A Sturdy Foundation for Foundation Paper Piecing

Foundation Paper Piecing is one of my favorite quilting techniques. You just can’t get those perfect points any other way! It’s been my pleasure to create patterns like Graze, Through the Woods, and Snail’s Pace (coming oh-so-soon!) with this sweet technique.

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Today I want to show you all the different options you have for the actual foundation of your blocks. It can range from simple paper that you have on-hand to fancy pants paper from your local quilt shop. Let’s get started, shall we!?

Printer Paper

Printer Paper has to be the easiest, cheapest way to get started with Foundation Paper Piecing. This is how I got started and what I typically tell beginners to start with, especially if it’s a simple pattern and you’re just testing the waters. There are some that say the ripping out of the paper is more difficult with printer paper. If you find this to be the case, make sure that you’re using a teeny tiny stitch length as you sew. 15—18 stitches per inch is appropriate. Not only will it make the tearing out of paper easier, it’ll ensure a secure seam as you rip and once the quilt is finished.


Newsprint is another (cheap) favorite of quilters. You can sometimes find this in the children’s art/craft section. If you find it in 8.5×11″ sizes, make sure to load up! It can be hard to find sometimes. Some have reported that you can get this from a newspaper print shop if you happen to know someone who works there. You might need to cut it down to 8.5×11″ to get it in your printer, but it tears nicely.

Full Disclosure: I haven’t tried this exact Newsprint from Amazon, but the reviews by FPP quilters sound great! If you order it and it doesn’t work out, it’s great for kid’s coloring projects or drafting out your next quilt.

Freezer Paper

Freezer paper is all the rage with FPP these days! Why? Because if you trace your template onto the paper side and sew onto the waxy side, the paper sticks to your fabric, making for easy sewing and a pin-free project!

In addition to being helpful at holding your fabrics, freezer paper piecing has a no-tear technique that I just LOVE! Make sure to check out my tutorial on that (coming soon!).

You can buy a roll at the grocery store (or on Amazon) or order it pre-cut so that you can send it right through the printer (hooray!)

Foundation Paper

If you want to go for the no-fail option, Carol Doak has created Foundation Paper, just for quilters! I haven’t personally used these sheets because I’ve been happy with my other (cheaper) options, but many quilters use and love this stuff! It’s thinner than printer paper (so it tears easily), and won’t curl or transfer ink to your fabrics (this happens once in a while). It’s made for quilters by quilters!

Water Soluble Paper

If you’re not a fan of sitting and ripping out stitches all day long. Your prayers have been answered! Pellon has created a water soluble stabilizer that really is a dream. You simply print or trace your template onto the paper, sew as usual and then wet…then just watch all that paper disappear!

Some report that they have best results when they tear out as much paper as possible, and then wet it. I suggest giving both ways a try and seeing what you think!


Crazy Quilters have long used Muslin fabric as a stabilizer for their techniques. I wouldn’t typically suggest Muslin for foundation paper piecing because of the extra bulk that is created from the muslin fabric. If you plan on adding lots of embellishments to it (like crazy quilters do) then this is a great foundation for you that involves no ripping- you sew as usual and then leave the muslin in!

That just about covers it! I bet you didn’t know you had SO many options! I hope this takes some of the fear out of FPP for you beginners- it’s a wonderful technique that I was afraid of for a long time and now I’m completely in love! Take a chance on love today and try out one of my FPP patterns <3

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