Tangrams Gift Sets Tutorial

Finished Tangram Sets

I made these over the summer using the Magic 8 half square triangle method to make 4 sets as gifts for some of the little people in our lives.

tangrams in Bags

I made color sets with Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Blue/Purple/Black using the Magic 8 method (for HSTs to create 4 sets with bicolored fronts and solid backs you will need 2/3 yd of each color.)

(For a single set you will need 11-3.5” squares of each color and will make HST fronts with solid backs in order to make a pair of each HSTs combo.  If you are making a single set using your favorite HST method you will need to make a bi-colored HST for each possible color combination (21 squares) then skip ahead to *)

Per color cut 6-7.75” sqs & 24-3.5″ sqs. Set small sqs aside.

Magic 8 HST Method

  1. Pair each color with each other color forming 21 large sq pairs.
  2. Place Large sq pairs right sides together.
  3. Mark diagonals.
  4. Sew ¼” seam each side of marking lines.
  5. Cut into 4 smaller squares by cutting vertically and horizontally through the marking intersection.
  6. Cut along marking lines.
  7. Iron open to produce 8 HST blocks in that color combination.

Karen Walker of Laughing Yourself into Stitches has a great tutorial with pictures for the magic 8 method here.

You now have 168 HST and 168 Solid backs all 3.5″ sq. *

Cut 3.5” squares of cotton or similar thin batting to go with each backing piece.

Materials ready for Sandwiches

Pair solid backs with HST fronts with right sides together and place on a 3.5″ sq of batting with the backing piece in the middle.

showing layers of sandwich 1 showing sandwich layers 2

I kept a working project basket for my tangrams so that I could have two stages going at once.  Usually a cutting or sewing stage in the craftroom and then a matching, trimming, or turning stage in the basket for while I was watching TV or the kids while they played in the living room.   That way I could do each in short bursts as childcare needs permited.

2014-06-24 001 2014-06-24 005

Completed sandwiches

 Starting with the sandwich held so that the diagonal seam goes from top left to bottom right.

Sewing Edges Start

Using a ¼” seam sew along 3 edges.    You can stop at the diagonal seam to know you are at ¼” and then turn to continue.  Sorry about the color change some pictures didn’t come out well and had to be retaken when I was working on another sandwich.

Sewing Edges Stop at corner 4 turn

Sewing edges turn

Here is a stitched sandwich batting side up.

Trim batting edges and clip corners. I used pinking sheers just to make these a bit sturdier, you could zigzag if you want.  It doesn’t need to be neat you are just getting rid of some of the bulk.

Tangrams pinked Edges

Turn fabric right sides out.  Batting should be sandwiched in between fabric layers. A pencil or chopstick can be helpful in fully turning the corners. Fold remaining edge in 1/4″.

Tucking Edge Under to sew closed

Sew closed using a blind seam or top stitch around the entire sq.  Given my limited time I chose to top stitch.

Stitching Edges Closed

Repeat for all 42 or 168.

Tangrams Underconstruction

You will end up with 42 per set or 168 3″ squares.  You could do sets with fewer colors and therefore fewer squares, but I wanted to allow for lots of possibilities. Divide sets if necessary (42 each).  You may wish to include pictures of sample layouts for kids to match.  A matching sack with the child’s name stenciled on or a shoe box would be great for storage.
Sample Pattern Pictures:

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2 Responses to Tangrams Gift Sets Tutorial

  1. Alison says:

    Cool idea! Filing this away, thanks.

    • Logan Mack says:

      Thanks! I hope you find it useful. Another aspect I like about cloth toys for little people is you can just throw them in the wash from time to time when they need to be cleaned.

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