9 Easy Quilt Blocks that Look Difficult

We’ve put together 9 incredibly easy quilt blocks that look difficult to make. So you can make an amazing quit even if you’re a beginner!

We’re all here for the same thing. To make beautiful quilts. Whether it’s quilt patterns that you know will take you a good chunk of next winter to make. Or designs you’ll be able to whip up in an afternoon.

Both options are fine. Either way, you want them to be great-looking cuddly super comfy quilts.

Sometimes though, you want the best of both worlds. You want something that’s NOT gonna take the whole winter to make. But maybe still looks like it did.

Which is also fine. We’ve got your back. We’ve put together some amazingly easy quilt blocks that look difficult to make. So you don’t have to spend every spare moment sewing and quilting (although…you might still wanna…). But still get a quilt that will have your friends and family ooohing and aaahing about how hard that must have been to make.

What are some easy quilt blocks that look difficult?

Honestly, when searching for ideas for what to include in this post, I was kind of disappointed. I came across many articles that just listed a bunch of random blocks that were either anything BUT easy to make. Or had no wow factor, which is what we want here, right?

So I just came up with what I thought were easy blocks that produce amazing looking quilts. As you’ll see I mostly included blocks that use the most basic starting units. In fact, the vast majority of everything here is created only using squares and half square triangles! It doesn’t get much easier than that.

I’ve included some basic construction pointers to help you out with the planning. Of course, you’ll need to figure out some of the math on your own depending on the size of the quilt and size of the quilt blocks you want to make.

Wanna see them? Here we go!

Rising star quilt block

The rising star quilt block is a great example of a quilt block that looks really hard and intricate but is actually easy to make. In fact, you can really have some fun with this one because it doesn’t require much measuring and accuracy and you can use precuts

Each star is made of four identical 10’’ blocks. For one star, you need (4) 10’’ background fabric squares (you can use layer cakes if you’ve got a fun pack lying at home) and a selection of 2.5’’ strips (jelly rolls will work perfectly). For each of the four blocks, sew 2 strips at an angle to the background square, and cut away the exces. Then sew the four blocks together and you are done!

Make multiple start an create a dreamy stary sky quilt. We love how clean and modern this looks!

We found a great tutorial by the Misouri Star company that you can watch here.

The Cube Block

If you’ve been following along for a while, then you know that this block is right up our alley. It’s fun, it’s modern, geometric, it’s everything we love!

When you look at just one block it might seem a bit meh. But when you put a bunch of them together, you get a real modern masterpiece. The quilt looks really amazing, but is probably the second easiest thing you can make right after a basic quilt from squares

One cube block is made from just two squares and two half square triangles. When planning the sizes, make sure the size of the starting square is the same as the size of the unfinished half square triangles. 

So for example, use (2) 5’’ squares and (2) 5’’ unfinished HSTs.

Use our half square triangle calculator to help you with the math. And refer to our half square triangle tutorial for further guidance on HSTs.

The Carpenter’s Wheel

The Carpenter’s Wheel is one of those classic quilt blocks that seem super complicated at first sight. But if you look closely you’ll realise it’s constructed solely of squares and half square triangles.

What’s even better is that each wheel is constructed from four identical blocks fourths. So for each wheel you need to make four blocks and then sew them together.

I’ve done the math for you, so you can see how many of each units you need to make one. For one fourth you’ll need:

  • 1 dark square
  • 3 background squares
  • 4 dark+light half square triangles
  • 4 light+background half square triangles
  • 4 dark+background half square triangles

Make four of these to create an entire carpenter’s wheel.

When planning your starting units and sizes, just make sure your squares are the same size as your unfinished half square triangles. For example, if you cut your squares to 4’’x4’’, make your HSTs 4’’ unfinished.

Use our half square triangle calculator to help you with the math. And refer to our half square triangle tutorial for further guidance on HSTs.

The Celtic Twist Block

The Celtic Twist block plays with the illusion of intertwining threads. Thiscreates the look of a knot that looks particularly good when repeated multiple times throughout the quilt top.

It’s definitely a great example of easy quilt blocks that look difficult. Because I’ll be honest, even when I was drawing the scheme you see here, I had some difficulties, but in reality, you can construct this whole thing by using squares, rectangles and half square triangles.

You can find a more comprehensive tutorial for this quilt block here.

Bear Paw Block Variations

The bear paw quilt block is one of our favorite quilt blocks, just because it’s so basic yet so interesting. We even designed a bag using this block for a design contest. We didn’t win it unfortunately, so they never got made. Which is, if I may add, a loss for the entire quilting community. Wanna see it? Ok, here it is:

As you can see, we really do love this block. We have a whole bunch of ideas of what to do with it in the Bear Paw block tutorial.

But perhaps the one that fits this ‘easy blocks that look hard’ category is a bear paw quilt block with sashing.

Making it is as easy as sewing up four bear paw quilt blocks (Barbara will show you how in her bear paw tutorial) and adding sashing and a little square in the centre. This kind of creates the look of a flower with four petals around a stem, don’t you think?

The Hunter’s Star Quilt Block

The Hunter’s star is a classic quilting pattern that was originally created using diamond shapes. However a similar effect can be achieved by using – you’ve guessed it – half square triangles and squares.

I feel like I am repeating myself here, but this really does seem to be the secret to making easy quilt blocks that look difficult.

Like many blocks I’m talking about here, this one looks best in repetition. For a more classic look make it monochromatic – so only use one foreground and one background color. If you want, you can play with two colors like I did in my schemes. Or go crazy and make each piece of the block a different color and/or print. Just make sure you’ll always using the same background fabric and you should get this desired effect.

As I’ve said, the hunter’s star block is made using HSTs and squares.

I’ve counted how many units you need for a two-color hunter’s star (pink and purple in my case). For each fourth you’ll need:

  • 1 background square
  • 1 color square
  • 8 color+background HSTs

Make four of these (two in pink and two in purple) to create an entire hunter’s star.

Again, our half square triangle calculator will help you with the HST math. And if you’re new to HSTs, make sure you also read our half square triangle tutorial.

Herringbone quilt block

There are different ways you can make a herringbone quilt, but probably the easiest and most beginner friendly is by simply making many many half square triangles.

This doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Oh no, my friend, play with colors and prints as much as you like. I had so much fun creating this colorful herringbone pattern (albeit in Illustrator, fabric would be much more fun!).

There’s not much to explain here, except make plenty of half square triangles. I recommend using the same background fabric in all HSTs to make sure you get this herringbone effect. Or, if you prefer, use a selection of different low-volume prints as the background, if you prefer.

After you’ve made all those HSTs, just lay them out following the scheme and you’ll get an impressive herringbone pattern. Pretty cool, right?

A Pinwheel Quilt Block variation

A while back, we wrote about the classic pinwheel block. And even back then we knew there were so many possibilities with this seemingly basic block.

Here is just one of them – a block that in my opinion truly resembles a paper pinwheel. Just like the ones we used to make when kids.

But what takes this block to the next level is repeating it throughout the design. I think it really creates an incredibly dynamic, but at the same time simplisticly geometric design.

You can make it using HSTs and squares. But if you want to try something different, one pinwheel van also be created using four split quarter square triangle blocks.

We have a great quarter square triangle tutorial if you want to give it a go!

Log Cabin Variations

Sure, a log cabin is probably one of the most basic quilt blocks. But that doesn’t mean it has to look basic! 

In fact, you can definitely make it one of easy quilt blocks that look difficult. And Barbara came up with some incredible variations of the log cabin quilt blocks that I fell madly in love with instantly. A few of those are on my to-try-for-a-pattern list.

The great thing about all of these is that they all use the basic log cabin construction method, which is really as easy as they come. So if you’re looking for easy blocks that look difficult and love modern design as much as we do, you have to check this out!

Get inspired by some amazing log cabin variations and learn how to make a log cabin quilt block step by step in Barbara’s log cabin block tutorial.

I think we’ve got some great ideas for easy quilt blocks that look difficult here, don’t you think? I had a lot of fun making these and I am super excited to hear from you if you decide to make one!


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