides together, on the newly cut edge. Sew along the second line, finger press and trim the excess.

    5. Repeat

    sewing layers of color on mug rug

    Continue to sew, finger press, fold the paper and trim. Keep building your rainbow one strip at a time.

    stitching along mug rug edge

    The seams will come together very closely on the bottom edge. To prevent extra bulk, trim the seams at an angle with scissors, leaving about ⅛” at the very edge (as shown above).

    finished rainbow mug rug quilt top

    Keep working until your rainbow is completely sewn and press the top with an iron. At this point, your paper will still be attached to the back.

    6. Remove the Paper

    removing paper template

    Gently pull your paper away while securing the end (to prevent the first few stitches from coming undone). The paper should tear away easily, thanks to the shorter stitch length.

    back of rainbow mug rug quilt top

    Once the paper is removed, the back of your mug rug will look like the photo above. Handle it carefully because there will be bias edges. If desired, stay-stitch around the perimeter, less than ¼” away from the edge, to stabilize the unit.

    7. Assemble the Mug Rug

    Layer the rainbow on top of the batting and backing to make a small quilt sandwich. Quilt the mug rug together by stitching in the ditch along each seam line. Trim the batting and backing even with the edges of the rainbow.

    8. Add the Binding

    clipping binding to mug rug

    Add the binding as you would to any quilt and stitch it down on the back, either by hand or with your machine.

    finished mug rug

    And you’re done! Enjoy your mug rug and take these newfound paper piecing skills with you on new quilting adventures.

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    10 Responses to “This Paper Pieced Rainbow Mug Rug Is Bursting With Color”

    1. Jo

      I'm new to paper piecing so looking for easy patterns. Thank you for the free patterns.

    2. Jennifer Joiner

      Great little project and clear instructions! I love my new mug rug!

    3. Susan Pepper

      Love this.

    4. Phillis Tuttle

      Looks nice

    5. Judy

      I would love a copy of this pattern.


      The pattern content still hasn’t been made available then? In comments below back in October it said try in a couple of weeks??

    7. Mary Joanis

      I would like the free template, please.

    8. Louise Ryan Granger

      Where can I find the free pattern?

    9. Debra

      Hi Diane. Beautiful mat and great tutorial, but where is the pattern template please?

    10. sandra demezzo

      Dear Craftsy software engineer, please let me know where I can find the pdf and patterns. Thank you!