Quilting Blog

How to Make Snowball Quilt Blocks + 6 Creative Ways to Use Them

It may sound like a winter quilting project, but snowball blocks have nothing to do with snow. These blocks can be used all year in endless projects. They’re good filler blocks and accent blocks, and when used well, they can even shine as a stand-alone block. 

Three snowball quilt blocks on cutting mat

This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make a snowball quilt block.

Snowball blocks are good for beginners with their easy construction, simple piecing and minimal fabric requirements.

Calculate the size of any snowball block

The snowball quilt block can be made up in any of size, but it’s best when its finished size is divisible by three. Once you’ve decided on the finished size, you just need to do two quick calculations:

  • To calculate the size of the corner squares:  Divide the finished block by 3.  Add ½”. 
  • To calculate the size of the center square: Add ½”.

And to make it easy on you, I’m including calculations for the most common snowball block sizes.

  • 3″ finished = 1½” corner squares + 3½” large square
  • 6″ finished = 2½” corner squares + 6½” large square
  • 9″ finished = 3½” corner squares + 9½” large square
  • 12″ finished = 4½” corner squares + 12½” large square
  • 15″ finished = 5½” corner squares + 15½” large square

For the step-by-step tutorial below, I’ll demonstrate making a 6″ finished snowball block.


fabric square on cutting mat with rotary cutter

I’m using Lily and Loom Dreamfield fabric for this tutorial. 

Assembling the block

Step 1:

Start by marking a diagonal line on each of the 2½” corner squares

Step 2:

Arrange the corner squares to align with the corners of the center square, right sides together and with the diagonal lines you drew not pointing to the corner. Sew the corner to the larger square following the line you marked. Repeat for all four corners.

Step 3:

fabric squares with corners cut off on cutting mat

Trim ¼” past the sewn line ,cutting off the corners of the square. Discard trimmed pieces.

Step 4:

small snowball block with pink lily and loom fabric

Press all four corners open, pressing the seams toward the darker fabric.

There you have it: a super simple quilt block with endless possibilities and size options.

6 ways to use snowball blocks in your quilts

The snowball block is a pretty simple quilt block that can be used alone for a simple yet striking quilt design, or in variation with other blocks. Here are some ways to use the snowball block to create your own unique quilt. 

Ombré snowball block quilt

pink ombre snowball block quilt design

Use basic snowball quilt blocks to create a simple quilt design. Play around with fabric colors and placement for fun and modern layouts like the gradient one here. Use all solids and arrange in an ombre gradient. Simple yet stunning! Try this in the Boundless Blenders Ombre fabrics.

Scrappy snowball quilt

Colorful snowball quilt design

Wouldn’t this block be a great way to use up scraps or pre-cut bundles? Choose any size snowball block and repeat the block over and over. Dig through your scrap stash or show off your favorite fabrics with this simple block.

Inside-out snowball block

Inside out snowball block design

Make the snowball quilt block “inside out,” with the colored or printed fabric in the corners, for an entirely different quilt. The large square of the snowball block becomes the neutral background fabric (great for free-motion quilting!). The small corner squares are the main event. Again, use up your scraps or a variety of fabrics.

Combine sizes of the snowball block

snowball design using large snowball blocks and small snowball blocks

Make various sizes of the snowball quilt block and combine them into one quilt. Change up the size of your blocks and make a quilt using them. For this version, the larger block needs to be double the size of the smaller block. For example, make the small snowball blocks 6″ finished and the large blocks 12″ finished.

Use the snowball block as accent block

snowball block layout with the friendship star block

Use the snowball block as an accent to another traditional block such as the friendship star block. Combining the snowball block with another block provides an entirely new design. Alternate the blocks as you lay them out and see what comes up! New accents will start to emerge when combining blocks like this.

Flower block

flower quilt design using the snowball block

Use the the snowball block to create new blocks and shapes. Four snowball blocks together make for a pretty flower block. Change out one corner square of each block to create the center of the flower. This is still a simple snowball block arranged in a way that makes a brand new shape. 

I hope these examples inspire you to make your own snowball block quilt! This goes to show that a simple traditional quilt block like this can be used in many different ways to create a variety of looks.


Carol Brumlow

Liked these ideas. Never thought about mixing the sizes or using gradual color changes like the pink one. I’ll have to try the flower one in my next scrap quilt. I have a lot of flowered material and I think I’ll use it for the center of the snowball and yellow the center and green for the outside points, then sash it. Should be a pretty flower garden.

Valerie Davis

I did the flower version just as you described it. I quilted inside the ‘flower’ with a scallop to look like petals – actually several rows as the flowers were to be Zinnias. Gave it to my mother in law who loves Zinnias but can’t seem to get them to grow anymore. I told her it was her year round Zinnia garden!

Lela McKee Friel

Thank You for another great tutorial. I always look forward to reading these quilting blogs. Also, thank you for the free quilting pattern downloads . These are a nice perk from the crafting community. Thank You for sharing!

Gina M

Using a paper foundation technique to make snowball blocks is much more efficient. There are no wasted triangles of fabric, and improves accuracy for matching the intersections.

Winne Peterson

Rather than sewing one diagonal seam, then cutting off the corner and discarding it – sew a second parallel seam 1/2″ outside the first and cut between them. Wahla! You’ll have small half square triangle blocks ready to use in another project. :•)


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