Bear Paw Quilt Block Tutorial

December 12, 2016

Bear Paw Block for The Quilter's Planner

The Bear Paw block is one of my all time favorites.  It’s the epitome of traditional, but also has that tribal feel that I’m always drawn to in my projects.

The Bear Paw uses a lot of half-square-triangles(HSTs) –16 to be exact– so if you’re making a block with two contrasting colors, a background and a feature fabric, it’s most efficient to use the Eight-At-A-Time HST method.  You can find the full instructions for this method, along with the fabric requirements for various sizes of HSTs in the reference section of the 2017 Quilter’s Planner.

Block Diagram and Measurements

Bear Paw Quilt Block Diagram    bear-paw-measurement-table


  1. Cut pieces according to the table above.

Assemble Block Components

  1. Make the 16 HSTs using the Eight-At-A-Time HST Method.
  2. For patches 1 and 2, take a 5 1/4″ white block and a 5 1/4″ red block and place them right sides together. Mark the diagonals with a pen or pencil on the wrong side of the top block.


3. With two squares of contrasting colors that are right sides together, sew 1/4″ on either side of the marked diagonal lines.


4 A.  Cut the square into quarters, as shown below.

4 B.  Then cut on the original lines you marked on the diagonals to divide the block into eighths.

How To Cut Square for 8 At A Time HSTs

5.  You know have 8 HSTs that are oversized.  Use your favorite method to trip them down to 2″ x 2″.  Tip: I love the Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day HST Ruler or the Bloc Loc Ruler.  Here’s a video about the Eleanor Burns Square Up Ruler works, and another video about the Bloc Loc HST Ruler, so you can decide which is best for you.  You also should consider getting a turn-table style cutting mat like this one, if you tend to make a lot of HSTs like I do.  It makes trimming so much easier!

6.  Place two HSTs right sides together, and join as shown below.  (Make 4 units.)


7. Join a background square to two HSTs as shown below. (Make 4 units.)


8.  To create each of the four corners of your Bear Paw block, with right sides together, join together the HST set from step 6, with a square of feature fabric labeled #4 in the table above (either 2 1/2″ square or 3 1/2″ square, depending on which sized block you are making). (Make 4 new units.)


9.  To complete each of the four corners, with right sides together, join a unit created in step 8 with a Background/HST unit from step 8.


Assemble The Bear Paw Block

  1. Arrange the components as shown in the photo below.step-1-of-assembly-bear-paw
  2. Sew together each row.  Press the seams of the top and bottom row toward the bear paw corners, press the middle row toward the center square, so that seams will lay flat.


3.  Pin to match points and join the rows together.

Bear Paw Block Tutorial from The Quilter's Planner


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  • Reply Lisa December 12, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Very clear tutorial Stephanie: I love it in Red and White. I’ve used the 8 at a time method which someone referred to on the internet and then later I found it in my planner. I forgot it was there! It’s good to look through the planner every once in a while to remember all the goodies it contains.

  • Reply jayne December 12, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Another great traditional block! The magic eight method is such a great time saver!

  • Reply Lee Brinkley January 27, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    My husband and I are getting ready to move from the NC coast to the NC mountains. We are going to put a barn quilt on our garage so that everyone sees it as soon as they approach our property. Since we have sighted bears on the property, I plan to use the Bear Paw quilt square!!! Not sure what colors I’ll use but I do like this red and white!!! And by the way, I’m loving my 2017 Quilter’s Planner!!!!

  • Reply Martha Jones (Marty) September 24, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    How much of each fabric in the 14 jnch block?

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