How to Add a 3D Contrasting Border

Kimberlee Tanner

Tags Quilt, Tutorial

How to Add a 3D Contrasting Border to Your Quilt

Missy loves adding little 3d elements to our quilts. The best part is, they don’t have to be hard! This week we are sharing a quick and easy way to add a little peek a boo border to any quilt, creating a fun pop of color or extra frame around your design.


3D Contrasting Quilt Border

This extra quilt border is easy to add to any of your existing quilt patterns. We only need to add one little step and don’t need to worry about altering the existing quilt pattern at all!

What Color Border Fabric Should I choose?

This is the most important step of this border addition, picking a color! The color you choose is going to depend on the final look that you want for your quilt top. One way to use this contrasting border is to create maximum impact and really stand out. If you want that (such as we’ve done with the fish), use a contrasting color to your border fabric. If your quilt is red or pink, choose a green. If it’s blue, pick orange, and if it’s purple choose a yellow. When you pair contrasting colors together, they add lots of interest and make each other pop!

If you don’t want it to stand out quite as much, you can always use the same color as the border, but go darker or lighter. This will create depth in the quilt, but not make it a focal point of the finished design.

Another option is to use an analogous color. Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel. This will give a similar look to using a different tone. It will add depth but not stand out as much as using a contrasting color.

When trying to decide what look you want, pull out the fabric you are considering and layer it between your quilt and border to see how it looks. If you still aren’t sure, snap photos of your different options and see how they look. Sometimes looking at things through a photo helps things stand out that otherwise may not have and makes it easier to choose.

How to Add the 3d Quilt Border

As promised, this is super easy and takes only 3 additional steps. You are going to finish your quilt top and cut your borders as instructed in your design. Don’t attach the borders yet though!

Now you need to measure your quilt top and cut 4 strips the same lengths as your quilt length and width x 1″. For example, our mini is 18″ square so we have 4 strips at 1 x 18″. If your top was 60  x 72″ you would need 2 @ 1 x 60″ and 2 @ 1 x 72″.

You can go wider that the 1″ if you want a bigger border. We really like just a small bit of fabric, but play around with it and determine how wide you want yours to be.

Now fold your strips in half lengthwise and press.

After they are folded in half, place a strip on the sides of your quilt top matching raw edges and sew them on with a scant 1/4″ seam or even an 1/8″ seam. We don’t want this seam to show in the final quilt, it’s simply to hold the peek a boo border in place while we add the main border. Then sew the top and bottom border on your quilt.

Add your Main Border

Now continue with your pattern to add your main borders as instructed! When ironing the seams, keep in mind that your 3d border will lay flat on the quilt top, don’t try to iron it with the main border.

Now you are done! With just a few extra steps you can add a fun contrasting border to add a little extra pop to your quilt top.

As always, any questions, let us know and if you post photos of this technique on social media, please tag us @onwilliamsstreet! We love to see your projects.

Happy Quilting,

Kimie and Missy

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